How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
Lyrics typically are the last thing that come together in our writing process. When we get song starts together I have a general direction and overall mood in mind. The actual lyrics take me the longest as I normally go back and forth on words and phrases that best describe the message we are trying to convey. Sometimes it’s more effective for me to have the recorded parts from everyone before I fully work out the words. We’ve had many songs where I’ve written fun lyrics and then before we finish I’ll go back and start over.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing in songwriting?
Songwriting is about message, feeling and connecting with the listener. I think a lot of dots have to be connected for a song to feel impactful. The delivery of the lyrics, the mood of the production, the roles of instruments and the use of textures all have to work together.
Are you ever scared of revealing aspects of your personal life/experience to strangers through your music?
I have no boundaries with topics and subject matter when it comes to writing songs. I typically lean into a more optimistic mindset with BRR songs because I believe myself to be an optimistic person. As a listener, I think we all want to feel a certain genuiness and authenticity from songs and artists.
What is the best lyric that you ever wrote (the most meaningful for you)?
Hmmm…that’s a tough one! I always feel like my best lyrics are yet to come. Some of my favorite lines to sing during our show is from one of our tunes called “Before I Get There”-
I do believe that the measure of a man
is the length he will go from the place he began
I remind myself as I walk across the land
that the less I overstep means the more I understand
What inspired “With Me All Along”, part of your latest EP “Check Two”?
That song just comes from the profound appreciation I have for those folks who have stuck with us through the years as we’ve grown and learned how to be a band. We’ve been so fortunate to have met and become friends with really wonderful people along the way. It’s important to stop and remind ourselves- regardless of what paths we are on- to recognize the support and encouragement that surrounds us every day.
Do you remember the day you wrote “Come With Us”?
I do remember starting that song because it was the first song I started for this album. I worked on the demo for like 3 days and then sat on it for 3 months. We tracked the song in the studio with a completely different mood/production direction and then went back and basically started from scratch. After changing the key, the parts and the lyrics we arrived at something we were collectively excited about.
Is there a link/a common theme among the songs of the new album?
I’m not sure if I could pin point an overarching theme between all the new songs on this album. It was written and recorded over the span of 12 months. Maybe its a representation of life for us in 2018? We always aim to make a cohesive album that sounds like one body of work- yet also offers varying moods and lyrical themes. It’s hard to get that balance!
What is the best suggestion your producer gave you?
We’ve been working with the same producer for every album we’ve recorded- Chad Copelin. He’s a great friend and a talented collaborator. When we got to the studio to record our first release years ago (Old Time Speaker) he asked, “Why does every song have 3 verses” Over the years I’ve internalized that as make your message precise and clear- don’t let too many words or too many sections muddy up what you are trying to present.
What are your plans for 2019?
We are currently on a tour that will span about 40 shows throughout the US. That will wrap up in April and we plan to start scheming for a way to get back to Europe for more shows. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we found our way back into recording mode by the end of the year.
To conclude the interview a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes to your mind:
- Define in one word your album “Check Two”: Progress.
- The best show you ever played: Firefly Music Festival.
- The one thing that you must have in your backstage: Space.
- The soundtrack of your childhood: Ry Cooder- “Paradise and Lunch.”
- Your favorite song lyrically speaking, but not written by you: Arcade Fire “The Suburbs.”
- Last question is “unusual”, we want to know your best relationship advice: Communicate!