Sons of Bill spilte i september sine første konserter i Norge, et knippe allerede legendariske konserter under blueshelga i Odda. De tilstedeværende fikk høre et knippe låter som bandet spiller inn til sin nye plate, som de for tiden jobber med under overoppsyn av Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco). Nå er prosessen kommet dit at de trenger fansens hjelp. Bandet har valgt PledgeMusic, og tilbyr et imponerende knippe goodies til alle som støtter opp og donerer penger til innspillingen, trykkingen og markedsføringen.
Alt fra signert CD/LP, via signerte tekster, til egen video med ønskelåt, eller rett og slett releaseparty hjemme i sin egen stue. Fansen har strømmet til, og etter et par dager er allerede 79% av ønsket sum kommet inn – men jo mer bandet får, jo bedre og enklere blir prosessen – så her er det bare å hive seg på.
Klikk linken for å bidra -> PledgeMusic – Sons of Bill.
Vi har tatt en prat med vokalist James Wilson, om låtskriving og nye platen:
You’re been touring in Europe, and you usually tour the Netherlands when you’re here.
I notice that bands like Mickey & The Motorcars, Reckless Kelly and American Aquarium tend to do the same – tour The Netherlands and Germany.
Americana and related genres seem to be huge in those countries, do you have a large following there?
We do– there is still a culture of folks seeking out music. Something like a scene. It’s a very cool thing to see.
Do you have any idea what the reason is those kinds of bands are so popular in The Netherlands/Germany and perhaps Sweden, and rarely tour Denmark, Norway, England?
You know I don’t. I had never been to Europe till we starting touring over there, so I’m really just learning first hand about the different cultures. Its nice to see that you can still reach people emotionally from a totally different culture. Thats the dream of every artist.
At your show in Odda, I saw all of you noticing the huge disadvantage with Norwegian audiences, their lack of ability to be quiet and listen. How would you compare the audiences and their attentiveness in the US, compared to Europe and then Norway…
I don’t know if its just Norway or if it was just the festival atmosphere. Everyone we met in Norway was nothing but appreciative and gracious. I can’t wait to come back.
So! On to the new album. Is there a title and a release date for it?
No title yet, but it will be a fantastic one.
You developed quite a bit as a band between “One Town Away” and “Sirens” – and even more between “Far Cry…” and “One Town..”.
How will the new album sound, compared to “Sirens”?
We always want to grow and change. Making the same record twice is almost never an artistic decision, but a business decision. I always loved the bands that were willing to grow and change.
Using Ken Coomer as a producer would – to me at least – suggest a sound that’s more polished and closer to pop (perhaps more in the direction of REM?) than on the previous albums?
We get the R.E.M. comparison a fair bit, especially in Europe, but im not entirely sure what it comes from. We’re all huge fans of the band, so I’m sure it’s all in there somewhere, but it’s certainly not conscious. I will say though, that I truly appreciate R.E.M.’s approach to Albums, and just being a true «Band.» I wouldn’t be that interested in any individual from REM’s solo records, but something truly magical happens when the four of them come to make music together. Thats the dream of every rock band, and we’ve moved closer to that vision on this record.
«Far Cry From Freedom» comes across, to me at least, as a longing for home, and a tribute to where you grew up.
“One Town” is a coming home-album, and it feels like that calm of being in the right place set in motion a study on the current situation in the US – with people having less money, small towns falling apart, and off course personal desperation resulting in shooting others..
On “Sirens” my feeling is your songwriting got even tighter and better, but the focus was more on creating individual songs – more than creating a theme for an entire album. (And there’s nothing wrong with that, this is just an observation to set up the next question).
You know, we’re just always trying to get better– more creative, but also more focused. A record is literally just a keeping a «record» of a time, and the place you were all in at the time. It’s never a place where we’ve arrived, but simply where we happen to be right now. I’d say on the whole this is the bravest record we’ve ever made. More traditional, but also more experimental– More intimate but also more expansive than anything we’ve done before. We didn’t listen to anybodys rules on this one.
Do you have a overall theme in mind when you start working on an album, or do you just go with the creative flow ?
You never start with the theme in mind– there is always a lot of post-rationalization with this kind of stuff that people like to use for press releases and what not, but it’s never a conscious effort during the writing or recording process. All in all, we’re a band that has grown up together. We started as kids together, and we’ve been in this band as we’ve grown into men– we’ve experienced similar big questions in life, similar fears, similar struggles– so it often works out the three brothers are facing similar struggles, with similar loves and hopes when we set out to make a record. We usually see the themes developing 2/3s of the way through.
How do you work when you write your songs? Do the lyrics come first? The tune? Do you write a lot on the road, or do you run off to somewhere and just write for days?
We’ve done more writing together on this album then any previous album. So much of this record was me personally letting go of my death-grip on the band, and letting the band be as great as they could be without me having the final say-so like i’ve had on the previous records– what I discovered was how much better of a band we became, the more I let go, the more everyone else came to life. I can’t wait for folks to hear this thing.
Whats your favourite song on the new album, and why?
Thats tough. Probably a tie between Abe’s new one «Brand New Paradigm» and Sam’s new one «Road to Canaan.» I love Abe’s lyrics and melodies– he manages to be 100% earnest and tongue-in-cheek at the same time. Only the great writers like John Prine can really pull this off, and I think Abe’s one of them. «Road to Canaan» is the other one, because I think its as honest, and faithful, and hopeful as a love song can be. I always admire people that can pull this sort of honesty off with love songs. I never could.
And which one will be the fans favorite when it’s released?
All of them.
What has been the best parts of the process while working on the album (I mean, apart from meeting someone who actually played in Uncle Tupelo) ?
Ken just became a band member for a couple months. We were in the garage together talking about bands we loved and the sort of record we wanted to make. He really got what we were doing in a deep way, and pushed and pushed until it was great. Thats all you can ask for from a producer.