Making it as a band is often an infamously difficult and long journey, but Sweet Thing might just be one of the exceptions. With the 2010 release of their self-titled, debut album, these Canadian boys have garnered quite the attention and captured the hearts of fans with their charisma and catchy music. Nonetheless, the five-member band is still building momentum and has managed to stay down-to-earth despite their rapid success. Their hit single, Change Of Seasons, is receiving major radio play and is featured in the movies Easy A and Morning Glory. Youthink got a chance to talk with guitarist Nick Rose and bassist Morgan Waters about the challenges of being a new band, the making of their album and their thoughts on the band's recent achievements.
YT: You are a relatively “new” band. What have been the biggest challenges you have faced together so far while trying to succeed in the music industry?
MW: Dealing with these guys has been the hardest thing. (Gestures to band) No ... We can answer that for real I guess. I forget what it was ... the biggest challenge?
NR: We’ve had it pretty good I think overall. You know, we’ve been really fortunate. Everything came together really organically with us. I mean, it wasn’t set out from the beginning. We didn’t have any really clear ideas about what we wanted to be or how big it was going to be or anything – it was just kind of a hobby at first. None of us had ever played in a band before, excluding Morgan, who came on a bit later. So I think we just took everything as it came, and it’s not like we’re hugely successful by any means. Things have just sort of evolved organically, and there are lots of challenges along the way, but we’re still here and we’re still not killing each other.
YT: Watching the so-called “useless footage” of the making of your album, it looked like the whole L.A. experience was a positive one. Was the recording process as much fun as it looked on the videos?
MW: That video makes it look like it was the best time ever, and we didn’t take any of it seriously. But I think the process of making the album was a lot of work beforehand. We had so much fun in the studio because it was the endpoint. All those songs we worked on for two years, and there was a lot of times in the rehearsal spot where it was just five guys arguing.
NR: Or just being defeated.
MW: Or just not having a good time. So recording was the easy part. It was all the crap of writing before that.
NR: And, that being said, we were recording for twelve hours a day, six days a week, for eight weeks or whatever it was. So it was a lot of work. We were lucky enough that we got to record in really cool places like Sunset Sound in Hollywood, which is cool in itself. We were playing where Led Zeppelin played and recorded.
YT: Seeing clips of your producer Rob Schnapf on those videos, it looked like he had a pretty laid back personality too. How important was it to find a producer whose personality meshed well with the band’s?
MW: Yeah, it was really important. Rob was the perfect personality to oversee everything and just kind of lay back and not be over controlling and just kind of harness what it is that we do. So I think it’s really important, above all, to find someone who you connect with emotionally.
NR: He’s a facilitator. It’s not his band; it’s our band. So he is respectful of our ideas, creatively. He’s just trying to trim the fat and organize the logistics of things. He was just a “cool dad” to have.
YT: I read that you guys took a more structured approach to the song writing for this album, but was also reminded by Rob to not over-think things too much. How hard was it to find that balance?
MW: How do you balance? I guess that’s the difficult thing. It’s the balance between emotion and playing it and feeling it and then thinking.
NR: That’s the struggle in art ... Yeah, I mean, Rob would say things like “if you think, you stink,” and that always stuck with me. It’s important when you’re in the act of recording a take, it’s like acting – a couple of us are actors, as well. It’s something that you just have to do. As soon as you get in your head about something, it really screws things up when you’re trying to be expressive. So I think in the moment of recording you can’t think about it, you just got to do it. And then sit back after with some perspective and turn on your brain and arrange it somehow.
YT: Where did you guys find inspiration for your songs?
MW: Other bands. A lot of the time it’s like “Oh, I really like this song. I wish Sweet Thing had a song like this.” So, a lot of the time it starts out where you’re influenced and trying to make a song that then, in the end, it doesn’t sound anything like that, but that’s OK.
NR: And yeah, drawing from our own experiences or things that we think are funny. The song Lorraine is about falling in love strangely with a middle-aged dental hygienist. So just things that we thought were amusing are just good subject matter or just personal experiences, like being vulnerable or whatever. I personally like music and art that is both bright and really positive and vibe-y, but if you read into it, it’s a bit more dark, lyrically or confusing or self-deprecating.
YT: You are still at the beginning stages of your tour, but how has life on the road been so far, and what do you enjoy and dislike the most about touring?
MW: Enjoy most is playing the shows; dislike is playing the sound check is annoying.
NR: I like sound check. I know you [Waters] don’t. I guess just being away from your friends or girlfriends at home ... girlfriend. We don’t have plural girlfriends. Just sort of the comfortable routines you have at home, like anybody, you get accustomed to those. So being away from that is tough. But it’s fun to go on these mini couple week adventures. Ultimately, it’s a fun thing. MW: It’s a road trip with your friends. It’s great.
YT: You guys clearly have a great sense of humour and are a very creative band, which are qualities reflected in your videos for Dance Mother and Change of Seasons. What was the experience of shooting those videos like?
MW: They were cool; they were very different. The first one, for Dance Mother, was shot in Toronto in a small studio. Then the director basically sat at a computer for a month-and-a-half and created this whole world, so it was interesting. Then the second video we got to go to L.A. and shoot it over two days, and it was a totally different experience.
NR: And our third video is coming out soon for Lazy Susan and Morgan (Waters) directed it and edited ... is in the process of editing it. It’s going to be a good one.
YT: Can you tell us anything about it?
MW: It’s got sort of a 70s educational video meets an Abba video. There’s some Abba in there for sure. We ripped some Abba moves of off ... Abba.