Ben Bridwell recently sat down with the AV Club for an interview where he talked about the transition between labels, his relationship with Christopher Wilson, and some of his favorite music, among other things. You can read the full article here, or you can check out some of the snippets I’ve snagged for everyone here at odetoboh below.
AVC: The other big change before this album is that you’ve signed with a new label. Do you think of yourself as being with Fat Possum, or as being with Columbia?
BB: Well, it’s easy to say Columbia, because we’ve just returned from Europe, where it’s Sony Worldwide. So we’re meeting mostly Sony people in every other territory. Here in the States, I’ve talked more with Matthew [Johnson] from Fat Possum than anybody. And then my label has a little bit of a hand in it, as well. It’s easy to get confused, actually. I’m not sure what the hell is going on. [Laughs.] It’s definitely different. It’s definitely not where we were. So far, so good. It’s kind of an awkward time right now, because it’s so new to us, y’know?
All I know is that when we came to this record, we knew… Because the Sub Pop contract was up and we were free agents, and the music business had changed so much since signing that Sub Pop contract five years ago, we knew that we would be in the driving seat at this point. Especially self-funding it, we knew that we had the option of owning our art—which is a crazy concept in this business, I guess—and having the chance to get the best deal we could. Unfortunately, it meant that we were going away from Sub Pop, but luckily we still remain friends, and I think all parties are happy.
AVC: Band Of Horses’ album covers have a distinctive look, which is reflected on your website and elsewhere. How much do you personally collaborate with Christopher Wilson, your photographer? And how important is it to develop an image?
BB: It’s so important, actually, and Chris is one of the best friends I’ve ever had. We talk quite a bit about anything and everything. We actually worked together before this job; he would wait tables somewhere and get me a job washing dishes. In different parts of the country, if we ever needed each other, we’d be there to help each other out. Once I got this job, I said, “Chris, come on.” He had just started working on photography and stuff, so the fact that we’re so close, and we’ve finally had this opportunity to be in a more creative job together instead of working at a café or something, it’s nothing but exciting. We’ve worked really closely on all the imaging and stuff like that, and finally making the web page look cool. He’s running projection for us now, and doing all the work with videos. This is all new for him, so we’re both learning as we go, but we have a lot of fun with it. When a band has that cohesiveness—the aesthetic properties with the musical qualities—I think that’s one of the coolest things. You can really latch onto a visual aspect with the sound, as well.
AVC: Can you think of an album or two that creates that mood for you? Like, if you could spend your life living inside a record, which one would it be?
BB: Man, that’s tough. Let me think a second on that one. [Pause.] Well, actually, that’s not that hard. I guess, in a more contemporary sense, I really like the mood of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s The Letting Go, the one with the female vocalist [Dawn McCarthy]. The album has such a sparse feel, and I always find myself going back to that. I’m a big fan of Will Oldham’s stuff. I could name maybe four records of his that I could live inside, if not all of them. That one’s easier for me because it’s darker, and puts me in a really introspective mood. I would say on the opposite end of the spectrum, something that’s more upbeat and classic, I think of Exile On Main Street by The Rolling Stones. It was an album I grew up with, hearing probably every day. It’s like my dad’s favorite record. I don’t know, that’s just always been one of my favorites because of that. It has such an uplifting vibe. If I could live in that one, I’d probably be in a good mood every day.
….Well, there you have it. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention, Jodi and I will be picking up our tickets for the Nashville show the second they go on sale tomorrow! So, if you’re reading this, and are going to be there too, and want to organize a little odetoboh.net get-together, let me know!