Promised Land Sound’s sophomore LP, For Use and Delight, has been getting nothing but glowing reviews since it’s release on October 2nd of this year. Rightly so; the band delivers rich vocal and instrumental textures on an album which might conjure up images of a dreamy sunny afternoon spent lying in the grass or of a drive down a two-lane country highway at dusk.
The band is currently touring with Natalie Prass and will play San Francisco’s Independent tonight, October 27th.
Wendy Oakes: Promised Land Sound has already done a couple of major tours: one with Angel Olsen and one with Alabama Shakes. Have you played San Francisco before?
Joe Scala: We’ve actually never played San Francisco before. We’ve never done a West Coast tour before; this is our first one.
WO: What do you think so far? Beautiful, isn’t it?
JS: It is. It’s gorgeous. I’ve been out here before but it’s our first time playing music out here.
WO: Of course you’re touring on your new album, For Use and Delight. Congratulations on your new release!
JS: Thank you so much.
WO: Prior to even releasing your debut album in 2013, you had released a seven inch recorded at Third Man Records, Jack White’s outfit. How did that come about?
JS: Me and Sean [Thompson] used to play in a band called PUJOL, and they had recorded a live full-length up there. We became friends with Ben Swank over at Third Man and when he heard that we had a new project together he was very excited and he offered to have us play there and record it. We jumped at that opportunity.
WO: Third Man is in Nashville, where you all live now. There seems to be a great music community there, one that’s growing all the time too.
JS: Oh definitely; it’s very diverse. There [are] a lot of people who really care about crafting their songwriting.
WO: It seems to be state-of-the-art in terms of the world of recording too.
JS: Yeah. There [are] a lot of analog studios there and even more digital studios, but it’s really nice to see that the analog is making a comeback.
WO: Absolutely. You had a lot of great people working with you on For Use and Delight, musicians as well as those on the production side of things.
JS: Our friend Jem Cohen helped us do a lot of the pre-production work in Nashville before we left to go to the studio, so that was really helpful. Mitch Jones [of] Fly Golden Eagle [and] Thunderbitch and Jem Cohen both helped produce the record with us. We recorded it at Blackdirt Studios in upstate New York. Steve Gunn came up, did a song. Mitch Jones also played on the record.
WO: You had mentioned playing in PUJOL with Sean before, and obviously you and Evan [Scala] are brothers; when did you start playing together?
JS: I was playing in Denney and The Jets. We needed a drummer and I remembered that Evan had taken drum lessons 10 years prior to that. I invited him over to practice to see how it would go and it worked out really well. After I quit Denney and The Jets me and Sean started this band with Evan and maybe two years later Peter joined.
WO: Had you known Peter [Stringer-Hye] for a while prior also?
JS: We did. Peter’s other band, [The] Paperhead, they were another local band in town, and we played a bunch of shows with them.
WO: This album is getting such great attention now; there’s a really nice mix of genres and moods in there. Comparisons to bands like The Byrds are being made, but of course it has a very new sound too. Who were your influences and what were you going for on this record in terms of what you wanted to put out there as a sound?
JS: We do have a lot of influences but most of them are from the past, the ’60s and ’70s mostly: The Pretty Things, the Grateful Dead, Can, or Gene Clark, but also we really wanted to have a sound that didn’t just sound like a throwback sound; it could be related to on a contemporary scale.