Released this past November 10, Lost at Last, Vol. 1 sees Pennsylvania native Langhorne Slim, aka Sean Scolnick, refine his distinct brand of reverb-laden Americana. The songwriter’s drummer and producer, Malachi DeLorenzo, whose father is Violent Femmes’ founding sticksman, Victor DeLorenzo, gracefully dresses the album’s serene odes with inventive, tasteful parts. And by adjusting the technique and approach he usually employs with Slim, he places a unique foundation under the group’s indie-folk vibes. “I decided to try to keep the drums muted and subdued on most of the songs,” DeLorenzo explains. “I wanted as little edge as possible without making the drums feel boring, which is a fine line to walk. Since we tracked most of the material live together in the room—including vocals—keeping my performances as subdued as possible was going to have a big impact on the mix. Had I been bashing away, we would’ve had a ton of bleed.”
DeLorenzo’s modest approach also opened more room for the group to stretch rhythmically and dynamically throughout Lost. “The concept that I had for the drum and percussion parts on this record was basically to avoid ‘playing the drums’ as much as possible,” Malachi says. “Even though it didn’t exactly work out that way, I wanted to avoid some of the more straight-ahead feels and sounds that I’ve used on most of our records. I thought that if I tone down the amount of power coming from the drum parts, then the band will have no choice but to give more power and rhythm in their parts. The other concept I had was to—if possible—not use the snare with the snare wires on. To my surprise, when we settled on the final sequence, I don’t think there’s a song on it where I have the snares on. That concept is a little ridiculous—but that was my thinking.”
DeLorenzo explains that he had to strike a balance between his approach and input from Kenny Siegal, who shared production duties with the drummer and Slim. “In terms of Kenny’s feedback, I’m pretty sure my concept for this record was a bit of a pain in the ass,” DeLorenzo says. “For songs that called for straight-ahead drum parts, Kenny spent a fair amount of time simply trying to convince me to turn the snares on, let alone to play in a straight-ahead manner. I badly wanted to find a way to get the power of a track to shine through without forcing it from a drumming perspective. In the end, I think the push and pull of our sensibilities probably led us to a more interesting result.”
Aside from Lost at Last, DeLorenzo recently produced and played on the indie-Americana singer-songwriter Izaak Opatz’s solo debut, Mariachi Static. For more with the drummer, check out an extended interview at moderndrummer.com.
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