Weekender is an American psychedelic/dream-pop band established in Philadelphia by singer and multi-instrumentalist Derek Sheehan in 2013, self-releasing their debut EP, Spanish Peaks, early that year, before it was picked up by the Brooklyn-based, independent label, PaperCup Music. The EP was well received by the indie blogosphere - featured by Interview, Diffuser, and making Reddit's “2013 Best Of…” list. The 2016 release of Floaty Feeling, Blue saw more accolades with features on Indie Shuffle, Consequence of Sound with the title track of landing on the coveted Spotify ‘New Music Friday’ playlist. The success of the records landed Weekender local opening, or touring support slots with bands such as Future Islands, The Growlers, Nothing, Surfer Blood, Besnard Lakes, Quilt, Israel Nash, Peace, and Field Report, while building their own strong following.
After supporting Floaty Feeling, Blue, Sheehan began writing new material, and sharing it with the band (Brendan McGeehan, Steven Rosplock and Daniel Mudd) to try a more collaborative songwriting approach. Sheehan and synth player, Daniel Mudd, quickly found musical chemistry and began writing and producing demos. They moved in together for eight months to work on new music as often as possible. Mudd’s background in electronic music and hip-hop production added a new flavor to Sheehan’s hazy psych pop sensibility. “We would get together to work on demos, and explore the songs in a super open way avoiding being precious,” says Sheehan, “everything was on the table. We would try different things like taking the demos and remixing them. The result was usually super cool. I think that is where you often find the best elements of a song, stepping out of your comfort zone, and pushing your personal creative boundaries.” Sheehan adds, “The tracks vary from pretty rock sounding to full on trap hats, kick subs, and hard autotuned vocals. Dan has a heavy sample library so there are all sorts of musical and non-musical samples throughout the record, but contrastingly, there is more acoustic guitar on these songs as well so we dug deep to try and make something unique sounding.”
The title track, Modern Daydream, was the first song Sheehan and Mudd wrote together for the EP. “We were in my basement, and I started playing the main synth arpeggio, and the synth bass line, and Dan started playing the verse chords. The structure of that song came together pretty easily,” Sheehan remarks, “…I wrote the chorus and vocal melody, and Dan wrote the verses. I don’t typically write lyrics with an intentional theme from the onset – I usually let the words flow out, and a line or phrase will start to mold the motif of the lyrics. ‘Modern Daydream’ is a reflection of feeling stagnant and looking for the next phase of life. It speaks to chasing something that we are programmed to chase, and the desire to break out of that cycle – make a ton of money, buy a lot of stuff, make your life look awesome on the internet. In some ways, I think we are all trying to wake up from the modern daydream.”
“Rising was an early song I wrote back in 2016 or 2017. For the longest time I only had the first verse lyrics looped through the song. I don’t think I finished the lyrics until April of this year. Some songs just take longer than others, and you move on and comeback to them when the time is right,” Sheehan muses “but this one is a love song about someone special.”
Sheehan and Mudd tracked much of the material featured on the band’s third EP, Modern Daydream, at Sheehan’s home studio with additional recording sessions at Retro City Studios in Philadelphia, and bass player Brendan McGeehan’s home studio. “Every member of the band played a role in making this record. Brendan our bass player, and Steve [Rosplock], our guitarist did a lot of the recording and engineering at Retro City,” Sheehan explains. “Not only is a collaborative record a new thing for Weekender, but also producing, recording, and mixing the record ourselves. It was a big undertaking, but we learned a lot. I really enjoy all the songs on this record. I think they all have something to offer in their own way, and definitely a taste of what is to come.”
Modern Daydream will arrive September 20 on PaperCup Music. Live Weekender will be joined by A Sunny Day In Glasgow drummer Adam Herdnon for September’s Philadelphia and New York shows, with additional fall dates in the works.