Molly & Eben talk about "I'm the Only One Who Will Tell You, You're Bad"
Updated: Aug 8, 2018
Album/Song notes by Molly Venter: "I'm the Only One Who Will Tell You, You're Bad" is an exploration of post honeymoon, post-kid relationship in all it's heart-opening and door-slamming glory! Fiercely independent even after marriage, Eben and I lost any autonomy over our time and decisions after the birth of our son, Otis. We had to learn cooperation in earnest in order to grow this little guy and experience mind-bending love together, and we had to maintain our distinct individual journeys if we didn't want to violently implode our marriage. The album is a reflection of that tension. It's raw and right there in the lyrics as well as the production; I did a lot of my vocal takes alone, for example, pressing the buttons myself in the sound-proofed closet of our home studio. After several takes Eben would listen back and coach me on my singing. I wanted to sing "just for myself", AND I wanted him to make me better. Again and again we tried to stand solidly within ourselves while letting the other influence our artistic choices. It wasn't always pretty, but we got up in each other's business and we let ourselves be moved! We made a killer record and our son is still... wait, Otis...? The songs themselves also pay homage to the familial and friend relationships that give us context and support in our lives. Likewise, we couldn't have made this beast of an album without the help of our co-producer and longtime friend, Adam Chilenski.
Album/Song notes by Eben Pariser:
The album chronicles a revolutionary time in our lives, and the country and world at large. It’s not all biographical- in some cases, like the story of Molly and I falling in love as told on “January Skies” the themes are real but all the details are made-up. In other cases such as “What We Asked For,” the writing explores an alternate version of our life. It’s more fun to explore these little moments and snapshots of our life together, as discrete, tiny 3.5 minute universes where the “truth” is best described by a mix of fiction and fact. The title track “Settle Down” has changed its meaning over the course of the making of the record. At first I was thinking about it literally: how do we avoid settling down into some dull and monotonous version of ourselves, as we have become married and now parents? Now I see it ironically: being full time touring musicians, while trying to maintain a home, raise a child, and have a robust and exciting marriage, is the least settled-down feeling I know! It strikes me as funny now, imagining that single people are the exciting ones- of course some are but in general I think we’ve got this term “settled down” all wrong. This chapter of my life is the greatest adventure so far, both outward and inward. The record chronicles the time from us meeting, through our son Otis’ conception and birth, through the 2016 election. It is an album that explores our relationship, which is a flashpoint for relationships to friends, family members, the country and world at large, and possibly the most important relationship: the one we have with ourselves. This is what makes the romantic partner dynamic so complex and challenging- you must learn, absorb, and respect all the relationships that your partner has. It’s worlds colliding. The album includes these external relationships as an extension of our own. “Looking at Forever” is a song about friends and the importance and strength of those early-20s friendships. “All Men Are Brothers,” tells of an extremely dark time between my brother and I which was traumatic for the whole family, and which I used as a metaphor for the human race. “True North,” is a devastating list of unanswered questions for Molly’s father who passed when we first met. “Lost and Found” is a love song to Otis. “We Need You,” Is a response to the 2016 election. “Scientist,” is insight into Molly’s internal struggles. “In The End,” is a meditation on my relationship to my physical self, and my eventual death.