David Perry and Matthew Taglang, the guitarist and vocalist behind Athensville, speak with Main Line Today about their new album.
After 18 months in COVID-induced exile, Athensville co-founders David Perry and Matthew Taglang are finally taking to regional stages with drummer James Farrell, bassist Mark Walsh and keyboardist Ed Moman to celebrate the release of their debut release, Undressing Minds for Show. The album was produced by Derek Chafin at his BarnSound studio in Newtown Square. Check them out at WaR3House 3 in Swarthmore on Oct. 23.
MLT: How did Athensville come to be?
David Perry: Matt and I were introduced by a mutual friend at a nonprofit event. We soon found out we had a lot in common, and that led to us getting together and playing some cover songs. We played about 12 or so shows—just the two of us as a duo. Then we went from there.
MLT: Why the name?
Matthew Taglang: Dave happened to see one of the historic markers on the way to my house, which says that Ardmore was called Athensville from 1853 to 1857. The only other name we ever considered was the Polar Vortex, but we realized that wasn’t for us. Also, Athens, Ga., is where the B-52’s, R.E.M., Pylon and a bunch of bands we like are from. It’s harkening back to some of the origins of the jangle pop and college rock we love.
MLT: How did the pandemic affect the recording of your debut?
DP: My sessions for the guitar began before the pandemic really took hold. Then the pandemic came, and we had a bit of a quiet time there. Eventually, with a combination of wearing masks and occasionally getting tested, we were able to go back in and carry on.
MT: Recording the vocals was really fun, actually. It was in May 2020, so it was the one time I was able to leave my house. I’d head to the studio, wave to our producer through the control room window, go upstairs and put the headphones on. We’d never be in the same room, and yet we were working intensely together.
MLT: What’s the story behind the album title?
MT: Undressing Minds for Show is a lyric from “The Mentalist.” It’s a song I wrote as a character sketch. Dave was over at my house one New Year’s Eve telling stories about this performance he saw by a mentalist. On New Year’s Day, at 8 in the morning, he got up, wrote a guitar riff and sent it to me, titling it “The Mentalist.” I did some research on mentalists, and I was fascinated. A lot of the lyrics from this album come from that perspective—getting into the minds of other people for entertainment.