We talked to Jack Stansbury, leader of the indie rock outfit Princess Reason about their latest EP, about Brooklyn, Nebraskan Coast Records and Pavement.
3rd: Princess Reason; great name for a band!
Princess Reason: Thanks! Princess Reason is a moniker for the music I've been making since college in around 2013. The name comes from a character in Norton Juster’s book The Phantom Tollbooth. I think there have been 8 members of Princess Reason, it changes any time I move. Currently the members are Mike Allison on drums and Morgan Spaner on vocals and bass. Morgan also writes some of the songs, like My Gay Mouth on this most recent EP. A recurring theme for members of this band is that they are all much better players than I am, and that they are all good friends.
3rd: Princess Reason's sound in one sentence would be..?
PR: The first half of your 20’s.
3rd: The first track we heard was Your Divorce. It sounds like a Pavement song.
PR: I’m not certain why people are comparing it to Pavement, I don’t think it sounds like them too much. Stephen Malkmus is a much better guitar player songwriter than I could ever be, but I do appreciate the comparison because they’re an amazing band. Your Divorce is more of a California song, while Drag and Blur is Maryland.
3rd: What made you want to pick guitars and play this 90's kind of indie rock?
PR: I just started playing the guitar when I was in high school and played in bands with my best friends on the weekends in our basement. The guitar is the way I write songs. I just don’t know any other instruments. The piano is daunting to me, and I'm not very proficient with computers. I wish I was because you can tour by yourself, just bring a laptop, and people seem to really enjoy it. If you dress in a hip fashion and get a good PR team and manager, you can do pretty well with computer music.
3rd: The new EP has got some positive reviews already...
PR: It’s just great that people are listening, and I'm happy they’re enjoying it. It feels great obviously to get stuff out there and get a good response. I never really know what to expect in regards to critical reactions.
3rd: The recordings sound cleaner and better mixed than ever before. But you manage to keep your sound. How important was it to keep sounding DIY?
PR: I think the inherent sound of Princess Reason songs stay the same no matter what the recording situation is, but I've been trying to record as cleanly as possible. This was the first time I recorded with other people. Chester Gwazda, a very good producer here in Baltimore, recorded and mixed these songs, and he did an amazing job. It was great working with him. He helped clean things up and this EP captures our live feeling a lot better than my older recordings. It’s important to me to try to capture the songs as best as possible, but the technique can vary.
3rd: You are signed on the new label Nebraskan Coast. You started it right?
PR: I started Nebraskan Coast with my friend Bobby here in Baltimore. We decided to release Princess Reason on the label as a kind of test run for it. Our next release is a 7” from Romantic States, which I’m really looking forward to
3rd: We're looking forward to it. Are you going to tour the EP?
PR: We technically “toured” one weekend, playing Philly and Brooklyn. Philly looks and feels like Brooklyn now. Bobby’s car overheated and died in Brooklyn. We pushed it into a gas station where a very nice man let us keep it overnight, then we carried our stuff into a taxi and went to the show. We got stuck for about four days there going to various auto mechanics trying to get the car fixed and get out and back to Baltimore. It felt like a tour in a way. I am not religious but looking for a car part in Brooklyn felt exactly like what Purgatory must be.