The band’s much-anticipated sophomore effort, Don’t Worry It Will Be Dark Soon, which dropped back in February, was actually four years in the making. Recorded alongside producers Caleb Shreve and Ted Gowans in a cabin in the isolated and picturesque coastal forest of British Columbia, the album came together around crackling fires, failed fishing trips, and endlessly dark nights.
Though the resulting songs share none of the characteristics of their rustic surroundings, they are a true sonic reflection of a shared transitory moment in time.
For Smith and Braun, who regard music as an instinct and feel each album is a valued lens through which they may view the context of their lives, the payoff is really the performance, and you’ve got to see these guys live.
Your current album, Don’t Worry It Will Be Dark Soon, dropped this past February but was actually four years in the making. People change a lot over the course of four years––so do songs. Now that you can take a step back and look at that time in hindsight, are you able to see how it shaped the final product?
Laura Smith: Definitely. I know it sounds like it took us a long time to make, but it actually just took us that long to get the record out. We spent about eight months writing it and about two weeks recording it in this cabin out on the West Coast. Then we did a bit more in Vancouver, New York, and L.A.
You go through a lot of phases, feelings, and emotions about things when you write a record. There is always that initial, ‘I love this. This is amazing!’ Followed by, ‘I hate this. This is awful.’ But, once you really start to dig your teeth into it and do the work, it usually grows into something you really love.
I know that Andrew and I had very different feelings about the album once it was recorded, but now we both feel like it’s something pretty special. It was just this magical little time we had in this cabin with our producers Caleb and Ted, and it’s really representative of that. I definitely still get feels about it when we’re playing the songs live.
I sort of like to think of every record as a little moment in time though. I try not to compare anything we did in the past to what we’re doing now because it’ll always be totally different. I think it’s pretty cool to be able to look back and say: ‘That’s who I was then and that’s what that version of me sounded like,’ you know?
You mentioned recording in a cabin. One would almost expect that sort of rustic landscape to inspire a different sound, but you guys came out with these very tight, crisp, alternative synth-gems. How did that happen?
I think it was just sort of a result of the songs we had previously written and the skill set of everyone within the cabin itself. Caleb has a really big background in hip-hop and pop––I mean he produced a Wu-Tang record. Ted has done a lot of work with Tegan and Sara and he’s really into synths, like Andrew and I. We were also listening to a lot of Little Dragon, Phantogram, and a few other bands as well.
I know Bon Iver recorded his first album, For Emma, Forever Ago, in a cabin and it sounds very much like something you’d make in that sort of environment, but we weren’t going in to make a folk album, so I think it was a pretty natural progression for us. [Laughs] We also did a lot of work at nighttime so when you think about it like that, it’s a bit more fitting.
In lieu of the way so many artists are now utilizing computers as viable instruments, it isn’t difficult to recognize the influence of technology on the sound of this time. What role has today’s technology played in shaping your sound?