Local Current Blog

‘Same dark message in a sunny package’: Reina del Cid talks about her new album ‘Rerun City’

Reina del Cid at The Current. (Jay Gabler/MPR)

One of the happiest surprises for local music fans this fall was the late-breaking announcement that singer-songwriter Reina del Cid is releasing her follow-up to The Cooling (2015). Rerun City is out today, and tonight there’s a celebratory gig at the Turf Club.

Yesterday, Reina del Cid stopped by The Current to tell me about the process of writing and recording Rerun City, which was inspired by a character named “Beverly.” For more from Reina del Cid, check out the session she recorded in our studio this summer.

Jay Gabler: Tell me about Beverly. 

Reina Del Cid: She is a character that popped in my head that happened after a long binge session on Netflix. I was just watching The X-Files. I watched all ten seasons of The X-Files, that’s 201 episodes. At the end of that I just had this image of this woman sitting alone with the TV. You know, with the blue light of the TV flickering on her face. She would not leave my head so I had to give her a name; it was Beverly. She sort of appears in various instantiations throughout the album. She was kind of the main thrust behind the Rerun City album.

Was the writing process quick once you had this inspiration? 

The record was sort of half-written already. I wouldn’t call it a concept album or anything. There are definitely songs that are outliers but they all kind of have a similar warm, vintage-y vibe. They all seem to fit together. Half the songs were already written. After that moment of realizing the album would be titled Rerun City, then I started writing other songs. I actually ended up writing a bunch of them kind of last-minute, almost in the studio. The song “Suffer,” we only had the skeleton for when we went into Pachyderm. We kind of fleshed it out there.

Tell me about the recording process. When did you go into Pachyderm?

It was in February of this year; it was a while ago. It was right in the middle of a snowstorm; the second we got out there a blizzard came through. It was really magical with those giant windows. You feel like you’re right in the middle of the woods. It’s like a winter wonderland. It was a great time to go in, but we’ve been adding stuff, overdubbing, and doing all that stuff since then.

Last time we recorded at the Pachyderm for The Cooling it was in the summer, so that’s a different vibe. One of our bandmates went trout fishing, I think, in the creek. That’s a really cool vibe too. My favorite is the winter; I’m Minnesotan that way.  This snow is comforting to me.

Did you record with the same band you’ve been working with?

We’ve actually have changed our lineup a little bit since the other record. We used to play with a great bass player, Chris Wiberg, who is an upright bassist primarily. We’ve transitioned over to Andrew Foreman, who’s primarily electric. That kind of adds a different timbre to songs. Chris actually bought a farm and moved like two hours out of the city. He’s happily farming now. Andrew has been great; it’s been really cool sort of acclimating with him.

We brought in Kevin Gastonguay on keys. Cameron Kinghorn from Nooky Jones did some background vocals. CJ Pitts, who is a really talented guy out of McNally Smith. Andres Crovetti on percussion. We really change it up a little bit for this one. But then the same core people. Toni Lindgren on guitar.

She’s very present on this album.

I’m glad to hear you say that, because Toni adds so much to the songs that I write. I can’t really imagine them without her.

If you were going to describe, to your fans who know you from The Cooling, what this new album sounds like, what would you say? 

I would say it shares the same dark message, maybe. With that same sort of almost sunny package that’s, like, my specialty. There are songs on the album about heroin addiction. There’s a song called “Queen Hazel” where the conceit is that it’s about this crazy queen who lives in the mountains who draws young men to her mountaintop but they never return. She’s actually a metaphor for drug addiction. Then there’s “Soul Mines,” which is about data mining. “Beverly,” which is just about this woman who sinks into this fictional world of watching episodes and reruns. It’s kind of a dark album, again, but with slightly different treatment. More Jazzmasters and less acoustic guitar, I would say.

If the recording happened last winter, how does it come to be that the album is coming out now — versus earlier or later?

We were going to take longer, and I just decided that we need to have this out in 2017. I just wanted to get it out there so we got our stuff together, booked the release show. We were really happy the Turf had a Friday in December on such late notice. That’s so rare for them. We just thought we’ve been overdubbing, we’ve been adding stuff, subtracting things. Eventually you just kind of have to say, this is done. You could do it forever, really. There’s nothing stopping you. We imposed our deadline and made it happen.

What do you have planned for the show?

Dusty Heart, those ladies are awesome. They’re opening the show. Al Church and his full band are following. I think they’re going to have horns and all kinds of fun stuff. We’re going to have everyone on the record, just about. We’re going to try out some new stuff. We’ll probably throw in our favorite Prince cover, we’ll see! We’re going to play the whole record and add a couple songs from The Cooling.

Interview transcribed by Erianna Jiles