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Reel Time: Guster

Mike Greenhaus | May 16, 2018
Nat Girsberger

“It’s still so weird to me that an album is now almost a formality in the process of just releasing tracks, and that content is foremost, but I’m getting used to it,” Guster drummer Brian Rosenworcel admits on an early February day while working on the group’s eighth full-length LP. “We used to be the kind of band who said, ‘We wrote ‘Fa Fa,’ let’s go fucking play it.’” And now, when we write songs, they’re theoretical ideas and we declare them a song when we have melodies and an arrangement that feels like it’s going to work. It’s a studio-focused approach to declaring something as finished.”

Rosenworcel has recently returned home to Brooklyn and is currently in “birthday-party mode” with his kids after Guster spent the first part of the winter recording with producers Leo Abraham and John Congleton during separate sessions in Canada and California. Though Guster—Rosenworcel, Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner and Luke Reynolds, who entered the fold in 2010—have been quietly working on new material for a while, the drummer has shied away from documenting the proceedings through the studio journal entries he traditionally posts on the group’s website. “I just follow my gut on that. It doesn’t come from a place of being disappointed—it actually comes from the opposite place of wanting to make music and surprise people with it.”

A few friends have stopped by to lend a hand—and Rosenworcel borrowed some instruments from in-demand LA producer and musician Jonathan Wilson—but, for the most part, the sessions have been insular. And while tracking with stoner-rock wizard Richard Swift for their previous release, 2015’s Evermotion, taught the members of Guster that finishing an album could take days instead of years, Rosenworcel hints that their latest batch of material is among their most produced yet. “We have 10 songs recorded, one waiting in the wings, and we are about to record two more songs with Leo and one with Sam Cohen in New York,” the drummer says, hinting that the Cohen session may be released as a B-side. “We’ll see if what we have so far adds up to an album and then, we might start mixing. We’re taking stock, but I really think we might finish this up, start releasing songs and have an album ready this year.”