Pryce & Perone Prepare to Release Follow-up Record, “Brazen”
ALBANY – Back at it again, the online collaborative effort of Pryce & Perone is getting ready to release another record. The duo, consisting of childhood friends Matthew Pryce and Alex Perone have been steadily at work, crafting the album, Brazen. From the singles already released, “Ride of the Huguenot” and “Some Sunny Day,” it is quite clear this album is an extremely nice improvement and furthering into the catalog of the band.
I had a chance to sit down with the duo this week. What follows is our conversation.
Lucas Garrett: Thank you, fellas, for sitting down tonight. How are you?
Alex Perone: Doing good, man.
LG: I hear that you’ve made a new album. Can you tell us a bit about that?
AP: Yeah. Our first album was two years ago at the beginning of May. We started working on the second one pretty shortly after that. It’s very casual as we’re doing it. It’s taken us the better part of two years; both Matthew and I work demanding jobs and we’re recording remotely. I’m a voice actor – I use my voice every day – and there were many times when I was like, “I can’t sing today. I want to, but there’s nothing left in the tank.”
LG: You say you’re a voice actor, but you do a lot more than that. I see you do acting on stage, as well. You do a lot with your voice. How’d you fall into that?
AP: I’ve been an actor since I was 13 – I’ve only been a voice actor for the last three-and-a-half years or so. Haphazardly and happily, it’s a notoriously difficult industry to break into – for some reason – and even harder now because so much of it is done on your own in your home studio. You’re left to figure it out on your own.
I started working with a company that records audiobooks and I’ve been recording them for the last three-and-a-half years. I’ve done 200 titles. I’m a musician as well; I’m a cartoonist as well. I dip my pen in a lot of ink.
LG: Do you find, now that you’re doing all this work as a voice actor, that your voice is different than it used to be, given that you’re using it more than you ever have before?
AP: That’s a tough question. Maybe. You have to be really careful with your voice and you have to know what you’re doing. And I think I do a little. And that helps. Voices change naturally over time. What I have found is that certain registers of my voice tend to work a lot better after a full day of recording than others do. When I’m doing an audiobook it’s all very low register and very quiet. Intimate. I’m sometimes finding myself aching to do a voice or character that is really loud because it’s sometimes easier for my particular voice to stretch its wings a little and go big.
LG: So, Matt. I want to hear your side of the new album: what you did on it; how it came to be on your end of it.
Matthew Pryce: I let Alex take the lead on all of this; he does the majority of the work. We both pitch in and write the songs together. Sometimes it’s a fully-fleshed idea, or it’s half-and-half, or it’s back-and-forth; they’re all varied. Alex does the drum programming, the bass, the vocals, and the keyboards… If there’s any weird shit… listen to “Ride of the Huguenot” and you’ll hear that. I let [Alex] dictate the piece. I’m adding, writing, and producing in the sense that I offer my opinions on a lot of stuff. But I’m really just the guitarist.
LG: As a guitarist, I know my tone is my baby. I have a very clear idea of what I want. Is that collaborative in this project, or is that all you, Matt? Do you have an idea of what sound you want for every song, or do you talk to Alex?
MP: Both, really. There’re sometimes, we’ll argue a little bit about how I might be feeling this phaser, and he wants it cleaner. There’re times when I’ve chosen a more subtle tone and he’ll want me to crank up the fuzz. In terms of being particular, or chasing a certain tone, I can approximate…
Usually, Alex will say, “More legato and less frenetic.” I always attack the guitar like a buzzsaw, and he’d rather me play it more elegantly…
AP: Lyrically, is what comes to mind. Lyrical.
MP: “A little more lyrical, please.” And I say, “No, I’m going to fit sixteen notes where you want one.”
LG: So, Matt, you’ve worked with me, and you’ve worked with Alex. Who’s more of a pain in the ass?!
MP: One hundred percent you are, Lucas!
MP: Alex and I have decades of friendship. It’s a different process altogether. We take our time with this sort of stuff and I think you crave a little more structure in some respects. You also have a clear idea often. You want to take it to the place that you want to take it to.
MP: Sometimes, it was difficult for me to follow directions. If you and I were in a band together, and I was lagging on the pick-up into the next measure, you would definitely tell me about it.
