The Airborne Toxic Event singer-guitarist Mikel Jollett tells Billboard.com while there's plenty of life left in the Los Angeles-based group's 2008 self-titled debut, which recently crossed the 100,000 albums sold threshold, he's already begun looking ahead to the band's sophomore effort.
"We have a bunch of stuff done but nothing recorded," Jollett says. "We've been writing on the road where we use our soundchecks as rehearsals these days to work on new material. So yeah, we've got a whole record, but our overarching theme has been that we've been on the road. We haven't been able to be in one place for long enough to record a record. So as soon as we can, we're itching to get back into the studio and play new songs. I can't wait to start doing new material."
Among the new tracks that have been receiving stage time are the Motown rhythm-meets-jangly guitar-driven "Echo Park" and the string-heavy "All I Ever Wanted." From a songwriting perspective, Jollett says he's been thematically infatuated with the notion of love being a defiant force. Stylistically speaking, he's already forming opinions about the next Island Records project.
"I think that what we decided was no dogma on the second record," Jollett says. "We didn't want there to be a concept record or that we'll try to recreate the first record. We just decided we're going to get all of these songs together, choose the best ones and put them on a record. I think the only real decision was to not have anything to force it to be one way or another.
"We do play a lot of stuff live, so I think just like the first record we'll probably record it live and try and capture what we've done live. The goal is to have played every song on the (new) record a bunch of times by the time we record it so we have a real feel for it."
Considering the Los Angeles act has 200 live shows under its belt so far in 2009, with another 90 dates (Europe, the States, South Pacific) booked before the end of the year, The Airborne Toxic Event will have plenty of time to road test its new material before tentatively hitting the studio in early 2010.
"So far, everything that we've done we're surprised that we've come this far," Jollett says. "Like the New York Show (Oct. 15) at Webster Hall sold out already. It's not for two months. Things like that, we really don't understand what's going on. It's definitely a good thing but confusing. It's not anything we thought was going to happen."