RR: The horn work, in general, is very tastefully recorded on Reminisce.
EK: Yeah, I love horns. I actually had to hold myself back by putting horns on.
RR: There you go.
EK: (laughter) Had to be different from Lettuce. I’m trying to make everything unique in its way. You have a lot of the same musicians playing on a lot of the records. Otherwise, I would have gone nuts. But, yeah, I love horns. If you listen to the stuff we produce for other people, there are horns on a lot of it. We work with amazing horn players—Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis, Cochemea [Gastelum] played on [ Reminisce ], and plays with the Dap Kings, Antibalas, and used to play with Robert Walter—that’s where I met him. He plays flute and tenor [saxophone] on the first track [“Roll Out”], and he’s also on another track called “Domino,” which is a bonus track for Japan’s version. He’s amazing. He’s got so much pocket and so much soul.
RR: He’s got a great new record out, too- The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow.
EK: Yeah. Yeah. Actually, I need that. I’ve heard that just from his iPod. (laughs) I need to get a copy. I love his playing. He played on a bunch of tracks on Neal’s album, too, which came out really great.
RR: So you were aware of not repeating yourself with excessive horn work?
EK: Yeah. It wasn’t something that I thought about a lot, but, at the very end, I was hearing horns on so many different songs that I was listening to, that I thought, “O.K.—I’m just going to pick this one and that one.” And then, I brought in Cochemea. Actually, when Zoidis—the only reason “Get Back” has horns on it was because he was literally driving by as he was going through to Maine, going home from another gig with Rustic Overtones or something. I said, “Just come by.” But I liked how it worked out for those couple tunes.
RR: “Enhorabuena” is a beautiful instrumental featuring a classic quartet setup: you’re on guitar, Nigel Hall is on organ and clavinet, Cato, bass, and Deitch, drums.
EK: That one you can tell is my tribute to Santana. My dad is a huge Santana fan. I grew up listening to that shit a lot. [Enhorabuena] means congratulations. It’s just one that I came up with at my house when I was just coming up with some melodies. Originally, it was more like hip-hop, a Latin hip-hop thing. As we started recording it, it took on more of a samba kind of feel. That one really came to life with the band. I do a lot of my music at home where I’ll record it into Pro Tools, and I’ll do everything myself and play all the instruments. This one, the band took it to a whole other place, which I really dug. I said, “This is the chords, this is the melody, let’s just see where this goes.” Nigel and Louis added a bunch of stuff that made the song come together in a whole new way. It’s one for the ladies. My girlfriend loves that song. For a while, I was like “is it a little too smooth for the other tracks?” She’d say “NO. It’s my favorite track.” So, yeah—a lot of people dig that one, which is funny because at times, I thought it was a little bit too cheesy. I actually like it. The only thing that I wanted to do with it is that now that I’ve played it a few times with Kofi Burbridge, and he’s played flute so beautifully on it, that I almost wanted to re-do it, and put him on it. But, we’ll have to do a live version now.
RR: I’m old school, album-oriented, so I like how that ends Side 1 of Reminisce, and then Side 2 kicks in with “Tilt.”
EK: Yeah, that is true. I think that’s why I put it there in the sequence: “O.K.—we need a break, and then a reset.” Yeah, right, like end, and then start again. I do want to put the album on vinyl, and I hope that I do that before it’s too late. It’s so expensive to make vinyl. You’ve got to hope that people buy it. I guess I could make a really short run for myself and all the hardcore people that would buy it. (laughs)
RR: Let’s talk about the story of the album itself. The last track is the title track, or, as labeled here, “Reminisce (End of the Movie).” Were you trying to tell a story through the music?
EK: Yeah. I didn’t really make it chronological as far as how it was created, but then, in the end, once I had all of the scenes (laughs) finished, I did try to fit it together so it had a story, an arc to it. I always knew that was going to be the last track. In fact, that song was probably the first song that I recorded for what would be this album. That one, I did play all the stuff, but, eventually, I did have Adam add a drum track. Originally, there was just percussion, which I played in my apartment when I did that song “End of the Movie.” I went back and thought, “O.K.—this needs real drums like the rest of the album.” (laughs) It’s funny that that’s the last track because that was the first track made.