Interview with Chris Cresswell, Brian Wahlstrom, and Joey Cape | Words & Photos By Joshua Maranhas
Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape’s brilliant idea to invite musicians into his home to eat, sleep, and make a record in one week is now getting a wider release.
“One Week Records started as an idea to give exposure to musicians and songwriters I had met from around the world,” Cape says. “It was a great excuse to collaborate and work with people making music I love who otherwise had no way to connect. I’m happy to say this music is now available to everyone wherever they listen to music.”
On Sept. 3, One Week Records’ catalog became available on Apple Music, Spotify, and wherever you prefer to stream songs.
The project started with Cape, as well as Chris Cresswell from The Flatliners and Brian Wahlstrom of Bandaid Brigade and Scorpios. It was an idea born during Scorpios’ Tony Sly tribute shows and now includes artists like Zach Quinn of PEARS, Chad Price of ALL, and many more.
Cape first approached Cresswell in Toronto. “We went out after the show, and Joey was like, ‘Oh, we’re [not] saying goodbye to each other,’” Cresswell explains. “He says, ‘I want to start this record label, and I want you to do a record. I want you to come to my house for a week. I want you to record it in my basement. I want to do this with you.’”
Cresswell’s first impressions would soon be met with the reality that making a record in one week is hard work. “I think I was pretty well-prepared, but I didn’t know how to make a record like this, ’cause I never had before,” he says. “I was going into it thinking, ‘I’m going to San Francisco. I can hang out with, like, the whole Fat Wreck Chords crew as well. This friend’s band is playing this night. I’m just gonna record during the day and then go out and whatever.’ Then, Joey was basically shutting that all down—he had to, because we only had a week. He said, ‘This is gonna take some time.’ We did long days, and we put in a lot of work, but it was so cool. It was so fun to do it with him. I mean, he’s like—he’s one of the people who showed me you could write smart lyrics and be in a punk band.”
They finished the first One Week record in six days, and according to Cresswell, it went by in a blur. One Week’s recordings are special, not just music but a snapshot of the place and time spent working with Cape.
It’s a lasting impression as meaningful as the songs and albums, Cresswell says. “Not only was he at the helm of making this record, he was the expert on how to make this record,” he says of Cape. “I was not. Also, [we’re] in his home where his life is happening all around us too, right? So, it was really interesting to see that dynamic and have it kind of unfold. I think it probably becomes a part of all those records, you know? When I play the songs from that record at a show, I think of that time in his house and the studio.”
Wahlstrom has worked on many One Week Records, has his own One Week record, and helps run the label. “What makes me almost as excited, if not more, than the music itself is just how fucking cool everyone is,” Wahlstrom says. “Everyone on the label we noticed through touring together, you know? If it weren’t for the tours… We get to know each other pretty well. Everyone’s just kind of positive and stoked. We all so much appreciate what Joey’s done for us. [He has] helped us kind of bring our craft to another level.”
Both Wahlstrom and Cresswell see making records as difficult and trade stories of their efforts, but the beauty of One Week is the music seems effortless, full of subtle nuance and true artistry. What’s truly different and unique about the label is Cape’s experience and guidance.
“I went in very ignorantly thinking, ‘It’s an acoustic record. I don’t have to scream like I would do on a Flatliners record,’” Cresswell continues. “‘We’re not doing drums and bass and guitars and all this stuff,’ but I was so naïve. I had no idea. It’s hard. It’s fucking hard, dude. I mean, like, there’s so much space in those small, quiet, exposed, stripped-down moments that you can be wringing out a chord and your fingers are sitting weird and you just—you got a buzz, and it’s a shitty take, and you’ve got to do it again. If you’re in a studio where you have a few weeks to do it, cool, but if you have seven days to do it…”
Despite the expert-level difficulty, Cresswell perfectly sums up why One Week records are special. “You’re going to feel like you’ve been given a golden ticket,” he says. “[Cape] comes from the first wave of Fat Wreck Chords bands, which is completely legendary. He has the key to that city of punk, and he’s gonna do this thing on his own. So, you feel like you’re a part of something special, and you are. He also handpicks what he wants to do, so that’s a really big vote of confidence for anyone who gets to do it.”
Bringing One Week Records to streaming is just the next chapter in artist-friendly distribution of the music. The subscription and membership site will still exist, and there will be exclusive content there as well as the members’ benefit of receiving the albums three months prior to public streams.
However, for people who prefer to stream, this is a convenient addition to an already very special project—and you can now binge all 17 albums!