Firstly, is the new album title a nod to Dylan?
No, it’s a more of a nod to Nick Cave.
The production on the album feels meticulous, was this a long process?
In fact the record came together quite quickly. Had we had the time to properly focus on it, uninterrupted by touring, we’d have finished it in under two months. Not a ton of time spent fussing over arrangements or sounds, just really good musicians and two very clever engineers.
Where there any particular styles or influences you had in mind when approaching the album?
Yes! Tons of things. We spent a lot of the last year in a van with our iPods, sharing, discussing our favourites. A few things we looked at closely and drew from: Otis Redding, Portishead, Broadcast, Elvis Presley, 13th Floor Elevators, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Liars, Godspeed You Black Emperor…
Did you have an idea of how you wanted the record to sound before creating it or was it moulded during the recording process?
I always want to make recordings that sound as though they were always there. Now, I don’t mean ordinary or retro, but the sort of music that sounds as though it could belong to any era (of rock ‘n’ roll). So that’s always the goal going into it, and then working very quickly in a space with a small team and instrumentation gives the sort of desired feel and consistency I like to hear on an album.
The album has a sinister feel to it in parts, was this intentional?
I am highly critical, cynical and superstitious. Perhaps this is manifested in a sinister delivery for certain pieces. I also felt this was some of the most joyful and exuberant music I’d ever made, too. It seems to swing differently for everyone… I feel it’s intentionally balanced.
The artwork for the record and new single Black Water are very striking, in a world where artwork is becoming less apparent and perhaps less important to some, how important is it to you as a band?
Well, I’ve bought records and books for their covers alone so yeah, it’s very important to me. I’m a very visual person and I feel the artwork will contribute to the overall perception of the music. I dunno, I’m old-fashioned maybe.
Have you had many M.Ward comparisons over the years? And does it bug you?
M. Ward, sure. I don’t know his music well but I know he has a beautiful voice and is an excellent guitar player; certainly superior to my musicianship. I’ll take it as a compliment.
With the production being as intense as it is, and the sound very atmospheric, how are you intending to approach the transition to performing these songs live?
Until now, we’ve never concerned ourselves with reproducing the recording in any strong semblance for the live show. And still the band plays everything quite differently from the way the album is arrange. But it’s still just the three of us, doing a bit more multi-tasking than before, and, as always, with an emphasis on mood and creating an atmosphere.