Meghan Killimade and Adam Wujtewicz are not only one of the coolest couples out there; they also make up the hard-hitting, rock-heavy duo Bedroom Rehab Corporation. Fronted by Adam on bass and vocals, he is joined by his long-time girlfriend Meghan on drums. Both are talented musicians who have played in a plethora of local bands over the years, and also avid supporters of the New London music scene; running the online zine www.wailingcity.com. What? That’s this site, you say? Yeah, and that is why they were both hesitant to talk about themselves and their own project with me. But after a little (a lot of) harassment, pleading, and threatening they finally agreed to an interview and found some time away from their busy lives to talk about BRC, they’re debut album Red Over Red, and our little scene.
WC: So, tell me how Bedroom Rehab Corporation started?
MK: We always thought it would be fun to play together, and when Adam parted ways with Hand Grenade Serenade in 2007 it seemed like the perfect time to try it. I still remember the first song we jammed on/wrote together, which turned into our song “The Corinthian”.
There were also a number of long hiatuses for BRC from 2007 until 2011. We had a lot of other stuff going on in our lives, and my other band Paul Brockett Roadshow plays often, especially during the summer months, so we were definitely “on and off” as a band for awhile. We didn’t have the “fire” under our butts enough to really work at it back then, like we do now.
WC: What made you two keep BRC a duo?
MK: I don’t think we were ever really hell-bent on keeping it a duo just to keep other instruments or people out, it just happened that way. Believe me, many of our guitar player friends STILL offer to come in and jam with us but it’s just been something we enjoy doing together. We now know how special it is to be in a relationship and be in a band together and are truly lucky that it works so well. It’s so easy to just get in one car with all of our gear and just go. I can’t say we haven’t thought about having another person come up and play with us on a song or two live, and that may still happen down the road, but it will always be the two of us for the long haul. Plus, it would be silly of us to say that we weren’t heavily influenced by other bass and drum duo bands like Big Business, Death From Above and Om.
AW: For me the duo thing has always been a sort of personal challenge. How much space can I fill up with just bass? How many different tones can I bring to the table and keep it sounding full? Can I actually play and sing at the same time? I’d done very little of that with Hand Grenade and I knew that it would be pretty constant thing in BRC.
And Meg’s right, it’s easy to play in a band with one other person. Especially one you are in a relationship with and live with. We don’t pull punches during song writing because we know each other too well. We can book shows very easily because we don’t have to coordinate schedules with everyone else. We have a lot of fun together and adding in a permanent 3rd member would make things much more complex. Besides, unless it was another bass player, I really think it would throw the sound we’ve worked so hard at creating right out the window.
WC: How would you classify your sound?
MK: That’s always been a tough one. We’re kind of all over the place, haha. We adopted our own classification as “post grunge doom rock”. When we first started we had a very heavy late 90’s garage/grunge rock sound and then we moved into a very big blues phase. You can still hear those sounds there, but over the last few years it’s definitely progressed into a more doom and stoner rock sound. Adam has a ton of pedal effects too and he’s also really into noise and psychedelic. I think we’re more into our own sound now than ever before, whatever you want to classify it as… but we’re definitely still growing… and we’re always surprising ourselves at the sounds that come out.
AW: When people ask I usually say stoner rock or heavy psyche. The psychedelic and stoner genres have always been terribly close sounding to me. I think because we do a lot of quiet parts and because I tend to use a lot of delays and more and more flanger in my bass tone we have a definite psychedelic element to us. Also, the noise factor is something that puts us a little more in that realm. The stoner rock side is just our love for a big riff and playing heavy music. We’re never going to be a straight metal band because we don’t have a guitar player and we’re never going to be a punk band because we play too slow and we’ll never be a psyche band because we’re too heavy. We have those influences for sure but they’re never genres that we’ll fit into nicely. I’m all over the spectrum as far as my music tastes and I think that only helps a band keep things interesting. A band like Slint may not be the first one you think of when you hear BRC but if you listen to “S.O.S.” you’ll hear a lot of Slint. The “chorus” part to that song also has a nice little walking bass line that has a clear jazz/blues influence. Then there are songs like “Captain Damnit” that is a pretty straight hardcore punk song with some high-end noise sprinkled on top. I don’t like to sound like we’re a more complex band than we are; we’re a heavy rock that has some quiet moments. That’s how all the rock bands I listened to as kid were. You knew when a Pearl Jam or Soundgarden song came on but the songs all sounded different. I want BRC to be the same way.
