Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell on Railroad Revival Cancellation and Lying to His Kids
|Photo by Christopher Wilson|
"[Johns] really wanted us to actually be less prepared than we were," he says. "He wanted us to write in front of him while the tape was rolling, while we were all in that room. [That's] not really our modus operandi or whatever, but he really wanted us to stretch how we felt what a song is supposed to sound like."
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Johns' approach worked. Mirage Rock debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, and was heralded for its confident blend of stripped-down elements, ranging from 1970s Neil Young ("Dumpster World"), early '90s Seattle grunge ("Feud"), and Shooter Jennings-like mid-2000s outlaw alt-county ("Electric Music").
That's pretty gnarly for a group who doesn't generate much radio buzz.
"I don't see us so much as a singles band anyway," Bridwell says. "Our most popular song never even charted."
The BOH leader is referring to the group's first single, "The Funeral," off debut album, Everything All the Time. Despite its appearance in several films, television shows, and a few commercials, the song never made it onto a Billboard chart.
However, the group's noticeable absence from radio airwaves hasn't hindered Band of Horses' steady ascension to alt-rock prominence. Last year, Bridwell and crew picked up a Best Alternative Album Grammy nod for 2010's Infinite Arms despite lackluster support from radio station programmers.
When asked if the nomination meant added pressure on Mirage Rock, Bridwell says that he doesn't "think the Grammy thing came into play" at all during the writing and recording process. He does admit, however, that some longtime BOH fans felt Infintie Arms was a major directional shift in sound compared to the first two records.
"I only do what comes naturally and really hope for the best," Bridwell says. "The major pressure was trying to recapture some of that initial sloppiness of the first record for our fans' sake."