The Red Pears graduate from the garage with new LP
You Thought We Left Because The Door Was Open But We Were Outside was released last week. AL DÍA spoke with the band to discuss the new record.
The Red Pears have come a long way from their early recording days. Returning this year for a new album and an upcoming tour, a lot has changed since the California band’s previous outings.
Lead singer and guitarist Henry Vargas, drummer Jose Corona, and bassist Patrick Juarez comprise The Red Pears, starting their career in El Monte, California.
The new album features a handful of previously-released singles, completing the tracklist. The Red Pears released a final single, and a music video, “House of Mirrors,” before unveiling the album on Friday, Oct. 15.
The new LP, You Thought We Left Because The Door Was Open But We Were Waiting Outside, has cemented the band’s graduation from their early days recording in the garage.
With the new album, the group took their songs to a studio for the first time, traveling to Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas.
During their earliest days, Vargas and Corona led the band, before Juarez joined as bassist in 2017.
Before relocating to Sonic Ranch to record, Juarez got the call from Vargas that the band would need his bass-playing again for some sessions.
“I had to learn the songs there… We had two rehearsal days,” said Juarez. “It was kinda stressful, but it was pretty exciting, pretty cool.”
With a more professional setup and a producer to work with, The Red Pears undertook a more traditional recording environment.
Still, they had a certain authenticity to stick to, so as not to lose a sense of personality in the transition.
“We still wanted to keep our sound. Just because we're changing the way we record an album, and do the process, didn’t mean that we need to change ourselves, our music, or our style,” said Corona. “It was figuring out that balance.”
Earlier Red Pears recordings harken back to the creative craftsmanship found in acts such as Pixies. Coming back with their latest album, that creativity is not lost.
When it comes to drumming, it’s important to Corona to keep some things simple, and he seeks to be a musician who pays attention to all aspects of the recording and not just his instrument.
At Sonic Ranch, The Red Pears took to a “one-take” setup that came with the new location.
This setup allowed the group to play together as they recorded, opposed to past, one-track setups which — due to factors like limited microphones — restricted members to taking turns.
Vargas believes the new setup allowed the band to adopt a sound more aligned with their live performances, but other new components were welcomed as well.
The Red Pears wasted no time observing sound and recording processes, taking their instruments to different rooms in Sonic Ranch to test out differing echoes and acoustics.
“Learning about acoustics, what rooms can do, what microphones can do, there was a lot of learning,” said Corona on the process.
Growing up, lead singer Vargas learned to sing and record by playing in punk and metal bands around El Monte. Naturally, each lesson the band has learned, past experiences in their career contributed to the new record.
You Thought We Left ties back to nostalgia with select sections of songwriting, as certain songs had been written far before the band arrived at Sonic Ranch.
The band were just waiting for the right time to record.
“The song ‘When We Were Young,’ always made me think about how life is,” said Vargas. “The beliefs you had when you were a kid, the goals you had… When you’re a kid, you have this big way of thinking, and as you get older, those dreams kinda get crushed… or you feel like you can do it.”
There is strong truth to Vargas’ sentiment. In order to pursue an aspiration, an artist may face their dreams being crushed multiple times, but it is up to the artist whether they continue the journey.
The Red Pears’ own journey is one filled with lessons. During the filming process of their recent music video, many processes were experienced for the first time.
The band also hopes to experiment more with music videos going forward, after having learned how it's done with “House of Mirrors.”
“House of Mirrors” was the band’s first professionally-shot music video.
When recording the song, Vargas went back to re-record vocals, changing the recording from upbeat to more mellowed. This fits with the overall stylistic undertaking of the record:
“I do feel like [the album] is a bit darker than our older stuff… It’s not as bright,” said Vargas. “The style that we kinda developed. It just seems a little bit more mature… a darker sound … it has its own theme.”
This new eight-track album from The Red Pears offers a great listening experience for fans of garage rock and alt rock with a slight psychedelic tinge and expressive recordings.
Moreover, for listeners who have enjoyed witnessing garage rock acts bring their showmanship to debut studio outings — with soaring success — this is a vital album to come from this year.
Like the painted clown motif depicted on the cover, it is a dynamic and characteristic statement from the band.
The Red Pears will be playing the new album on tour this November, traveling with Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing.
Many shows have already sold out, but tickets for available dates are on sale now. To prepare for touring, the band is getting ready to sit in a van for long periods of time.
The band will be taking another step forward after this tour, embarking on their own soon after. Dates are to-be-announced for that tour.
One thing is certain: The Red Pears will not be forgetting their origins as their trajectory continues to grow:
“Even to this day, we’re always grateful for everything, for our upbringings,” said Vargas.
You Thought We Left Because The Door Was Open But We Were Waiting Outside is available now.