MK: We’ve been lucky enough to play shows with other bands that aren’t exactly the same genre, of course we don’t really know what ours is, so we fit well with a lot of different types of genres – metal, rock, stoner rock, doom, punk. I grew up going to very diverse shows: punk, ska, hardcore, indie bands all on the same bill. I miss those days and I’d love to see that diversity come back. With BRC, it’s been a lot of fun playing different types of bills.
WC: What influenced you when you wrote your new album, Red Over Red?
AW: Living in an old whaling town is a huge influence for this record. It’s a concept album that involves the paranormal and the ocean. I’ve always been into monsters and mythology and I’ve always lived near water so it seemed like a smart match to apply to my lyrical concepts. I was an avid writer of fiction in high school but since then I haven’t had the time or muse to write like that. When we realized that a lot of the titles we were coming up with had a sort of maritime theme to them I saw it as a good way to use that part of my brain again. Granted, the story is pretty loose and even though I think the album has a great flow to it we didn’t write the songs in order trying to link them. There were some very “happy accidents” when we started to assemble this record and it was our job to make sure we took advantage of them.
Those kinds of things have also always been present in heavy music. Led Zeppelin wrote songs that went along with the Lord of the Rings stories, Black Sabbath were obviously into some dark mystical stuff. The current metal bands I listen to are no different. The Sword has written songs that follow Game of Thrones and there are all sorts of monsters in High on Fire songs. I’ve never been one for bands with a real political stance or tend to write topically. This is an escape for me and while certain things in life do frustrate me I’m not going to burden my listener with that. I’m going to vent my frustration with a loud bass and a scream. I just hope that the listeners get the same sense of relief as I do from it.
AW: Musically for me a big inspiration for this album was the Japanese rock band Boris (if you are into rock music of any kind, and I mean any kind, go check them out). They are a band that has absolutely no rules when it comes to style or songwriting. I wanted to be able to put out whatever was coming out of us at the time on this record and not feel the need to explain myself. There are some pretty conflicting styles on ROR and I think that we’re able to pull it all under one umbrella of BRC. I never want to stifle our sound; I want both of us to feel free to try whatever we want with this band.
WC: What went into writing the first single, “Gone by the Boards”?
AW: It all started, as a lot of things do, with beer. I brew beer with a couple of buddies of mine at my parent’s house (Creature Brewing Co) and it’s also where our studio/practice space is. After a night of beer prep and the drinking that goes along with that I decided to go into the studio and play around with my musical equipment. Being a little on the inebriated side, the riff I came up with was slower and I think because I was working in a very stream of conscience sort of way the riff was longer from start to finish. When we first started jamming on that primary riff the song wandered in a heavier direction that was more in line with “Down with the Ship” (the B-Side to our 2009 Cosmo Single). Meghan didn’t want to revisit that so much and the slowness of the riff was a pretty big change for us so we shelved it for a while. When we came back to it I tried to take a bit more of a thematic approach to the music by taking the main riff and altering it slightly to create different parts of the song. It was Meg’s idea to throw the noise solo in the middle; it was also her idea for me to use a slide to give it more movement while we were in the studio. It’s truly our most traditional arrangement we’ve ever had for a song; intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, bridge, chorus/outro. Although it may seem silly it became almost a challenge to see if we could do something that traditional and pull it off.
MK: Yeah, as Adam said, I was definitely hearing a very traditional arrangement for this song. I was looking at arrangements that some of my favorite bands were doing; songs that I thought were written and put together really well. I would be lying if I said The Reducers didn’t come into play here – they are such a huge influence on us. I especially had been listening to a lot of ‘ducers around the time we were finishing up the writing for the album. Even though their songs have guitars and such, their arrangements are really awesome. I wanted to try to apply that to at least some of our song writing to see if it worked. The pedal noise and bass slide part being where a guitar solo might sit. It certainly doesn’t, and won’t apply to every song for us, but for “Boards” we lucked out!
The funny thing about this song is that it almost didn’t make it on the record! We had been working on another song at the time that just wasn’t going where we wanted to go and we decided to put it aside for a while and try working on “Boards”. It just fit together in the nick of time and wound up on the record instead of the other song. It’s the longest and probably the heaviest song on the album!
