Sleep Well, the new album by Electric President, finds the Jacksonville duo of Ben Cooper and Alex Kane expanding on the indie-pop/electronica vibe that won over fans and critics two years ago on their self-titled debut. With a more refined palette of sounds and a more intuitively pop-minded vibe this time around, the rather ubiquitous Postal Service comparisons should be sloughed off easily. Though Sleep Well was recorded in much the same way as EP's 2006 album — in a storage shed in Cooper's backyard — it still displays a much more refined sound. Cooper recently spoke with New Times about the process behind the album.
New Times: Would you say that there's been any great impact on your sound from having recorded in your backyard rather than your bedroom?
Cooper: I'm sure recording in the backyard has had its effect, but I can't say exactly how. I've been doing it regularly for the past six years, so it's hard to pick out the details anymore. Probably the most significant impact is that it forces me to record in the middle of the night, due to traffic. The shed is close to the road, so I have to wait until the cars die down before I can do any tracking.
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The new album seems more mature-sounding — more textural and more fully formed — than the last. Is that because more time was spent making it or because the two of you have gotten better at what you're doing?
I'd say both. We didn't rush things at all. Where we spent seven or eight months writing and recording the first record, we spent 13 months on this one. But beyond time, the sound of this record was much more deliberate. On the first one, we were taking acoustic songs and chopping them up in computers. Lots of the work was done after the mics were put away. This new record was much less manipulated. The songs were just written that way, and there was a much stronger idea of the sound from the beginning and of how everything would fit together in the end.
Have you thought about utilizing more musicians when you play live?
We're in the process of doing that at the moment. We found a drummer recently, and he's amazing, and my brother is going to play keyboards/piano with us as well. We've begun rehearsing, and we're working out ways to translate the songs to a live setting. I don't know when we'll be able to tour, as Alex is in school full-time, but we should know within the next month or so.