Dan (Soupy) Campbell of The Wonder Years is working on a side project under the name of Aaron West And The Roaring Twenties, and he’ll soon be releasing a new album called We Don’t Have Each Other. In a great interview with Fuse, Soupy discussed the project in all its forms. Read a snippet about why the side project exists below, after the jump.
Want to hear more from The Wonder Years’s lead vocalist in anticipation of this solo album? If you’d like to purchase a CD, you can pre-order one here. And buy concert tickets to see Aaron West And The Roaring Twenties at Warped Tour here!
When did you find yourself wanting to get away from writing songs about you? Why did you feel like you should start writing songs that weren’t Wonder Years songs?
At the beginning, it wasn’t about what I wanted to do–it was about pushing myself. I think The Wonder Years have a great thing going, and I wouldn’t do all this [the character study] for The Wonder Years. But I knew that I needed to do it lyrically to push myself, and because I wanted to become a better guitar player. I thought the best way to do that would be to throw myself into the fire and say, ‘Write a record. Figure out how to write a record with a guitar.’ I had the idea for a while that I wanted to do some sort of a solo record–I didn’t think anyone would ever hear it–just so I could force myself to become better at the guitar.
The idea at first was that there would be character studies but just sketches, like Reunion Tour from The Weakerthans, where each song is about a different character. I was in that headspace for a while. I had a loose idea that ended up becoming “Our Apartment,” which is the first track on this record about a guy that is going through a divorce. Then I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to get the depth of the character that I wanted out of one song, and that I would have to do an entire record about this one guy to really make it work. I came to that conclusion around last summer, but I was pretty unsure of myself at that time. So I showed Ace [Enders, frontman of The Early November], I played him a couple songs that I was writing. I expected him to be nice, because he’s my friend, but he immediately asked if we could do this record together. He told me about chord progressions that he thought were interesting and he could see that I was forming this really full character that he thought could be complex and nuanced and idiosyncratic. But yeah, he wanted to produce it and he told me to come in with the songs; so from there I knew that if Ace was going to work on it, then I would do it for real and that people were going to hear it. I kept writing, and I asked Mike [Kennedy, drummer for The Wonder Years] to play drums on it.
From there, when we finished our fall tour, I had the winter to get into the meat of writing the record. I knew the story arc and the character but I only had a few songs really done, but I got into the right headspace over those months to finish it. In February we went into the studio with Ace and we were off into recording.
Ruth Marie Kast
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