WC: Are you guys excited for the first listen party at The Telegraph on the 17th?
MK: YES! I can’t even begin to tell you how stoked we are! This is huge for us and we’ve worked SO HARD on this record. We rehearsed for months and actually demo’d the entire album ourselves in our home studio first before going into Sonelab with Justin (Pizzoferrato). We are so proud of the way it came out and I can’t wait to unleash it!
We are incredibly grateful to Rich and Daphne Lee Martin (Telegraph Recording Company), for all their continued guidance and support. And also for our best friends, Michelle Montavon and Brian Albano (The Suicide Dolls), who really inspired us to work hard and keep at it. Without these four people, I’m not sure this record would have happened.
AW: I think this really is the best and most honest way to release a record. So many times you see a band live and they’re great and then you buy the record only to find they did a half assed job or the other way around. This gives people a chance to hear the product and decide if they want it based on the content of the record. I also just want to see people’s reactions to the record. We did do a lot of work to get this album just the way we wanted it and Justin brought the whole thing to another level. The man knows what he is doing and we feel very lucky to have worked with him. Not to mention the fact that some of the “ear candy” on this record was his idea and he just made us feel very comfortable.
WC: What’s your experience here in the NL scene?
MK: I think the scene here is awesome and so unique, I probably love New London more than most people, haha. I do think that there aren’t enough people going out to shows like it was five or so years ago, but of course every scene/city changes and goes through its ups and downs. We talk to a lot of out of town bands and it’s also like this in other cities right now, not just here. I can’t say it enough – support local music because if you don’t go to shows and support what bands in your town are doing, none of this can grow and continue on for the next generation!
As a band, we’ve definitely had a rough time with getting folks down to our local shows. I respect that some people may not be into what we’re doing and that’s totally cool but we’re hoping folks will support not only us (and other New London bands too) but the out of town bands we work so hard to bring down to New London. I think it’s incredibly important as a scene to work together and support what other bands are doing even if you’re not 100% into it.
WC: So, are there any local bands you’re into?
MK: There’s a bunch of local bands I’m digging lately: Daphne Lee Martin’s new stuff is absolutely awesome. I've been really into When The Deadbolt Breaks, Modern Primates, Street People, Horns of Ormus, Slander. Also love New Haven’s Lost Riots and Easthampton’s Problems With Dragons and we just played with Black Pyramid from the Boston area – holy amazing!
AW: Horns of Ormus for sure. I’ve liked Gregg’s stuff since Los Diablos Charcoles and HOO have a sound that all three members seem to be excited about and comfortable with. Daphne Lee Martin is doing new and interesting things. Moxie shows such a huge amount of sonic growth for her. She’s always been a hard worker and it’s great to see her work as hard on moving forward musically as she does booking and playing shows. Of course my perennial favorite band in New London is The Suicide Dolls. Their music speaks to me. I love their use of feedback and noise within the structure of a rock n’ roll song. They also work extremely hard. I don’t think people realize how many bands from NY, Boston and beyond they’ve brought to New London. So let me be the first to thank them publicly for introducing us to so many great bands.
WC: What advice do you have for up-and-coming bands, musicians, etc. out there?
MK: Work hard, get yourself out there and meet new bands. Play as many shows out of town as you play in town.
AW: Listen to as much different music as you can. If you’re in a metal band and all you listen to is metal, your music will suffer for it. If you’re in a country band and all you listen to is country your music will suffer for it. All my English teachers always said that in order to be a good writer you had to be an avid reader. I believe that’s doubly true for music; if you’re going to be a good player you have to be an avid listener.
Also, Meg’s right, play outside where you live. Playing to your friends is great but they won’t be honest all the time. Challenge yourself by playing outside your comfort zone. If you can play in front of a crowd of strangers in Boston, NY, or Phili like you would in front of your friends, then you’re on your way. If you don’t challenge yourself as a band your music will suffer for it.
There is a theme to what I’m saying here in case you haven’t caught on.
And honestly, you have to love what you’re doing and the people you’re doing it with. Your band is like your second family and you have to accept their flaws but your happiness is just as important as theirs and you don’t have to let them make you miserable.
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