The Velvet Teen’s Josh Staples reflects on ‘Out of the Fierce Parade’ for 20th anniversary + first time on vinyl
The Velvet Teen's debut album Out of the Fierce Parade turned 20 earlier this year, we recently named it one of the best emo & post-hardcore albums of 2002, and now the band has released it on vinyl for the first time ever! The 20th anniversary edition comes on black & grey 2xLP splatter vinyl in triple gatefold, and it's limited to just 500 copies. Pre-order one from The Velvet Teen's Bandcamp while they last, and check out a mock-up of the record below.
Bassist Josh Staples was also kind enough to speak to us about the album and reflect on the lead-up, the making-of, and the aftermath. Here's what Josh had to say...
Many of the early memories I have about Out Of The Fierce Parade include the lead-up to its recording, and really just how fast it all came together. I'd finally been able to catch Death Cab For Cutie live in February of 2001 while on tour playing bass with The Wunder Years in Chicago, and that was the first time I'd ever heard them (after enduring a considerable amount of hype - all justified). I was impressed, to say the least, and that year was spent catching up on what I'd been missing, especially their second album, We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes.
In the meantime, The Velvet Teen began playing shows in Oregon and Washington and I recognized and met Ben Gibbard in Portland, who was playing drums in Kind of Like Spitting, a band I'd loved for years.
Ezra, the owner of Slowdance - who was excited to help produce and release The Velvet Teen's prospective first album - was part of the Death Cab / Jealous Sound tour that I caught in Chicago, and suggested Chris Walla (DCFC's guitarist and producer) to record our album. At some point that same year, The Velvet Teen played a show in Seattle with our friend Tomo Nakayama's band, and Chris Walla came to see us perform. We had our first 7-inch on hand to give him, and the next day we visited Chris's studio, The Hall Of Justice, where Kind of Like Spitting were recording Bridges Worth Burning - again, with Ben on drums. The studio was very small and cool, we loved the vibe, and we quickly made plans to record our album there.
Upon our return to The Hall Of Justice, we found Chris in the control room, finishing up a remix of Death Cab's "We Laugh Indoors." He had auxiliary tape machines creating analog tape delays, using quarter-inch tape crossing the length of the room, wrapping around a doorknob, and back into the machine. This was just one of the many fascinating analog effects I saw employed over the next week, as we recorded and mixed Out of the Fierce Parade.
Chris used a reversed Bell & Howell vintage speaker to mic the bass cabinet at one point. He created the radio static at the beginning of "Radiapathy" using vintage oscillators. He helped me achieve the exact Peter Hook New Order bass tone for a bass solo part (deleted), as Chris knew the exact rack-mounted console model that New Order used and brought it down from the shelf - and these were shelves that stored many of the band Low's master tapes. It really was a magical week.
I remember that after we had finished the bass and drum takes, [late Velvet Teen drummer] Logan [Whitehurst] spent much of his time etching the cover art for the album into a copper plate. The night before, at our friends Matt and Mandy's home where we were staying, Logan had presented us with a sketch for the album design, which everyone loved and agreed upon. So, at his earliest opportunity, he proceeded with the first steps of his printmaking expertise, scratching away at the copper plates in the tiny tape-op closet, adjacent to the studio's control room. He would come out to record his vocals, maybe some piano, but for the most part, he was etching away while Judah recorded guitar, vocals and piano.
The recording went by very quickly, but forged a friendship between Chris Walla and The Velvet Teen that has lasted decades. A year later, Death Cab would invite The Velvet Teen on a US tour with The Thermals (who at that time had Ben Barnett of Kind of Like Spitting on guitar). In June of 2003, Out of the Fierce Parade would release in Japan where none of us had ever been, and for his 2004 album Goodbye My 4-Track, Logan would actually travel back to Seattle to record Chris Walla on guitar.
That January of 2002, we spent a week of our lives in Fremont and Ballard. We ate a lot of Fred Meyer sushi and made fine use of their vintage photo booth. We recorded our first album which was released less than two months after we left Seattle (how the fuck does that happen?) and for the short window we had to promote, the original sketch of the album cover was used in place of the final etching (Logan still had to book time at the university he'd just graduated from to actually make prints from the plates upon returning home). It all happened very quickly, but set the table for those exciting early years of The Velvet Teen.
-Josh Staples, 2022
Pick up the new vinyl pressing here and stream the album below...