By Michaelangelo Matos.
Seattle Weekly: You recorded a lot of your new album, Sun, Sun, Sun [Sub Pop], on the road. What are the advantages of motel-room acoustics versus studio acoustics?
Blake Sennett (vocalist): Well, nothing gets too redundant. You don’t get bored—you’re always in a new place. You don’t feel like you’re making a real record, so there is no pressure to sing well. It feels very informal. As far as acoustics, we would build little vocals booths [by taking] the sheets and [lining] the bathroom with them. We sort of make it ourselves. It’s kind of more fun, like digging down in the trenches.
Did you ever get yelled at by the hotel managers for that, or from your neighbors for singing?
No. It was surprising—sometimes you really had to scream when you sing. We never did get yelled at or even asked to be quiet. We tried to do that in the daytime. People don’t tend to be there in the day.
Which hotel room yielded the most productive sessions?
There’s a hotel called the Red, White, and Rooms; it had an American theme and it was in Independence, Mo. That yielded the most: We did, like, two songs, all of the backgrounds and the leads, in that one room. The least productive session was in the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel in Chicago, [which] has real dirty power—there was a buzz in the line the whole time.
The album strikes me as being very L.A. somehow—beyond the title, I mean. It’s very classic-rocky. What would you say is the most L.A. thing about it?
In “Would You Come With Me,” we went for a real Eagles kind of thing. We literally put “Lyin’ Eyes” [on] to try to get the vibe of that.
Is it still possible for you to just go to a hotel and relax?
One of my favorite things in the world is to lie in a hotel room bed and watch TV, ’cause I have a hard time watching TV at home. I always want to be productive. So I don’t think I’ve ruined the hotel experience just yet for myself.
Did you plan on having this album come out on the same day as Jenny Lewis’?
Yeah, it was intentional. It seemed like a fun thing to do. We’ve always put out records together and, you know, we love each other, and we’re still making music together [in Rilo Kiley], so it seemed like a nice symbolic gesture.
It could be interpreted a couple ways. There’s Paul McCartney releasing his solo album at the same time as the Beatles’ Let It Be, and then there’s Kiss releasing all their solo albums on the same day.
That’s kind of more how we thought about it. I guess Jenny’s Gene Simmons. So maybe I’m Paul Stanley.