Palace Talks Signing with Record Machine and New LP Summer, Don't You Dare
"He gives us a place to crash when we're on tour -- 6:30 in the morning. It's cool. He mentors us and takes care of us," Eaker elaborates. Grooms adds to Reusch's paternal resume, "He's the only reason we played South by Southwest and Middle of the Map this year."
Middle of the Map is a three-day music festival in Kansas City. It is also Reusch's creation. The fest snakes along Westport, the arts hub of KC, and puts audience members in intimate venues with touted national acts who share plum lineups with burgeoning Kansas City and St. Louis talent. This year Nashville's resident chaos makers Jeff the Brotherhood headlined at the Riot Room -- a venue that may hold 100 people once it punches another hole in its already too-tight belt. St. Louis' Dots Not Feathers was on the same bill. Palace wound up opening for Tennis the final night of the festival. "He wants to help you succeed and he is not in it for money...or else he wouldn't have tried to help us!" hiccups Grooms before he somersaults into a bawdy laugh, "But he did, and he wants us to do well, and he believes in our music and our talent as a group."
Part of Reusch's belief is seeing the promise his acts have. "He told it to me straight, 'I will release your album they way it is right now, or we can make it really, really good. Really fun,"' recounts Kavanuagh of his first conversation with Reusch. "He knew many people in Kansas City who could make the EP sound more professional, proficient and marketable." Palace spent the summer rerecording tracks from the debut EP and recording new songs under Reusch's guidance.
"Nathan gave us the resources we needed to make it better -- Element Studios with Joel Nanos," states Grooms. "We would go and record for a day, drive through the night to get to Kansas City by day, go home for a week and he would mess with it. We would come back the next week, and one time we came back and he played three different songs for us, where he found these nuggets hidden in the EP's mixes and brought the songs to a professional level. They went from being indie-pop to being indie-pop songs I could hear on the radio. It's pop! We came in and said, 'This is great!'"
"It was already there for him from the EP's tracks. We recorded the handclap for 'Calling It Quits' at Sawhorse Recording Studio in St. Louis with Ian Bradshaw. Ian sent our tracks over for Joel to use. Ian was using all these awesome techniques to mic everything. He basically sent Joel a manuscript and Joel edited it. He took a handclap that was a sentence on 'Calling It Quits' and made it a page," illustrates Grooms. The results make Summer Don't You Dare sound like an entirely new record. "I cannot tell you how many times I heard that EP recording," comments Eaker, who compares it to the LP's refurbished tracks. "Then I walked into Element and suddenly that handclap -- it was there."
The difference was especially palpable for Sydney Scott, who left the band last fall, "We played the masters from the new record for Sydney and she said they were head and shoulders above what we created before," tells Kavanaugh. "How she dealt with it was, 'I don't feel like it's mine anymore. I feel like this is Palace.'" The paradigm for the new Palace sound is "We Want More." Recorded with Owens on backing vocals (she can be heard on "Waterbed," the LP's other new track), the song features an answer-back/talk-back piece Kavanaugh wrote for Owens.