In the 4 years since his last full length album, Alan Palomo struggled with the idea of shedding his low fi and spontaneous writing style he had developed when writing as Neon Indian, or returning to cleaner production values and the dance oriented approach of his earlier recording moniker, VEGA. It was during the reflective time of this developing process that he found a busy intersection at which both Vega and Neon Indian could meet and ultimately merge into one fast lane.
In late 2013 Alan began working on more guitar and funk-centric songs, and recruited his older brother, Jorge, to help him realize his vision. During their writing sessions, Jorge took a job playing bass in a house band of a cruise ship, which meant he was traveling 8 months a year. Alan decided to purchase a ticket for the cruise in order to finalize his brother’s contributions and they set up a small studio in a cabin aboard the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship. Alan, Jorge, and their engineer, Josh, worked diligently tracking songs between margaritas as the ship traversed the Bahamas from Florida in a cabin on the ship for just one magic week.
Once back on solid ground, Alan now had the blue print to develop the rest of the album. In the next phase of the writing journey the rhythms got faster, the Balearic influences more apparent, and the approach to songwriting more elaborate. Now free from working in one small space on a cruise ship, he recorded at various locations in New York, including DFA’s Plantain Studios, Midnight Studios in Greenpoint, Rad studios in Bushwick, as well as his own home. He soon realized this freedom also had its downside and New York is a great place to be your own boss but not always your own employee. The distractions that fueled the rakish, altered misadventures peppered throughout in the lyrics of these new songs would prove too apparent and Alan relocated to Austin for the early winter and set up shop at Pure X’s practice space in Austin to regain focus and here is where he would finish most of the fleshing out of the album.
He headed back to NYC towards the end of the never ending east coast winter, but immediately pinged back out of the city to record some songs at Ben Allen’s studio in Atlanta. As he loaded the equipment for the drive south, he slipped on icy stairs and cracked his face, leaving 9 new stitches clefting through his right eyebrow that left a fresh sloping scar that seemed to create a sideways exclamation mark. He now had his battle scar from this album and he would win at all costs. Atlanta gave him some solid driving sonic points and he returned to Brooklyn to finish locally. He teamed up with Alex Epton (XXXchange) to mix the album at Alex’s studio, they simultaneously watched trashy B movies and new york flicks while working to see if the visuals were thematically aligning with the music…Did this song fit over Abel Ferrera’s Ms. 45? Was this interlude remnant of the punk show in After Hours? More than ever, the goal of this album was intended to be a film score to an imaginary film playing indefinitely at the neglected theaters or porno booths of Alan’s head. “I work 9 to 5 but 9pm to 5am.” he joked when asked about his ideal hours. Nearly two months after starting with Alex He would finish his record in June, after an on and off 3 years of writing, ranging from casual to marathon.
Upon it’s completion, Alan noted “most of what I’ve learned about human nature in my twenties has happened after dark. People are just kind of more honest then. More deliberate. I like to call the places I go to Night Schools.” To celebrate the marriage of his previous project’s aesthetic into one and his eureka regarding its themes, he dubbed this double album, VEGA INTL. Night School
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