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"Grocery store workers," Clark finishes, laughing.
"Yeah, or mowing someone's yard," Smith says. "We just went to San Francisco and said, 'Let's be artists and just do this and focus on it.'"
Freed from the myriad of distractions that Austin can provide, the band spent a month in the studio with Croslin--a notable choice, since many other bands in Sixteen Deluxe's position have opted to go for "name" producers like Ric Ocasek. Clark says the band wouldn't have had it any other way.
"It can be really stressful doing a recording at that level--trying to make a record the way we wanted to make it," she says. "It was really good that we were in there with a friend that knew how to guide the process as a producer, but was also a friend and was concerned about us as people, and us as a band. That was important for what we were doing at that time."
"He was really like a fifth member of the band or an extension of the band instead of being like the director or whatever," Copas adds. "He was in there, doing stuff, coming up with ideas."
Warner Brothers submitted a list of potential producers to the band, but the band stuck with its gut feeling. "We checked out all the names," Copas says. "But ultimately, it just came back to 'none of these guys know us, and we don't know them.'" Apart from submitting the list of producers, the label has stayed out of the band's way, letting them do what they want.
"It's more artist-friendly than your average major label," Smith says. "You know, they're letting us be ourselves, and that's the only thing we know how to do. None of us is really that comfortable with a record label leaning on us too hard, like (mimics gruff record-exec voice) You guys need to get a little more Jewel-esque."
In a perfect world, Emits Showers Of Sparks would garner Sixteen Deluxe the kind of commercial success that less deserving bands like Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind have enjoyed. Unfortunately, this is the kind of world that lets MTV and alternarock radio act as its eyes and ears. Whether this record shoots up the charts or languishes in a dusty cutout bin at the local Schlockbuster, the band--already in the process of readying demos for its next record--has a different idea of success.
"The kind of band that we are, where we come from, you get your fans by playing and playing and playing and playing. You don't get your fans by having a record out and having a record company shove the song down people's throats and getting radio play. That doesn't last!" Clark says defiantly. "Like Spiritualized. That was a huge, packed show. Do they have a song on the radio? No. Luna, did they have a song on the radio? No. But they were playing sold-out, thousand-seat places. That's a real fan base.
"That's nothing that anybody created except for the band, and that's the kind of thing that we're going for. And you know, if something cool happens and something's on the radio, or the record does really well, that's all the better."
"But that's not the be-all, end-all of being a band," Copas adds.
"The goal is to pack the house because people dig your rock show," Clark continues. "And to be on Beverly Hills 90210."
Sixteen Deluxe performs with the Tomorrowpeople at Rick's Place in Denton, Saturday, February 14.