Howard: Recycling old music for new electronic EP


Max Kitchell

Recycling is an action that most people support. Why not conserve and reuse what we can, right? Recycling in music generally has a different connotation, though. In that stratosphere, it is often seen as plagiarism and unoriginal at best. What if instead of ripping off a riff of someone else’s, a band were to completely deconstruct their own music, and create something new out of it? That is exactly what the band Howard has done on their new EP “Please Recycle,” due out on March 25. The band, whose more conventional debut full-length album was released last year, decided to branch out and create a concept EP with an interesting idea in mind. The lead singer Howard Feibusch said of the project, “By nature of a concept it had to be more electronic. It’s more something we are testing the waters of, although I can imagine it would affect our subsequent music. No I don’t think our music will be as heavily electronic but it has opened some production doors for the future.”

The EP prominently features an electronic sound, leaving the acoustic guitars of their full-length album “Religion” all but out of the picture throughout its five songs. The whole project grew organically, “We were asked by another artist to remix one of our songs and we were separating the stems of the songs, and while separating them I got really inspired listening to everything on their own, and I was working with a new software messing around putting different layers on different songs. We started with 30 sketches and ended with four or five final songs,” Feibusch added.

Since “Please Recycle” is a pretty large departure from their previous release, one would think that it might be a challenge converting the music to a live setting. The band is planning on highlighting the music from the EP heavily on their current tour, though. Feibusch said of their live show: “Because the EP is an extension of the record, the tour will showcase both works, some of the new stuff will be played as an individual song, some will be extensions of the songs they were pulled out of and will help us determine the direction of new songs. We are using the EP as an expanded piece of our existing show as opposed to putting old stuff on the backburner. It helps us reimagine our old material and keep it fresh.”

After this tour, what happens next is a bit up in the air. One thing is for certain though; the band does not plan on going the route of doing nothing but concept albums from here on out. On that topic, Feibusch said, “I think our next album will be more traditional, it won’t sound like our first record but it will be more conventional. As an artist, you need to be creating art, and at that time “Recycle” is what really excited me. It kind of depends on how I’m feeling at the moment and what inspires me. It was a statement of its own, and it’s about not worrying about what’s next.” Howard continued to explain, “I had never quite heard of this idea of ours, ‘Recycle’ is different than a remix album because we didn’t have other artists remixing and when they do that they pay tribute to a specific song. Remix was all within the album and all mashed together. I really loved the concept and how the songs shaped up and I wanted to release it. Sometimes you can’t think too much about the statement that you’re making and just make it.”

I have had the pleasure of listening to “Please Recycle” prior to its release, and I can attest to the fact that it is something entirely new to the first-time listener. The electronic vibe is a collection of sounds that, by all means, should not go together, and yet mesh perfectly. Even better is listening to the EP again after listening to last year’s full-length album, and seeing where the band pulled from in order to create this futuristic sounding EP. The band Howard will play at Blueberry Hill in the Duck Room this Friday, Feb. 26, in what will be the first chance to fully experience this phenomenal EP in a live setting.

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