With Fog’s resurrection album, For Good, Andrew Broder knew what he wanted and he knew how to get it.
After releasing several records between 2002-2007, Broder ended Fog to focus on different musical projects, most recently the Cloak Ox and musical scores. Last year, he collaborated on an EP with Kill the Vultures/Oddjobs rapper Crescent Moon.
Broder’s musical career has always covered a wide range of styles. His music is challenging, yet it always packs memorable melodic flourishes, blending electronic, ethereal emotion with more primal, slow-churning rock elements.
For Good, the first Fog release since 2007's Ditherer, brings the beat to the forefront. Nuanced piano, guitar, and keys break through the bubbling bed of electronics like colorful tulips amid the damp spring soil.
Broder discussed the return of Fog with City Pages ahead of Saturday's release show the 7th St. Entry.
City Pages: What motivated you to revive Fog?
Andrew Broder: I knew I wanted to make a solo record and I wanted a distillation of all the different sounds and styles I’ve been working on throughout my journey in music. I figured if it’s a solo record, rather than coming up with a new alias or under my own name, this is where I started off and what most people remember me. The vibe and time felt right and in a holistic sense it seems appropriate.
Honestly, if you put out so many projects it becomes fatiguing at a certain point to come up with another name and your trail becomes even harder to follow. I just wanted something familiar. In a way maybe that gave it a spiritual comfort for me too.
CP: How did it all come together?
AB: I learned [music production software] Ableton and it changed how I make music. I was doing more beats, improvising, working in the electronic realm, and bringing turntables back into what I did. I wanted to do something in that vein but also write songs for piano, so combining those two ideas is how the record came about. I had a solid idea in my head that I wanted the album to be like.
CP: This record took a lot of studio time. Is that because it was mostly just yourself making it?
AB: I was also more meticulous this time. For whatever reason, I found a new focus that maybe I hadn’t had in other projects. I was a little pickier and made more revisions to things. I wasn’t under any pressure for a deadline, so I wanted to do it entirely under my own terms until I was happy. Though I will say that I did fund it using a Kickstarter campaign, so I did feel a little badly that it took so long to finish.
CP: It sounds like a springtime record to me. Blossoms coming after a long winter.
AB: I’m glad to hear that. It’s not a happy-go-lucky record, but I don’t think it’s the kind of record I’ve made in the past that’s very dour. I’d like it to have a hopeful quality to it, coming from a more loving place than maybe some of my other work has been. It’s a sense of renewal or something. It probably comes from not having made a Fog record in a long time.
CP: Your songs are relatively non-linear, more subtle than direct. Is that a conscious choice?
AB: That’s always been a part of the writing process: scribble a line here and there and you have a collection of seemingly scattered thoughts. When you go back it occurs to you that there’s been a running theme this whole time.
Ideas come to me in little bursts and bits, and then I take those little bits and see what the connections are between those outbursts. I hope they are just linear enough to make a certain amount of narrative for the listener.
I gravitate towards stuff that’s not explicit but there’s enough meaning that you can create your own story out of it. It’s like a Coen brothers movie where you’re not necessarily supposed to know what everything means. It’s more fun that way.
CP: What are you doing with the live show? How do you balance live band and programs?
AB: I’m playing turntables a lot of the time. Jeremy Ylvisaker [Alpha Consumer, Gramma's Boyfriend] is playing guitar and Leah Ottman [We Are the Willows] is playing keyboard and singing. Hopefully it will be reflective of the sound of the record while retaining the ability to improvise.
I want to represent the songs but be able to stretch them into different zones and to use the turntables and drum machine as improvisational tools. Getting comfortable with that has been a cool new place to go.
It’s nice to feel rejuvenated and to feel that comfort within myself. I’ve played a lot of different things, but there’s a newness and a freshness to this that has a lot to do with how we’re approaching it live. Everything is feeling new again. It’s the best of both worlds.
CP: What are your expectations for the release show?
AB: I think it will be really special. It’s been a long time since we’ve played a show and I don’t take for granted that anyone around here has to remember what this project used to be about. This could be someone’s first time hearing Fog and that would be really cool to have some people that aren’t old timers. It feels new.
With: Greg Grease, Psymun.
When: 8 p.m. Sat., May 7.
Where: 7th. St. Entry.
Tickets: $12-$15; more info here.