1. Don't You Know There Are Lonely People In The World
2. The Bachelor At The Fair
3. I Would've Been Fine Staying Home Tonight
4. I Talked To Thousands Of Girls At The Pub Last Night
5. The Girl I Will Marry
6. Want Somebody Who Doesn't Want You And You'll Die A Little Every Day
7. All The Kids Are Out Tonight (Back Home)
8. Thoughts From A Bench In The Hauptwache
9. Oh, Lord! How I Dread The Weekend
10. What Girl Wants A Man Who's Always Waiting For The Bus?
The Story Behind the Album
Work on the third self-titled (but seventh overall) Reclinerland album began in the summer of 2010 when I came up with the song Want Somebody Who Doesn't Want You And You'll Die A Little Every Day while walking in the woods between Friedrichsdorf and Bad Homburg in Germany. I decided to record that song, plus three others: a song I'd written way back in 2009, Don't You Know There Are Lonely People In The World, and two Parks & Recreation songs, Don't Get Caught Up In Your Dreams and To Be Single, on the little piano in my apartment and use them as the thematic basis for the new Reclinerland album. Eventually I scrapped the two Parks & Recreation songs and wrote all new songs. The album was originally going to be a quiet, lo-fi album, a la Daniel Johnston or the Mountain Goats, but it became much more.
I had been planning to make an entire album of songs about loneliness for some time, but I suppose being alone in a new country made it especially timely, though the songs are not necessarily autobiographical. Some of them, like the Bachelor At The Fair, or I Talked To Thousands Of Girls At The Pub Last Night, are loosely based on real life events, and of course All The Kids Are Out Tonight (Back Home) contains references to my life story, but for the most part the songs feature an unnamed lonely protagonist. In writing the album, I challenged myself to write each song in a different key. Then I lined them up so that each song is in the dominant key of the song following it. I hoped that would create a nice lifting feeling and a smooth flow from song to song.
By spring, 2011, I had written 13 songs. I decided instead of recording them on my own to find a studio. That was when I met Japi at a dinner party in Castrop-Rauxel. He played in a band called the Tigerbombs and had his own solo act called The King of All the Animals, Japi wrote catchy, dirty, pop songs and I instantly fell for his music. Sometime around March I contacted him and sent him demos for the songs. He liked them and we booked some time in April to record at his studio in Finland.
Before going to the studio, I recorded the piano tracks at my apartment in Bad Homburg. I also recorded the song Oh, Lord! How I Dread The Weekend there. I then took those tracks to Finland to overdub bass, drums, and everything else. I wasn't sure how I was going to record the drums. I couldn't really play drums. Fortunately, right around that time, one of my oldest and bestest friends Anthony Georgis, an accomplished drummer, left Portland and moved to Europe on a soul-finding mission. It was only natural that he come to Finland and record with me. Just like that, the two of us were reunited in a studio. Together with Japi engineering and our friend Tina snapping photos, we spent four days working almost non-stop. We slept in the studio, woke up each morning, and worked from 10AM until about 6PM.
Finland was beautiful, with icy lakes, forests of birch trees, and a huge, sometimes gray, sometimes bright blue wintry sky. Between recording we took walks, ate black licorice ice cream bars, took evening trips to Tampere, and drank a bit with the locals.
After recording was finished, I went back to Germany, Anthony moved to Berlin, and Japi mixed the record. We went for an overall dirty, gritty sound for the album. By October the album was finished, so I sent it to Ron Guensche, another one of my lifelong and bestest friends, to master. The album was digitally distributed on November 24th, 2011.
Michael Johnson - guitars, vocals, pianos, organs, percussion
Anthony Georgis - drums, noises, percussion
Recorded in April & May, 2011 at Michael's apartment in Bad Homburg, Germany and at Bughouse studios in Toijala, Finland, Jarkko Heinio presiding.
Mixed by Jarkko Heinio. Mastered by Ron Guensche.
All songs: words and music by Michael Johnson
© 2011 Zubsongs, ltd.