Talkie (photo: Estefany Gonzalez)
The new Talkie album wasn’t recorded in a typical studio space. Fundamental Things saw the four members record in the most DIY way possible, wherever they could set up their homemade pop-up recording studio.
After touring together while the members were in other bands, Eric Martin, Chris Isaacs, and brothers Brad and Matt Hagmann formed a supergroup of Fremont-area talent who loved music too much to have given it up after their teen years. “You have the era of bands that are in junior high or high school where everybody meets and joins in their first band,” bassist Matt Hagmann says while we gather around a small room resembling a jail cell at a quirky coffee shop in Fremont. “Once the first band dies out, you poach the friends that were in the first band.”
They reminisce about the early projects over their coffee. Martin and Isaacs joke about reasons old groups disbanded. “He thinks that I kicked him out,” Isaacs teases before elaborating on how long he’s played with Martin. “Brad and Matt are brothers, they basically had a band for a really long time but Eric and I were several bands deep and I feel like we’re just the two guys left through all of those bands that are still doing it.”
“Much like in Thor, how Asgard is a people not a place, the recording studio is a people, not a place.”
The band continues to play music while maintaining busy schedules — not because they’re chasing a dream of making money from their songs but because they enjoy doing it. “We all found a way to make it work with our adult lives,” Martin, the drummer, says as the majority of the members admit they’ve gone into teaching. “We just love recording and playing shows together. We’re all going to be married in a few months, I have a daughter, we’re all working full-time yet we’re still recording our own albums, putting them our on our own label and doing everything on our own,” he continued.
For Talkie, playing music is a testament to how well the four friends work together and refuse to throw in the towel. “Everybody’s got their hobbies: Some people build trains in their garage, some people are into taxidermy, and we’re into bands,” Brad Hagmann joked.
Over the past two years, the members spent long hours recording Fundamental Things, setting up recording time in their own homes, an office building in Fremont, and even Martin’s grandparents’ cabin 30 miles south of Lake Tahoe.
“Much like in Thor, how Asgard is a people not a place, the recording studio is a people, not a place,” Martin says.
The band spent so much time writing songs, they recorded enough material for two albums. They labeled one batch of songs “The Cold Album” because of its dreamy, hazy sounds, and the other batch of upbeat, feel-good songs “The Warm Album.” Despite the release of the album landing during the highest temperatures of the year, the band chose to use the “cold songs” on it.
We talk about musicians who have released double albums. While we all mutually find long albums we enjoyed, Talkie enjoys taking a different direction with each new release. “Our last record was a super-indulgent double album,” Martin says. “The album cover is a very vibrant mountain in the desert in the south and we wanted to do the opposite of that.”
And while the new record is vastly different than the last, one thing remains — Talkie is all about vibes and themes. Fundamental Things is an album with underwater dreamy artwork, ambient keyboards, and reverb filled guitars.
From doing multiple takes of an underwater photo shoot to meet the ambiance of the songs (requiring each member to hold their breath for extended periods of time) to making sure the album sounded like a playlist, the band pays attention to the smallest of details. “Instead of someone just pulling one or two songs from our album and putting it on a playlist, they can put on an album that feels like a playlist,” Isaacs explained.
Check out the new album for yourself to hear the tracks that made the fundamental cold playlist.