Interview with Chris Reimer of Women

Women (Photo by Giulia Mazza)

Their music has quietly risen to a new level where song structure is consistently being looked at and in turn, for Chris Reimer and Women, they’re newest album, Public Strain, is one of the finest follow-ups of the year. Getting ready for a string of dates that finds them honing in on the highlights off the recently released album, DOA was fortunate enough to speak to Reimer during the band’s busy schedule.

What’s your recording process like, can you describe it?
It’s really ridiculous. Most of the time we go in with a rough skeleton of what we want to do. Other times, we have a really specific idea of what we want and then we eventually finish it and decide it wasn’t what we intended and start over. (Laughing.) It’s kind of like a mess but I think we strongly know what will make us happy in the long run, so it’s about achieving that and knowing that it’s right.

On the new album, most of the songs are fleshed out and not as short as the previous album, how do you feel it differs from Women?
A lot of the songs are more of traditional pop song structure where we had a verse, chorus and bridge and so there was more to work with than before. With the new one, we were able to extend things and allow the songs to develop more slowly and eventually, really get somewhere.

Can you describe how it’s been working with Chad VanGaalen on both of your albums?
He’s great. He’s patient, calm and lets us do whatever we want but we’ve been recording with him lately and I think his patience is wearing thin with our complete lack of process. (Laughing.)

How would you describe your own sound to a new listener?
I always just say it’s kind of noisy pop music but I think that we cover a bit more ground than that. I’m not really sure how to succinctly describe it; I’d probably tell them just to go listen to it.

Where does the name of the band come from?
We were messing around one day. Choosing a band name is a very difficult process and often, you find yourself at a show needing to put a name to it. So you have eight hours to come up with something and it was a sort of joke reference from a song and our bass player suggested we name ourselves “Women.” We laughed and said OK and now, we’re stuck with it.

With starting this new stretch of dates, are you going to be playing any new music?
There’s a couple of songs that we’re going to be playing live and there will be a few half-done songs that we might work on and play along the way.

What do you all credit your sound to?
As far as the sound and recording, the influences are all over the place. Pat, he writes most of the songs and melodies, (Patrick Flegel) he listens to a lot of different music and it’s all very broad. So I think it’s about picking little things you like from bands and trying to incorporate those sounds into your own style.

In my opinion, this second album is very good. Do you think you’ve achieved what you originally set out to do?
I think we still have a long way to go but this is a really good step towards something that I feel is a little more complete and cohesive. We’ve always wanted to take that pop form and just put it on a stick, light it on fire, stab it and piss all over it. This is just another step in changing the ‘pop thing’ into something that’s a bit more different.

In terms of getting ready for live performances, is it a difficult process transitioning it from the studio to a live setting?
We always have to learn how to play the songs because it’s rare to go into the studio with everything learned. But it’s a lot of fun to transition everything that we created in the studio to a live setting. We also had an instrument built for us that we picked up in the Netherlands and so that’s gonna be fun.

You’ve all known each other since childhood, do you think that helps in just being able to be comfortable with each other?
Definitely. We’re very comfortable with each other and we can communicate things very quickly without a lot of explanation. And musically, we understand each other very well. We have no problem being blunt and honest with each other, whereas if it was someone else, I might not be so comfortable with it.