Andy and James Ralph have been playing music together since they were brothers and San Diego is starting to notice. Their tastefully minimalist project Writer, which has included guitarist Eli Bowser for a year and a half, is the perfect example what an independent band should look like. The new CD "Blood Drops" is an impressively self-recorded project with beautiful packaging and seven songs that keep your finger pressing repeat and they will be celebrating its release this friday at Whistle Stop before they take it to the road. They let us invade a practice at Andy's house, where they also write and record, and played a couple stripped-down versions of songs from "Blood Drops."
Sezio: How often do you practice?
Andy: Right now we’re practicing Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, which is a lot. We used to just practice Saturdays or just play shows. We’ve been hanging out here all the time lately.
SZ: So nobody cares that you practice three times a week down here?
AR: No, all our neighbors are cool, the ones right across from us have a band and she records over there. Everyone’s kind of young and they don't care as long as we don’t play after like ten.
SZ: Are you writing too?
AR: We just got done with the CD, so we’re trying to play the CD live. Trying to figure out how to do song-to-song transitions and all that kind of stuff. We haven’t written any new songs since that CD but we kind of need to cause we’re sick of it already.
James: We’ve been thinking about trying to get away from what we’re usually around when we play; go somewhere and try to write a little bit here and there.
AR: Like go on a retreat somewhere. We should go on a cruise; a Caribbean cruise.
SZ: How do you write when you do?
AR: It’s always been that I’ll write a song and they’ll play and write their parts but we all wrote the newest song on Blood Drops together while we were recording. I think that’s what we’ll do for a while now, it works pretty cool.
SZ: How does the record compare to what you play live?
AR: The record is exactly what we play live, there’s not even any extra guitars. There’s like one acoustic, one electric, drums, bass synth and that’s it. There’s not even any extra vocals; all of the vocals are just me and Jamie. And then Crystal Clem sang on one song, which is pretty cool. Sometimes it sounds better when there’s like twenty guitars laid on top of each other on one part, but we didn’t do that this time.
SZ: So you recorded the whole thing here?
AR: Yeah, all the demos were recorded in my room and then all the tracks were recorded in our neighbors basement. And then Jason martin up in orange county mixed and mastered it.
JR: We like basically raided their basement for a whole month and a half every Saturday and Sunday; the whole month of March we just showed up here and just stayed in the basement. I got sick and i'd just stayed in the basement for two days straight and then go work the rest of the week. They have a great setup so it worked perfectly.
SZ: And what are you doing with it now?
AR: well we pressed a thousand and we’re just going on a two week tour after the CD release party. Up to what’s that called central California?
JR: Basically the worst places you can go in September.
AR: Like Fresno and Modesto, Stockton, Mountain View...
JR: I think we started emailing like two months ago and got in at some pretty cool places. We’re pretty excited. The first time we went to Seattle we played some really funny places.
Listen to songs from Blood Drops at Writer's website and come to their CD Release Party at Whistle Stop, free this Friday (8/29) with friends Joel P West and D.S. Yancey.
Writer was also nominated for Best New Band by San Diego Music Awards and you can vote for them here until Saturday.
Photographs and Filming by Jonathan Foster