ARTISTdirect.com Q&A Cold War Kids
Tue, 12 Jul 2011 09:26:39
Cold War Kids released Mine Is Yours earlier this year and the Southern California-based band culls influence from the likes of Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley and The Velvet Underground. The band was just about to head over to Europe when vocalist Nathan Willett took time out of his day to chat with ARTISTdirect.com News Editor Amy Sciarretto about the creature comforts of home; the fact that they are not a Christian band; and about how Willett adopted a new, different approach to penning lyrics on Mine is Yours.
What's going on right now with Cold War Kids?
We are leaving for three back-to-back Europe trips. We leave for festivals, come home for four to five days, then go back again for 10 days.
That's a lot of stamps in your passport. Are you aiming for a bigger global audience or is it just time in your album cycle to do Euro tour?
We actually have a similar-sized audience there, as compared to the US, but the festivals pop up and you go for it. It's funny, since you confirm these plays months in advance and then you realize how crazy the schedule is when it's right there in front of you and you are packing and getting ready to fly over there.
Since you are going to be in Europe for quite some time, what's the one creature comfort you need to pack in your knapsack, other than the digital standards like iPads, iPhones, iPods, etc?
I was just at the bookstore, stocking up. I think that the right amount of books gets you through it. Our bassist has all seasons of The Wire on his iPod and having it will help us get through dozens of hours of traveling in the next few weeks. I got the Keith Richards biography, which I am sure will be a debaucherous read.
Any plans for working on new material?
We've been touring a lot and we are in that place where we are always on the road. We are thinking about next recordings and all that, though.
I usually don't ask bands this question, but I feel that I can make an exception in your case. The name "Cold War Kids" is a bit intriguing, since you're all too young to be just that. Are you guys just history buffs? Or is there some inside joke?
Our bass player had the Cold War Kids website, where he posted his artwork and I would give him poetry. We had friends who would contribute things to put on the website and when he had been to Eastern Europe, there was a park with statues of different leaders and that named popped in his head.
Tell us something about the Cold War Kids or yourself that isn't directly related to the band.
We all went to Christian University in Los Angeles called Biola. We all get a kick out of reading theology books and that is a different thing about us, and I forget that it is different for other people. The topic is a big part of what fuels our conversation and what we are about.
But you are not a Christian band, correct?
Not at all. We have been through the ringer on every side, but we're not a Christian band in the contemporary sense of what that word means in the last 100 years.
That says it all. Can you share an intimate recording story from the Mine is Yours sessions?
We had been recording for several weeks, doing all the music and I was doing sketches of lyrics the whole time. In between that time and finishing the record in LA, I was finishing the lyrics. It took a long time, as I wanted to do something more focused and more cohesive, where the songs reflected each other, so the theme of relationships and commitment became the thread of the record. In order to get "there," it was me, in the studio, at the desk, treating it like a real job, where I was in there for hours, writing, then scrapping stuff, then starting over. All the lyrics came out of that type of session, which is different for us. We are usually much more visceral and employed quicker ways to do it before. This was more thought out and you can see the songs have a similar theme.