AP: That’s funny because I’ve definitely felt that I can be very overbearing and be like “No, that one note was wrong Matthew. I need you to play an Eb, please.” There have definitely been times when I have a very clear idea of what I want, but what you were doing sounded good, too. It makes me feel good because a lot of times I struggle with “Am I being too overbearing here?”
MP: You’re like a big teddy bear, Alex. I’m a frenetic lunatic with too many ideas.
MP: One of the nice things about recording this way is that it is simple. We can take our time; there’s no real pressure.
AP: Something that I really like is on “Train to Somewhere.” Specifically for that song, I was riding on the train from Albany back to New York. Matt was in Pennsylvania with his wife and the in-laws, and he had a guitar and played the opening riff. He was like, “Can you do something with that?” Then, I was on the train on my iPad, plunking out chords and writing it from a thing that you provided. There are a few songs on this album where that’s happened. That’s why I wrote the lyrics to that song the way I did – I was literally sitting on a train.
LG: I must admit, “Ride of the Huguenot” has some of Matt’s – in my ears – best playing that I’ve ever heard him do.
MP: I appreciate that. That is a real interesting out-of-the-comfort-zone tune. It illustrates the freedom of what we’re doing here. Some might want to delve deep into the psyche of the intro; where it goes from there.
LG: Yeah, what the f*ck is going on in that intro, by the way?
AP: I’ll explain. It’s nothing terribly deep. Really, what it was is I listened to – of all things – a Steve Vai song I’d heard on one of the Guitar Hero games. For whatever reason, I was thinking of it and decided to write a prog-rock thing. Pink Floyd is one of my favorite-of-all-time bands, ever. What they do on a few different albums – and a few different tracks on those albums – is flipping through the TV, and you’ll hear that in the background… They do it on Wish You Were Here and throughout The Wall. I wanted to do a little homage.
I went to Matthew’s YouTube channel and got videos… and put them in. I had to create the sound effect of a clicker and fuzz; it doesn’t exist anymore.
LG: How did you do that?
AP: I downloaded the two sounds separately. I downloaded the white noise and then cut that up a bit. Then, I downloaded the clicking of an old television, and then I just put them together. One of [the videos] was of him playing guitar live. I had this idea of putting the sound of me “watching TV” and making different sounds with my mouth, like groans and coughs. As it worked out… that exasperated sound comes out right when Matthew was playing guitar on his video, and that was very funny to me.
LG: Where did the album name, Brazen, come from?
MP: We were searching for a long time. I was desperate to call this album Pryce & Perone 2: Turn Off the Dark, which to me, is a deep escalation into my inner spirituality and sensibilities… hahaha. I was informed that would share a name with a flopped Spiderman Broadway musical that somebody died inside with.
AP: Anytime I bring up anything theatrical, Matthew brings up this hated Spiderman musical, and it’s become an inside joke.
MP: Then, the working title for a long time was Pryce & Perone 2: Secret of the Youths, which is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reference, of course…
MP: But Brazen refers to smoking weed in my living room. A very famous anecdote from Alex and I’s lengthy history together… back in the day, the fuzz was on the loose, and you had to be low-key about stuff. Now, everything’s recreational and fun; you can do whatever you want. Back in the day, we got progressively less careful.
One day, my mom came downstairs, and we were chilling in the room, and she goes, “You’re getting very brazen!”
AP: We were sitting there sizzling – we were so stoned. As soon as she leaves, we just burst into laughter.
MP: To summarize, we were looking for something that could mean anything to anyone but had a funny, inner joke to us. Which we’ve now told everybody about… it’s been a thread in Alex, and I’s friendship for however many years.
LG: Is there anything else you’d like to discuss about the band?
MP: It’s a great pleasure to make art with my bud. We don’t… we argue… as heated as it ever gets is a 4/10. We discuss things back and forth.
LG: That’s my baseline: 4/10.
MP: Hahaha. So, right, that’s what I mean: that’s why it’s easy to go.
AP: Three out of those four ticks come from being far away from one another; not being in the studio at the same time.
LG: Thank you, Alex and Matt, for your time!
AP: My pleasure!