Band of Horses release fourth album 'Mirage Rock'
Band of Horses, from left Ben Bridwell, Creighton Barrett, Tyler Ramsey, Bill Reynolds and Ryan Monroe, arrives at the 28th Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Los Angeles, Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (AP / Matt Sayles)
Published Saturday, September 15, 2012 3:28PM EDT
TORONTO -- Ben Bridwell makes his living as a musician, but he hates calling what he does a job.
The singer and guitarist for Band of Horses says his band loves what they do so much, in fact, that they are not inclined to pander to populist opinion to make a buck.
The band has 905,408 "likes" on Facebook, but in the face of a new album release, that's not what its members are concerned about. They're concerned about the music.
"Just do whatever comes naturally, hope for the best and don't look at the Internet, ever," is Bridwell's philosophy when it comes to making music.
"Because if you look at that stuff," he says, referring to the expectations of critics and fans, "you're only going to be let down. You know, if somebody gives you a high compliment, you probably won't believe 'em, and if you listen to criticism, it'll probably break your heart."
He says he'd prefer to avoid the world of hyper-gossip fostered by the Internet, choosing instead to "just be a normal person."
Bill Reynolds, who plays bass, sits beside Bridwell at Toronto's Dakota Tavern on the hipster-favourite Ossington Avenue-strip. He agrees with Bridwell. He's not exactly waiting with bated breath to hear what people think of the album, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want to share his work.
"I'm excited for people to have it."
The band's latest album, "Mirage Rock," provides a diverse experience, roaming from the poppy "Knock Knock" to the country-esque "How to Live," all the way to the "nastiest" song the band's ever released, "Dumpster World."
"I guess the diversity of the songs on the album probably comes from the fact that we just had a ton of songs, more songs than we'd ever had for an album. Because technology being such as it is, we can work on the road and work at home now with more frequency," Bridwell explains.
"So it wasn't like going into a studio and being like, 'Oh, these are the 13 songs I'd like to attempt for the album.' It was, 'OK, here's about 60 songs, let's just kind of do whatever for today and see if it works, and if not let's just move on to some other song.' Yeah, that's why it goes all over the place, I think."
It also helped that the new album was produced by the legendary Glyn Johns, who has worked with the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Who.
"To work with someone with that stature, with that history and that hand in creating what we know as rock 'n' roll, it was so incredibly mindblowing to be in his presence," Bridwell says.
"But the thing I took away most was how easy it was to work with him, how sweet he was to everybody in the band, and how nurturing he was in the studio and what a great friend he became."
He and Reynolds say they think Johns had fun with them, too, because they're such classic rock geeks. Or, in Bridwell's words, "little fanboys."
Bridwell says that this time around, the band is more relaxed and in a healthier place than when they recorded their last album, "Infinite Arms."
"It sounds a little cheesy, but we've mellowed out in a way that we're proud of what we're doing and not so hell-bent on destroying ourselves or everything around us."
Reynolds says the album fits nicely into the band's body of work. He says each album is simply a reflection of where the members were in their lives at the time.
"It's funny because when you're making a record, you're inside the cockpit and you don't really know what the spaceship looks like. And to me, I didn't really know what this album was until I saw the album cover," he says.
"So I don't ever think you're in that process thinking about, 'What are we doing?' You just don't know 'til it's over."
Bridwell is the only member of the group who's been around since the Horses' inaugural "Everything All The Time." The singer says "Mirage Rock" is the result of the band's growth since its inception. He says he was shy when he started out, and some of that has faded away. But the group has kept some running themes along the way, he says, like "a common thread of humour as well as sadness."
"I feel like it's a good document of how far we've come, and with this one to wrap it up I guess it shows that we've become more brave since the first album, where it was so timid," he says.
"Now we're not afraid to play it all live without all these overdubs and things masking the true heart and soul of the band."
"Mirage Rock" will be available Sept. 18.