BAND OF HORSES
RETURNING TO TOUR NEW ALBUM WE TALK TO FRONTMAN BEN BRIDWELL ABOUT YODA, RICK RUBIN, FATHERHOOD AND FEMINISM. NOT IN THAT ORDER.
GQ: It’s been said you’ve been pretty quiet lately, given the four years since the last album. Still, don’t you now have enough kids between you to launch a reality TV show? Ben Bridwell:
Yeah, my wife and I have a nice round total of four [daughters]. Creighton [Barrett], our drummer, had two babies, and our guitar player [Tyler Ramsey] had his first. We also did an acoustic record [ Acoustic at the Ryman] and then I did a side project [ Sing Into My Mouth] with Sam Beam from Iron & Wine, and the new record. Yeah, ‘quiet’ isn’t a word I’d use.
GQ: You’ve previously sought creative solitude when writing, whereas with this album you stayed home. What prompted that decision? BB:
It’s been well noted that, yes, I used to go squirrel away in cabins and basically run from my responsibilities to hone my creativity. But this time, it was for lack of wanting to bring up the topic. Honestly, we were travelling around quite a bit [over the last few years] so I wasn’t about to be like, ‘Hey, what’s up, wife? Is it cool if I dip out to some damn house and just rage inside my mind for a while?’ I just didn’t think that was going to be well received [laughs]. So I stayed home and wrote when I could.
GQ: How did a household filled with women influence the music that was created? BB:
So much. There was a sense of urgency involved, because time is fleeting… and our household is crazy. And now there are four of them, I’m one of them, you know; I’m an honorary female [laughs]. And that really affected the material – I’m trying to be more present, trying to not be afraid of tough feelings and the rollercoaster of this emotional life we’re all living.
GQ: Uber-producer and man of great beard, Rick Rubin, is also involved – what’d he bring to the album? BB:
It’s a pretty daunting prospect to play your garbage demos to someone with Rick’s ear but, luckily, he has such a great feel for sentiment. The way he talks about music is in shapes and colours and patterns, so it’s really hard for me to put it into words what he did, but it was crucial for getting this thing done right.
GQ: He sounds like a fairy godfather. BB:
He is, yeah, he’s like Yoda and a brand-new baby. It’s hard to tell exactly what he is, but whatever it is, he’s fantastic – and very inspiring. Band of Horses play Splendour in the Grass July 22; Melbourne July 24; Sydney July 25. Why Are You OK is out now; bandofhorses.com