Modern Inventors: Praised By Sir Paul.
Text and image by Brendan Menapace.
Folk rock duo Modern Inventors have been building a pretty impressive resume. They’ve gotten steady radio play from WXPN, played numerous shows and have even had their cover of a Paul McCartney song heard – and praised – by McCartney himself. This is a lot to be proud of in itself but what makes it more impressive is that they’ve done all this before the release of their debut album.
They started in 2007 when members Matt Kass and Josh Benus met in Connecticut while Kass was playing with Philadelphia band The Brakes. Modern Inventors essentially began when Benus approached Kass to produce his solo album.
“The original sessions for this record were meant to go on Josh’s solo record,” says Kass. “As we started developing more of a camaraderie in the studio, we were like, ‘Yo, lets make this into a band.’”
Benus relocated to Philadelphia and the guys hit the studio to record more songs early in 2012. They ultimately created their debut album, Trains and Aeroplanes, which is set release this month.
With Kass’ production know-how and Benus’ songwriting, the two are a self-contained unit. You could describe their process for making this album with a certain I-word that gets thrown around a lot these days.
“Josh does some production, and I do some songwriting,” Kass says. “But it’s kind of a symbiotic thing. We kind of have our roles and it’s pretty sweet.”
Back to the Paul McCartney thing. The guys were invited to open for McCartney’s son James by WXPN’s Helen Leicht, whom Kass has known since his days in The Brakes. They performed a version of Paul McCartney’s “Every Night.” Leicht later asked them to go into the studio and record it.
“The amazing thing really about this cover is that we completed it within two days,” Benus says. “It was an incredibly busy week for me and our time schedules, we didn’t even know if they were going to match up.”
It was a short time spent in the studio but it wasn’t a half-assed effort in the least.
“We made something really special,” Benus says. “I think Paul really noticed that.”
They heard through Leicht that McCartney was impressed. The accolades don’t get much bigger than that.
“It was cool, you know,” Kass says. “We took our time so much with this record and then having…”
Benus interrupts, “Having someone validate our work on something that we did in two days versus something that we did in like, three years.”
“It makes you kind of rethink it,” Kass says, jumping back in. “It’s like, ‘Alright, our next record is going to take five days.’”