The Rationales ready to celebrate new album release

BMS talks with lead singer David Mirabella about the band and their new album

, Editor-in-Chief

Led by lead singer-songwriter/guitarist David Mirabella, The Rationales have become a local favorite in the Boston music scene. Having settled into a more complete lineup, Mirabella and co. are excited to celebrate the release of the local rockers’ new album, The Distance In Between, this Saturday at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. With that in mind, we thought we’d catch up with Mirabella to discuss the new album, the show and the state of The Rationales.

Boston Music Spotlight (BMS): For readers that have not yet heard The Rationales, what song of yours should people listen to first and why?

David Mirabella of The Rationales (DM): Personally, I would go with “Jaded” from the new record, The Distance In Between. It sums up a lot of what we do well: sort of rocking, sort of poppy, hopeful despite really being a bit of a downer lyrically. There’s dynamics and lots of backing vocals. It’s available free at www.therationales.com.

BMS: You funded this album through Kickstarter. Tell us about the process and how it meant to be working on something that was partially funded by your fanbase.

DM: It was an amazing process. Starting out you have no idea how people will respond and seeing all the support we received is really humbling. We tried to keep it light and fun with the silly videos and the thank you clips, and keeping some goofy prizes in the pot (people had the chance to bid on forcing us to play a cover song of their choice, all the way up to being able to bid on us writing a whole rock opera about them), but even with all the goofing and creative prizes we never lost sight of the amazing fact that people were helping us do something we wanted to do creatively by pledging their support and being involved. Its something we will always appreciate.

BMS: Walk us through your songwriting process.

DM: For me, it’s most often the case that I’ll pick up a guitar and just start noodling around, trying to express the mood I’m in. If I hit upon something that interests me, I’ll start inventing a melody over it, almost never with any lyrics – just stream of conscious jibberish, sort of try to lose myself in it for a few minutes and see if it grabs me. If it does, I’ll record a quick draft so I don’t forget it and then come back to it in a day or two and see if its still interesting. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, it stays in my head and forces me to finish it in one swoop.

BMS: How has the band’s sound and songwriting evolved since your debut EP, The Going and the Gone?

DM: Initially I assembled a band off Craigslist to help me record the songs I had been working on at that time, and that became the going and the gone. Over time, we had a lot of lineup changes (due to people moving or starting families or that sort of thing) and what happened is as each person who is currently in the band settled into their roles. The band became more collaborative in a natural way, whereas before we may have tried to have everyone sing or write, this just became a bunch of people who are invested in what we do. They put their stamp on it in that way, so even though I’ll still bring in songs in near complete form a lot of the time, the band will instantly look at changing the arrangement or approaching it a different way. Now with the newest batch of songs, there’s also a lot of collaborative writing going on, where we’ll just all come up with this part of that and form a song out of it as we go. We’re all looking forward to more of that going forward.

BMS: You worked with locally acclaimed producer Ed Valauskas at Q Division Studios on this album. What did he bring to the project?

DM: Ed is great, just his ear and direction for where a song should go. He helped this time a lot with the arrangements. Mike Mirabella (our drummer) and Ed probably cut a half hour of filler out of the record between them, really helping to focus the sound and keep the songs moving. Ed also has a great sense of when a song needs more or when it needs less going on in it instrumentally to make the song be what it should be. And both Joe Tooley and Ed did an amazing job mixing the record.

BMS: Are there any tracks on The Distance In Between that you are particularity proud of?

DM: I’d be lying if I didn’t say all of them, but the short answer is probably “Tongue Tied”, which was the first song the band worked on for this record and was sort of one of the rocks the record was built around. I think it just came out sounding beautiful. Joe and Ed did an amazing job layering the sounds and mixing it in such a way that you almost don’t notice that its just 4 chords and no changes. “Real Life”, “Burned” and “Jaded” are a similar feeling. Alternately “Slower/Faster” blows me away with how it came out sounding. It’s one of those songs that I was never sure would work, it can fall flat really easily when played but they caught a take that really moves along and came out sounding crisp. And of course “Another Moon” makes me smile every time because I get to hear myself singing along with Bill.

BMS: Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom makes a guest spot on the new album – how did you make that happen?

DM: I’ve been a fan of Buffalo Tom forever and knew Bill just from seeing him around town so much, and both working at Q at the same time. He’s obviously really good friends with Ed and he just happened to be at the studio that night for some reason. We were recording in the other room and when he was done Ed suggested having him do that part, He came in and nailed it. It was amazing to watch.

BMS: The big CD Release party is Saturday at Lizard Lounge – What can we expect? Any surprises in store?

DM: We have some guests joining us – helping to round out the sound of a few songs and we’re starting the night out with a short acoustic set to break the ice. Plus we’re playing a couple of covers that Kickstarter friends bid on, but really the real draw of the night is the lineup. We’re so psyched to play with The Future Everybody and Oldjack,  and with the vibe that the Lizard is known for, it should be a really special night.

BMS: Anything else our readers should know?

DM: Just how happy we are with the way things are going. Having Pete on board after a year as a 4 piece has really energized the band and people’s reactions to the record have been really positive thus far. We’re looking forward to a great show Saturday with some good friends there to share it with us, and looking forward to all that’s to come!

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