The Narrative's Suzie Zeldin & Jesse Gabriel on their new "Golden Silence" album, Long Island, Nashville & more
Originally from Bellmore, The Narrative recorded its first EP in 2008. In the eight years since, The Narrative has done several cross-country and Canadian tours, having played alongside Relient K and Dashboard Confessional. The group's music has been featured on MTV, Nickelodeon and ESPN, in addition to live appearances on NBC and Fox stations.
On Dec. 2, The Narrative will release its new album, Golden Silence; first single "California Sun" was premiered in October via All Things Go Music. While the duo of Suzie Zeldin -- who was also part of Dashboard Confessional side-project Twin Forks -- and Jesse Gabriel is now based in Nashville, Suzie and Jesse caught up with No Place Like Long Island to talk about their Nassau County roots. For more info on all things Narrative, check out www.thenarrativemusic.com.
What led to the decision for your band to relocate to Nashville?
Suzie: When the band was based on Long Island, we had the luxury of using our parent's homes as practice studios and home bases for tours. We eventually both wound up living in parts of New York City and found it surprisingly difficult to continue to balance music with our lives in New York City between work, commuting, the cost of living, cost of rehearsal spaces, and so many other things.
Jesse: We separately made the decision to get out of New York, but both of us were seeking to bring music back into our lives in a meaningful capacity. Nashville had a lot going for it in terms of that. It's obviously a very music-centric city, and you can feel the concentration of music here. You meet people who play music around every corner, and that's really encouraging. It's also less painful to get around, which means we see each other more, and the cost of living is less so we can actually afford to spend some time playing.
If anything, what do you miss about living in New York?
Suzie: Being close to our families, for sure.
Jesse: That's the main thing. I love New York, but I'm glad to be out of there, I think it was eating me alive. I miss some restaurants and bars I used to like to go to. I miss my friends, but a lot of them have moved on to other places as well.
Where was the first gig you played on Long Island? Was it at The Downtown?
Suzie: No, we actually didn't start playing together until after The Downtown had shut its doors. I've been to lots of shows there and that would have been cool, but sadly we came a long a little too late for that. The first show we played on Long Island was at a college for some event. It's so hard to remember now!
Jesse: Maybe it was at Hofstra?
Suzie: No, I don't think so.
Jesse: Anyway, it was bad news bears. There was this huge stage. There was nobody there, we couldn't hear ourselves, and frankly we just weren't very good. Those were the days!
What was the first concert you attended on the Island as a fan?
Suzie: I'm pretty sure it was a No Doubt concert at Nassau Coliseum. I won tickets off of Z100 and my parents wouldn't let me go without a chaperone, so they ended up buying more tickets and bringing my sister who was around seven years old, which I remember thinking was SUPER unfair.
Jesse: That's so hard to remember, I'm honestly not sure. It was almost definitely something my parents went to for themselves and took me to.
"California Sun" is the first single from your new album. What was the creative process like for Golden Silence? Were songs written over a long period time?
Jesse: Actually at this point it's the fourth track we've released, the other three being "Chasing A Feeling," "Moving Out", and "Toe The Line." We've had these songs for a long time, but they weren't exactly written over a long period. With almost every song, one of us will write the foundational ideas and then take those to the other person to flesh out. These songs weren't different in that regard, but we wanted to do something different to pop in the finishing pieces and record. We rented an awesome barn upstate for a month and set up shop there and recorded most of the tracks in that time.
Suzie: That barn had tons of character, it was awesome. If we could have stayed there to wrap up we would have! Instead, we wound up recording the last parts in various places in New York and New Jersey over the course of the next year or so. We took our sweet time in post-production and mixing.
Do you have a favorite track on Golden Silence?
Jesse: That has changed so much over time since I've now been listening to them for so long. I think I've gone through ups and downs with most tracks, but have always felt really good about "Moving Out," so let's go with that.
Suzie: Probably "Toe The Line" because I think that the lyrics are relatable for me, and I love the way the keys, guitar, and bass came together. They all have their own unique melodies but work so well together and I love the harmonies and vocal arrangements.
What's coming up for The Narrative beyond the album release? Lots of touring?
Suzie: We'll be looking to play some more shows, but the main goal is to continue to release music on a quicker cycle than we have in the past. We've learned a lot about laboring over something to the point where it's counterproductive, and we'd rather make mistakes and take chances and be quicker about it all.
Jesse: It has just proven unhealthy for us as people and a band to hold onto things and not be continuing to make and record music, so we're excited to take a different approach to that. We'll definitely play around the local Nashville scene and will continue other opportunities as they come our way.
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Suzie: Eating cheese, baked goods, and ice cream. And then exercising just as much as necessary to allow for that lifestyle.
Jesse: I mostly like to watch my dog be happy and think "I wish I was my dog right now". I've been having a lot of fun just exploring Nashville and Netflix, my two N's.
Is there something you wish more people knew about Long Island?
Jesse: It's worth visiting. I've met so many people who live in New York and have never been to Long Island. There are so many beautiful places to visit, great beaches, vineyards and breweries, and I think most people just think of it as a big question mark somewhere outside of Queens. Bonus: My favorite Long Island brewery is Barrier.
Suzie: All American in Massapequa. You can get a cheeseburger for $1.60.
Do you have a favorite restaurant on Long Island?
Jesse: I don't think so. All of the restaurants I like that open there wind up closing down at some point. I did eat a great breakfast at Left Coast Kitchen not long ago, and I like pretty much all of the diners. Long Island is great for diners.
Suzie: Tai Show, also in Massapequa. I guess I like Massapequa cuisine.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Suzie: Are you going to kill me?
Jesse: Buy Golden Silence, the best new record by your favorite band, The Narrative.