We Used To Be Family is a post-rock quartet based out of Baltimore which at time echos the likes of Godspeed You Black Emperor and The Arcade Fire (sans vocals). There is something insanely special about them. Half the band is classically trained and the other half learned by the seat of their pants. How the latter half keeps up with all the odd time signatures is beyond me, but somehow they nail it every time. Their music has severely dramatic cresendos that take minutes, at times, to develop. This isn’t a pop record, so you’ll have to give each of their songs time to settle and build in to their beautiful swell of noise.
I had always wanted to work with We Used To Be Family, and after their set at NoVo earlier this year, Ruby came up to me asking if I’d be interested in producing their debut record. I was floored. It was a dream come true. The recording process was seamless. They were well rehearsed and were simply amazing people to work with. They didn’t even flinch after I asked them to track the the strings more than a 2 dozen times complete with harmonies. It was almost like that was how it was supposed to happen and they knew it.
The interesting thing about this band is that there is no one person who takes the leads. They all switch off and share democratically, which makes for an insanely dynamic listen. Ruby Fulton, effortlessly and always with a smile plays the violin, trumpet and Wurlitzer. Andrew Histand plays the cello (sometimes with heavy distortion through an amp and always shredding the hairs off the bow in to a pile by his feet), Michael Yoon plays the Twin Peaks guitar, Michael Shank plays the guitar that at times doesn’t even sound like a guitar and Mr. Brian Litz plays the drums like it’s the last day on earth.
Here are my two favorite tracks from this record. Be sure to listen all the way through. These songs take a while to build – especially with Jerkface Shipley. Check out that ending. The massive amounts of strings will blow your ears to
Keyboards, trumpet and violin by Ruby Fulton
Cello by Andrew Histand
Guitar by Michael Shank and Michael Yoon
Drums by Brian Litz
Mixed and produced by Mat Leffler-Schulman
Engineered by Alex Champagne