Jucifer never stop touring. Since 2001 the duo, guitarist and vocalist Gazelle Amber Valentine and drummer Edgar Livengood, have lived on the road in their RV that they call the Nomadic Fortress. Doing without a home is one thing, but now the band is trying their hand at doing without a studio. Their last album, За Волгой для нас земли нет came out in 2013, via their own Nomadic Fortress Records. Now they’re following that up with another self-released album, due out December 5th, but putting a whole new spin on the concept of “home recording.”
You’re recording in your “nomadic fortress” RV while touring, right? How has that been? No down time, for Jucifer, right?
Down time? You mean like a slow beat? Haha! But yeah, down time isn’t really in our vocabulary. If we’re not playing a show we’re always up to something. We’re pretty bad workaholics. We did take some days off from traveling while recording. Not time off from music, but time parked to work on it. Since we don’t have a house and are always on tour, we can plan ahead in the booking to make an album. We’ve been doing that for all our recording sessions since 2001 when we moved into our rig, but this was the first time for us actually recording in the RV instead of a studio and handling every aspect of production start to finish by ourselves.
We wanted to set everything up, dial in sounds and just get up each day, do the tracking, get it done. We scheduled enough time between shows to do that and we’re super stoked on how it came out. Like, I was telling someone at our show the other night, we weren’t looking for a “big studio” production. We’ve already done a bunch of records that way. With this one we wanted immediacy, just a tight, raw, in-the-room sound that matches the theme and style of the songs better than anything else would have.
Will this be another self-release?
Yeah we’re putting out the cd and digital versions via our own label, Nomadic Fortress.
How will this be released? Traditional CD and digital? Doing vinyl and tapes, maybe?
Eventually all four. We know we can get turnaround as fast as we want on CD and digital, the other two will just take a little longer.
You’re doing the recording yourself, but what about mixing and mastering?
We did mix everything ourselves as well as mastering it ourselves. It’s funny that we chose to do this for the first time on a record that’s just naturally hard to mix and master — all competing tones, lots of distortion and blasts and screams — but at the same time, we’ve always been heavily involved, probably to the point of being annoyingly controlling during those processes for our previous records, so it’s not like we went into it blind. In the end we know what we want each song and album and instrument to sound like, and our ears will always tell us if we got there.
You just shot a video, right? Is that for a song you’ve already recorded for this album?
Yeah, we actually just shot three videos. One for an old song, “Centralia,” for which we made a little pilgrimage to the town it’s about after we finished tracking the new record. One for our folkish side project Devil’s Tower, just because during the Centralia trip we happened on a location that was perfect. And the one from the new album which of course we’re super into. I can’t give it all away quite yet but we had amazing access to a really special location for it.We are moving fast for sure! A huge appeal for us of doing things DIY is to make stuff and get it out without big time lags.