Americana Quartet The Cold Desert Discusses Woman & God
Though Peoria-bred roots-rock quartet The Cold Desert is fairly new to the game, its outlook on being a local band is realistic, knowing firsthand that the Phoenix music scene is hard to tap into and even harder to break out of. "We're trying to break out of the small local bubble," says frontman/guitarist Matt Klassen. "I guess we've kinda been overlooked."
But the challenge certainly hasn't stopped Klassen, and band members Cody Nelson, Jared Kaiser, and Jason Stromberg from trying. With their first professionally produced and expertly mastered debut album, titled Woman & God, on the brink of its Sunday, February 17, release, the dudes of The Cold Desert are both proud and excited while discussing their achievements of the new record.
"We wanted to do a full-length album, and we wanted to do it with pro gear and really take it from amateur mid-level band to professional lead band, so we needed money to do that," Klassen says, sitting alongside his bandmates on a picnic bench outside Lux Central. "Kickstarter ended up being a really good way to do it. We kinda got in on the front edge of the Kickstarter wave, because now I know around six or seven bands on [the site] asking the same people for the same kinda money. So, I'm glad we got in a little bit earlier than some of the other local bands."
The campaign went online last March and exceeded its goal in reaching $4,000 to help the band pay for studio time. More importantly, it gave Klassen the encouragement he yearned for ever since he started The Cold Desert as a solo project in 2008.
"It wasn't just earning the money to make the thing, but knowing there were 70 people that were really behind us and wanting to see us succeed because they believed in our music," Klassen says.
The band teamed up with local producer Corey Spotts and recorded the album over the summer. On what went into the recording process, their answer is quick: "A lot of sweat."
"Mainly, because the studio we recorded in didn't have air conditioning," says Cody Nelson, the band's guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, who is a nephew of Gin Blossoms guitarist Scott Johnson. "It was nicer outside than it was inside. But I mean, even without the air-conditioning, it was a really fun experience working with [Spotts]. The dude has an ear for music. Subtle things like, let's try this, or let's think about that. He did an awesome job at producing it with us."
Drummer and baby of the group (age 21) Jared Kaiser chimes in: "It was the little things [Spotts contributed] that made the album, in my opinion, and he can play a hell of a tambourine."