Brian Dale Allen Strouse, singer-songwriter-guitarist-extraordinaire of Philly-based The Lawsuits was kind enough to answer a few questions for Emo at Heart — check out what he had to say below. And don’t forget to check out our review of their latest album, Cool Cool Cool.
Listening to Cool Cool Cool is like a field trip through the last 50+ years of musical history – Was that on purpose? Did you have a different plan going in for the composition of the album?
Ha. Nah, very little on Cool Cool Cool was done on purpose. That doesn’t sound right. No, We did not enter the recording process with the intention of doing this – whatever this is. We wanted to make the best possible set of recordings that we could make at the time.
When you’re writing a song, do you get a musical idea first? And then tune your lyrics to that style? Or is it the other way around?
It can be either, neither or both. I’ve written songs that started from just lyrics, and I’ve written songs that start with just music. No blueprint for how to.
Is it difficult to balance the vocal responsibilities between you and Vanessa? Is there any ever conflict over who will take lead on a song?
Vanessa’s a great vocalist- probably the best singer I’ve ever performed with. Not because of her tone or range or anything like that…it’s her ear. She knows what she’s doing when she’s doing it, if that makes sense. Plus, her and I have been singing together for years, our connection with melodies and all that stuff is fairly tight. I would expect her to take more lead songs with future recordings – I’d like to close the gap a bit, and make it more of a 50/50 on lead.
Was there anything left out of this album? Something that didn’t fit or just didn’t make the cut?
Yeah, there were quite a few songs that were left off the album. Two songs from our Numbers EP – “Trying to Forget You” and “In Deep with the Queen” were both re-recorded. They just simply didn’t make the cut. Come to think of it, there was about another album’s worth of recorded content that was left off the album.
You played a record release show in Philadelphia a few nights ago – how was it playing in front of a hometown crowd for such a special occasion? Do you have any favorite Philly venues – either as a performer or a fan?
It was a very memorable night. There’s very little I would have changed about that night. There are a bunch of great venues in Philadelphia – Johnny Brenda’s was the perfect spot for that album’s release, while also being one of our favorite spots to play and attend.
Will you be setting out on a big tour to support the album, either this fall/winter or early next year?
We’ll be hitting various spots on the east coast in support of the album through the Spring of next year. Also, we’re in the process of recording new music for an early 2014 release. The plan is to create and release quality content at a more consistent and frequent pace.
Finally, where would you like to “be” by this time next year? What will 2014 hold for The Lawsuits?
We certainly will have another album under our belts, more content, and a greater understanding of life – hopefully.