Nearly a year ago, we interviewed the brainchild of Cosmic Halitosis, Matt Henry, about his three-piece punk-rock band. Now, as 2018 kicks off, the band is set to release its first full-length album, “Where Is She?”. They are going to celebrate the release with a show at Guido’s Speakeasy on Saturday night along with their friends My Friday Anthem and Slow Reader. We caught up with Henry to ask him 10 questions about the album, including where they went to record it, how long they worked on it, and how it will be released on What’s For Breakfast? Records. For those looking to check it out, the fun starts at 10 p.m. and yes, copies of the record will be on sale.
So where did you go to record the album and why did you decide to go where you went?
As soon as we made the decision to record a full album, we didn’t hesitate to go to our dear friend Pablo Cabrera. I met Pablo when he recorded the “Sedated” EP for Lilac Daze. He also recorded our full-length and the Middle Kid EP. Pablo has been my go-to ever since. He makes the recording process super fun and laid back. He’s a master! All the songs I’ve ever recorded with him end up sounding exactly like how I hear them in my head. I recommend everyone to record with Pablo!
What’s your favorite song on the record and why?
I’d say maybe “Troll” because that wasn’t originally planned to be on the album but it ended up being my favorite. We had the track listing prepared and rehearsed way in advance. But literally weeks before we prepared to record the album, I brought this new song to Max and Evan. We ran through it a couple times and Evan insisted we put it on the album — and I wasn’t even sure I liked the song that much! Lo and behold, it worked.
What’s the song on the record you wish you had back — one that you would want to record again — and why?
Not to sound super conceited but I am pretty happy with how all the songs turned out. The basic tracks were recorded in one day but I actually took a lot of trips back to Pablo’s studio to record my vocals and lead parts. It’s not very punk rock to admit, but I spent a lot of time perfecting all the parts as opposed to my original recordings where everything was pretty rushed.
How long have you been working on the songs that appear on the album and how did many of them come together?
The 10 songs are pretty much a hodge-podge of songs I’ve written over the last five years. A lot of the songs, I recorded previously on my eight-track with me playing all the instruments. Some of the songs on the album sound pretty identical to my original recordings, but some took on a whole new life when I showed them to Max and Evan. “Mr. A**hole” was originally just me and an acoustic guitar. When I first showed them the song, Max just kind of kicked in on the drums and it to turned in to that whole freak out part at the end. We didn’t even discuss it; it just kinda happened and that’s pretty much how we recorded it. For old time’s sake, I recorded “Cosmic Queen” old-school-style and played all the tracks.
Along those same lines, what’s your typical songwriting process? Do you bring ideas to the band or is it more collaborative?
Well, I usually come in with all the basic parts of the song and we’ll just jam it out and see what happens. I like to give Max and Evan free reign to add what they think sounds good. I bring in the basic structure of the song but they will add something like a cool fill or a little bass line that I wouldn’t have thought of and that can sometimes add a whole new dimension to the song.
I see the album will be out on What’s For Breakfast? Records. How did that relationship come about and what can you tell us about the label?
I heard about them through our friends Ellen & The Degenerates (check them out!). I was researching labels that specialized in garage punk type stuff and figured it’d be cool to see if they would wanna put it out. I have yet to meet Dan, who runs the label, in person, but he seems to be very nice and very friendly to work with. The bands on the label rock and I’m stoked to meet them!
What does the title, “Where Is She?,” mean?
That was supposed to be a mystery! But I’ll tell ya anyway. I gotta give credit to my wife, Nicole — she’s the one who thought of it. The cover shot is a picture my mom took of me when I was about 5 years old in a homemade Batman costume. So obviously, it’s a reference to the classic scene in “Dark Knight,” when Christian Bale shouts, “Where is she!?” But I also thought it would be funny because it’s a pretty vague thing to say. Being depressed and on a quest to find a soul mate is kind of the underlying theme in a lot of the songs, so I thought the title could work on a few different levels.
Can you tell us a little about the album release show — who’s playing and how did you land on the lineup?
Obviously, we had to have the release show in Frederick, and it’s always fun playing Guido’s. It’s gonna be our buddies, My Anthem, who are Frederick locals, and my buddy Tommy’s band Slow Reader from Philly. It should be a nice mix. We will have the cassettes for sale and Max is making t-shirts! It’s gonna be swell.
Are there any plans to tour in the works? If so, where and when?
Yes, we will be spreading the Halitosis across the East Coast. At the end of January, we have a lil weekend booked. We are playing the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, Pa., on Jan. 26. We’re playing in Brooklyn on the 27th at a place called Wayward Social, I believe, and Jan. 28, we’re trying to get a house show in Philly.
And finally, when do you think you’ll start working on the next album? Have you guys already started writing new material?
As of now, no current plans for the next album. But we’d definitely be ready for it. I have a bunch of new songs I’ve been working on and I have so much material I’ve written over the last few years, that I think the next one will be a triple album.