Office Romance - 11.27.12
Everybody loves the holidays, and in turn, everyone loves holiday music. Seth Jabour and Sid Butler of Les Savy Fav, along with TV star Amy Carlson (Blue Bloods), Syd's long-time partner, have released I Love the Holidays, a 3-song EP, under the moniker Office Romance. Seth recently took a few minutes to answer a few questions about the upcoming release on Frenchkiss, which hits outlets on Dec. 11.
AbsolutePunk: Why the decision to release holiday music?
Seth: Office Romance began as a music writing collaboration where in we the members could apply our years of experience to musical subjects other than the ones most familiar to us. It was suggested that we focus on holiday music as a way to get the ball rolling (so to speak.) That Syd and I have 15+ years of writing indie/art/post rock - whatever you want to call it - the challenge was to bring that same level of craftsmanship and experience to these songs. So, whether it's Les Savy Fav or Office Romance, we want these songs to be catchy and memorable.
AP: Why release only three songs, as opposed to five or six?
Seth: Given how quick the holiday season was coming up, three songs seemed to be about the most ambitious we could allow ourselves with time to finish.
AP: Why choose original songs and not classic holiday songs, i.e. "White Christmas" ?
Seth: As I mentioned earlier, the intent here was to compose original music. Holiday music is, for the most part, timeless. 'White Christmas' has stood the test or time for some 70 years. Our goal is longevity.
AP: What did Amy bring to the project? How much did she shape or transform these songs?
Seth: I don't believe that any song is complete without the lyrics (save for instrumentals.) Amy's talent here is the ability to write songs that speak to a broad audience; songs that most of us can relate to. I think the sentiments in the lyrics are simple and clear and honest. Once the vocals are present, the music follows suit. In my opinion, the vocals always dictate the music.
AP: Whose decision was it to bring in Alex Winston, and why?
Seth: Syd gets credit for this. He's known Alex for a couple of years and is a fan of her work. I think her voice and singing style is perfect for this type of music. She was such a pleasure to work with!
AP: Would you three consider making another holiday disc, or is I Love The Holidays a one-off thing?
Seth: I would consider it, yes. Maybe pick a different holiday for the next round. A President's Day EP could be pretty sweet.
AP: Is there a different approach to writing holiday songs than say arty post-punk? If so, what are the differences? What were you three trying to achieve with these three songs?
Seth: Yes and no. Here we had given ourselves very clear parameters to work within, where as post-punk allows us total freedom. We did more writing with this material and less performing. For me that was a huge difference. I spent 98% of the time in the control room with the producers. As far as what we set out to achieve, we wanted to make great, lasting songs. My personal goal was to make a few songs that my mom and sisters might actually listen to. Ha!
AP Do you have a favorite holiday album? One that resonates with you more than others?
Seth: Phil Spector's Christmas Album is my fave. I also love the classics - Bing Crosby, Sinatra, etc.
AP: What's your favorite thing about New York during the holiday season?
Seth: Friends and family. I love holiday parties in New York. I love cold weather fashion.
AP: What's next for Office Romance? Are you guys working on non-holiday material? When should we expect another disc?
Seth: I can't say what's next for Office Romance. I'm curious to see how these three songs will be perceived. To quote the late Joe Strummer, “The future is unwritten.”