Party House: We lock horns until we come up with something we like

Party House: We lock horns until we come up with something we like
Photo by Joe Lemke

Party House is a Minneapolis band that doesn't play often due to their other musical projects and life getting the way. Even if their name gives off that crazy, fraternity row night vibe, the music is entirely on the other end of the spectrum. Their new song has the band twiddling some knobs, perfecting their instruments, and withdrawing from a bank of unguarded emotions to craft a song of delicate deftness.

Gimme Noise spoke with lead singer Gwen Wakem (formerly Ruehle) and Tommy Rehbein on what the band has been up to and the story behind "Tonight" before the 7" release at Honey on Saturday. 

Band Members: Gwen Wakem, Dan Mariska, Lee Carter, Thomas Rehbein

Gimme Noise: It's been a while since the band's last album release. What have you been up to?

Tommy Rehbein: Gwen and I got married (but not to each other). I made a noisy, shoegaze record (International Karate), Dan and Lee have been keeping busy with Dan Mariska and the Boy's Choir. 

Gimme Noise: You all have such an eclectic background. What does each band member bring to the table musically?

Tommy Rehbein: Gwen writes pretty songs on piano or acoustic guitar and them I'm all like, "This needs a lot of droney feedback!" Then we kind of lock horns for a bit until we come up with an arrangement we like. Dan adds a lot of ambiance and pretty noise. Lee is really good at bringing movement and fluidity to the songs. We tend to make these giant walls of ambient sound, so Lee is our anchor. He's also got a great sense of melody when we get stumped on where to bring a song.

Gimme Noise: "Tonight" seems like the perfect song for a summer night. Where did the inspiration for the song come from?

Tommy Rehbein: You'll have to ask Gwen.

Gwen Wakem: I wrote "Tonight" two summers ago actually when I was trying to reconcile with the idea of being with someone when it would be better to be alone. This idea that we offer someone security and safety when in reality being with them is just hurting them more, and when we know this and refuse to do anything about it. How do we find that strength to separate? 

A few of the lyrics were changed during the band writing stage (thus the locking horns comment Tommy referred to), because phrasing and timing, etc. had to change, thus the song changed. Now it sounds more like a girl promising security to someone who won't stay with her.  Ha! The process of songwriting.  But the song was originally inspired from this idea of wanting to find solitude without the willingness to leave someone behind.   

Gimme Noise: Why only a 7" this time? What's the second song on the album?

Tommy Rehbein: We like to spend our time on recordings to make sure we are happy with the results. This can get costly since everything's self-financed. We also decided to go the extra mile and have TW Walsh (Pedro the Lion) master it this time.

I guess it comes down to us not wanting to rush things and coming up with good results within our means. We'd rather do a few songs and really hone them in than do a whole bunch of songs and be forced to rush or cut corners.

Gwen Wakem: The other song on this album, "Cowboy," is actually an older song from our last EP Silver.  We started playing the song live differently from the original recording and wanted to record the slower, washed out version. 

Gimme Noise: Do you have anything else in the works after this 7" release?

Tommy Rehbein: We're already working on new material. Each EP has been a little different. EP1 was just me and Gwen, and it was slow and very distorted. EP2 had Lee on board, and it was a lot faster and had a bit of a punk backbone. The new 7" is more mellow, ambient, and sad. I think the newer stuff we're writing is a little more upbeat, so I wouldn't be surprised to see another 7" or similar release with some more poppy tunes.

Gimme Noise: What can we expect to see at the release show?

Tommy Rehbein: We've been practicing pretty hard to sound good! We have some guest musicians joining us, too. Some auxillary percussion, violin, and vocal harmonies. It'll be pretty cool. We are playing mostly new songs, but also bringing back some songs we have not played in a year or so. I'm also excited because Mike Mid is playing and we've been pals for years. Our friends Bora York are playing, too, and they're wonderful. Also, this show is early in the evening because our friends have careers and kids now! Our friends can finally come to a show! Woohoo!

Party House will release their 7" with "Tonight" at Honey on Saturday, July 13, 2013 with Mike Midwestern (also releasing an album) and Bora York.
21+, $5, 6 pm

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