Band of Horses' fourth album, 'Mirage Rock,' will be released five days before the band thakes the DeLuna Fest stage. / Special to GoPensacola.com
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Band of Horses seems to be around for the long haul. The band has been through numerous lineup changes, but its profile seems to grow with each release.
The band is set to release its fourth album, ďMirage Rock,Ē in September. They will be playing DeLuna Fest on Saturday.
Creighton Barrett, the bandís drummer, has been a member since the bandís second album. Barrett, 34, took a call at a tour stop in Detroit. He discussed the current tour, learning about drummer and working with a legendary record producer.
Q: Tell me about recording the new album.
A: Itís probably the least produced as far as equipment and technology are concerned. We worked with Glyn Johns, who if you donít know has produced some of the most classic records of all time. He worked on (The Rolling Stonesí) ďLet It Bleed,Ē (The Whoís) ďWhoís Next,Ē (The Clashís) ďCombat Rock.Ē I mean the list goes on.
That dude works one way and one way only, and thatís no digital anything. So we went in there with the same instruments that we use at our live shows, set up the exact same way we would on a stage to play live and we just played the songs with our instruments. We hardly even used any guitar pedals.
Q: It sounds polished. To me, itís like the difference between Bruce Springsteenís ďBorn to RunĒ and ďDarkness on the Edge of Town.Ē On one album, the instruments coalesce, and on the other, you can hear all the individual instruments.
A: Thatís a pretty great analogy. I donít know what to say about the polish. We really went into this record with the idea of making a blemishes, show-all kind of rough rock thing. Not that itís necessarily rocking in terms of upbeat tempos, but we werenít trying to go for a polished sound at all. But thatís OK.
Q: Are you guys perfectionists in the studio? What made it different?
A: When you work with different producers, everyone has their methods of working. Even just the idea of the role of a producer ó and a lot of people donít actually know what a producer does ó but acting as the whatever number member of the band. In our case, it would be the sixth member.
With Glyn, his approach was very different than, say, Phil Ek, who we worked with before. Glynís approach was definitely that some stuff could fly; some stuff could be rough around the edges.
Weíd get these great stories about pretty much all of our heroes and all these records that changed our lives. And most of the stuff we would ask, about a tone or how he micíd, nine out of 10 times, he would say it was a mistake. So we would listen to all these classic records and these little nitpicky parts, our favorite things, were actually mistakes.
Q: Did he have any input in the songwriting process?
A: He did. We went into this thing with about, probably, anywhere from 50-60 songs. And not just ideas, a lot of them were done. Well, we thought they were done, and then Glyn would go through this stuff and would pretty much chew them up and spit them out.
He really did help us, and a lot of times with really simple stuff. Like (he would say) ďthere are only two chordsĒ and ďyou have to put a bridge in here.Ē He was definitely very important in that role.
Q: Did you play any instruments when you were younger?
A: I did. Up until about ninth grade, I was in (the school) band. I played drums, and eventually my parents bought me my own kit. Iíve always played drums.
Q: Why drums?
A: I totally share the story like most kids who are drummers: I pulled out pots and pans when I was little and banged on stuff. I was really attracted to them.
Iím obsessed with them. I like thinking about being a songwriter and picking up stuff like that, but at the same time, I love drums so much that I donít really concern myself with it most of the time.
Q: What about a live show? Is it different than playing in a band in a garage? Do you have to ratchet up your energy?
A: Truth be told, it doesnít matter if we were playing in a garage or playing in an arena or whatever. It might sound clichť, but to me, Iíve beaten the system. I get to play drums for a living and my life is really awesome because of it.
So If I happen to be in a bad mood, which doesnít happen very often ó going back to me being happy with what Iím doing ó I have to tell myself, or at least remember that I have this opportunity. Iíve been given this chance.
So you always try to bring it. There isnít a day that goes by where I wouldnít give my all to any stage or any crowd like that. For one, itís fun, and two, what would you ever be upset with? We play in a band with our best friends for a living, so any (complaining) is really null and void for me.
Q: What would you be doing if you werenít a drummer?
A: I would most likely own a restaurant or bar, just because Iíve always been a food and beverage (enthusiast), just like many of my brothers in the music biz. Iíd also love to own a motorcycle shop or garage too.
Q: Do you own one?
A: Yeah, I own five.
A: Yeah (laughs)
Q: What kind of venues are you playing this time?
A: Itís actually cool; itís mostly all outdoor sheds.
I think they are just so much more fun, to be outside and people are having a good time being in nature. Iíve always had more fun with that.
With a lot of those big arenas, which are really cool to play with Pearl Jam and all that, youíre stuck inside this colossal building all day long. Your bus goes underneath it and you have to actually work get outside and actually get any air. Itís nice to be at these sheds and you can skate around.
Q: Have you been to Pensacola before?
A: Yeah, I have, one of my good friends is from there. Iíve definitely spent some time there surfing and skating.
Q: Have you ever played a gig on a beach?
A: I donít think anyone does the MTV beach parties anymore, so no one gets to play the beaches anymore (laughs). But I grew up in Orlando, so I did a lot of my Florida time early on. I love Pensacola. The water is so much cooler than Cocoa Beach.
Q: What are you listening to these days? Do you listen to music while you are on the road?
A: I listen to it constantly. I love this question because itís so overwhelming. I could lie to you so easily and say ĎI only listen to the 1954 trumpet solos.í (laughs)
Iím really into the Velvet Underground lately. I kind of always have been, but I keep finding weird recordings and weird stuff that people send me.
Iím really into John Cale. His solo stuff is blowing my mind right now. Itís just weird, crazy arrangements and just awesome pop songs that are on there. I also listen to a lot of DíAngelo lately. Iím really excited for his new record. And a good bit of A.A. Bondy. The last one is really cool. And (expletive) Up, I really like that last record, ďDavid Comes to Life.Ē
Q: There seems to be to be two kinds of styles with Band of Horses, color on ballads and all out rock songs. Do you get to do anything creative when you play?
A: Iíve been a hard rock drummer. I used to be really into math and post-rock and all that kind of stuff, kind of technical drummer to a sense. More drumming where you can go anywhere and someone will follow you or vice versa.
So when Ben (Bridwell, Band of Horsesí lead singer), whoís one of my best friends, asked me to be in Band of Horses, I knew immediately that I had to slow down with everything and learn how play 3/4 and waltz and stuff like that. Stuff I never necessarily been accustomed to.
For me, Band of Horses isnít necessarily, most of the time, drum music. It has simplicity and you have to really play just for the song.
Itís not a complicated process, even though it sometimes it can be difficult for me in certain aspects. It shouldnít be anything that clouds up the actual message that is the song, in my mind. So live, I get to embellish a little bit more because you want to play a tad bit faster or harder.
But playing drums in this band, Iíve learned a lot in the way of range. Itís cool and itís awesome to let more of the music be heard.
Q: What do you do on the road?
A: It always depends on the city and how long it has been since we had a day off. Iím a lot healthier these days. I donít really drink as much as I used to. I try to get out and I skateboard a lot. So if weíre in a city that I want to go cruising around in, and we have nice weather, we usually get together and go skate and see the city that way.
But otherwise, thereís bit of relaxation, and I go to the gym. Try to take care of yourself. I have a kid now so I canít be hung over all the time. Iím getting old, dude (laughs).
Band of Horses seems to be around for the long haul. The band has been through numerous lineup changes, but its profile seems to grow with each release. The band is set to release its fourth album,
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