“There is a lot of joy when we get a chance to be reunited. It feels like a family reunion”.
San Diego’s own The Silent Comedy are self releasing their fourth album, Enemies Multiply, Oct. 19th at the Casbah.
The sold out show, also featuring local artists, Creature Canyon, and Stray Monroe, is a celebration of the unleashing of the album from the vaults and letting fans have new music to covet for the first time in five years. The gritty Americana-esque rock n’ roll band, consisting of brothers Joshua (bass guitar, vocals) and Jeremiah Zimmerman (guitar, keys, vocals), Chad Lee (drums, percussion), and Justin Buchanan (guitar, banjo, mandolin) have received many accolades from the San Diego Music Awards and have achieved commercial success with their songs’ use in television series and commercials. ListenSD talked with Joshua Zimmerman about why they have finally decided that now was the time and what really has been up with the band.
ListenSD: You have decided to release this album years after it was recorded. Why is now the time? You had a momentum going with a lot more success than most bands ever get to touch, why did you chose to take a hiatus?
Joshua: There is a long story behind why we went off the radar at a time when we had so much momentum. Our management had wanted us to pull back from touring, and focus on finishing the album we had been working on. We did that, then ended up parting ways with management over major disagreements about our sound, and overall direction. We set out trying to shop the album ourselves to find a label to release it. That process took quite a while, with a lot of back and forth. We had interest from several companies, but ultimately couldn’t reach deal terms that were acceptable to us. By the time we exhausted all of our options, a lot of the momentum was gone, and we had all gotten caught up in other aspects of life. We put the album on the shelf, and may never have taken it off if it weren’t for the increasing tension and dissent that has exploded in the U.S. following the 2016 election. We were returning to this material ourselves for either comfort, or as an outlet for our anger and frustration, so we thought we should let other people connect with it as well.
ListenSD: Some local fans have called you “broken up;” is hiatus the correct term?
Joshua: Hiatus is definitely the correct term. The average person doesn’t necessarily know how bands function from the inside. I definitely wouldn’t assume a band is broken up if they haven’t publicly announced that. We all have shifting priorities in our lives and it has been nice to pursue some other things in the past few years. We still really love playing music together as well, so it is nice to return to that when we can.
ListenSD: Where was the album recorded and what were the positive experiences you remember about recording Enemies Multiply?
Joshua: The album was recorded over quite a long period of time in Austin, TX. We were still touring heavily, so we would go to Austin for a week or two, record, then head back out on the road. We ended up recording 24 songs with producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith, and this record represents 11 of them.
There were a lot of really wonderful experiences over the course of making the record. I think the primary one was working with a producer that really got the sound we were going for, and pushed us a lot to achieve it in ways that we wouldn’t have done on our own. Frenchie really brought a lot to the process, and we are really grateful for that. There is a “making of” video on YouTube for our song “Avalanche” where you can see Frenchie dancing and gesticulating in the studio. It’s very entertaining.
ListenSD: Was the show at the Casbah selling out quickly affirming in any way?
Joshua: We have played a lot of sold out shows at the Casbah, but I think selling out two months in advance was a new record for us. We are extremely happy to do a release show there. Casbah will always be our home venue, and it is only fitting to celebrate the release of this album in that space.
ListenSD: Have you all been playing in other musical projects or bands? Has this “time away” enhanced or diversified you as a musicians? As you come back to play together, have goals changed or stayed on the same track as years ago when recording the album compared to today?
Joshua: My brother, Jeremiah, and our drummer, Chad, have been playing with a lot of different people. Jeremiah also produces and writes for other artists. I shoot and direct projects for television now, and don’t have much time for other musical endeavors. I played and sang on a few tracks for my buddy The Bones Of J.R. Jones’s new album, which was a lot of fun. Other than that, I only connect with performing music through The Silent Comedy.
Coming back to playing together is a very different experience. There is a lot of joy when we get a chance to be reunited. It feels like a family reunion. There is also a lot less pressure when it is no longer our primary livelihood. It now feels like a privilege, rather than, our job.
ListenSD: On a personal level, with the release of the album was so emotional and filled with baggage, is it therapeutic to yourself in some way?
Joshua: It is absolutely therapeutic! It also opens up the possibility to do other creative projects with The Silent Comedy in the future. We didn’t feel like we could really embark on any new chapters with this album waiting unreleased. It’s nice to clear the slate, and look forward to the future.
ListenSD: Are you planning on touring this album, outside of the release shows?
Joshua: It is a lot more difficult to get all of us on board with a larger tour these days. We did an extensive tour of Europe in 2016, but have only done scattered shows since then. We’ll do a couple of release shows in California to celebrate the record, then see what happens. Realistically, it would take teaming up with a larger band to get us out on the road again in a serious way. We would still love to do that, though, and we’re open to any opportunities. For now, we’ll just have fun with these California shows and see where that takes us!
ListenSD: Can you recall one favorite moment you have had with The Silent Comedy?
Joshua: Our show at Koko in London with our good friends The Heavy in 2013 will always be one of my favorite tour experiences. The history of that venue is amazing, and the show had an incredible energy. It was just a really special night. Also getting introduced by Billy Gibbons for an impromptu performance at a private party in Houston was one of those surreal experiences that will stay with us… It’s been a wild ride!
ListenSD: What will those who do not attend either of the album release shows in LA or SD be missing out on?
Joshua: We are going to be performing the entire new album, including some songs we have never played in front of people before. We’ll also be having some backing vocalists join us, which will be a new vibe at the live show that represents the sound of the new album better. One thing folks won’t get at those shows is a lot of older material. We added a unique daytime show on October 13th in San Diego where we will be pulling out more of the old material. Long time fans won’t want to miss that.
Catch the Silent Comedy Oct. 18th in Los Angeles at The Hi Hat or Oct. 19th in San Diego at the Casbah.