Mon, 09 Sep 2013 11:22:02
"We definitely didn't want to copy what we've done in the past," says Michael Britt of Lonestar We wanted to do something a little different."
That's exactly what Michael and his cohorts did on Lonestar's fantastic new album, Life As We Know It. It maintains the soul that fans fell in love with so long ago, while evincing a new rocking energy that's instantly impactful and irresistible.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Michael Britt of Lone star talks Life As We Know It and so much more.
What ties Life As We Know It together for you?
I think we all gravitate towards one thing. I don't think it's a conscious effort. We were trying to find songs that were a little different so we could have a little variety. It's cool when someone says, "There's a common thread", because that's just us without trying. For everything else, we tried to get outside of our little box. When we found "The Countdown", that became our litmus test for what we wanted the new album to sound like. It was a little more rocking. There was a great energy to it, yet it still sounded like Lonestar when we played it.
You preserve the band's identity, while making the experiments fit.
I hope so! That was definitely the goal. We wanted to push the envelope and do songs we're not known for. We're known for being the ballad band. To do things "Party All Day" and "How Can She Be Everywhere" was a little bit of a stretch for us and what most people picture Lonestar being. We've played all kinds of styles over the years. It just so happens that the ballads happen to be the hits. Even back on the other albums, we've had rocking songs. We wanted this to show all of our different sides.
What's the story behind "Party All Day"?
Richie McDonald called me up and asked to come down and finish it. That's how I got involved. I went to Richie's house and worked on it. They had the first half of the song done. I worked on the second. It came out so easily. It's about people sitting around, playing music, having a good time, and partying. It was in the middle of the summer so it was easy to get into that mental state. It was a fun song. At the time you're writing it, you try to make sure it's not cheesy. To me, any time you write a song like that, it's easy to say something that's already been said. The goal is to find a line or two that's unique and hasn't been said before.
What does "Oh Yeah" mean to you?
That's actually the most autobiographical song we've ever written or recorded. Richie and I started writing it. Halfway through the song, we realized it's the story of Lonestar. We called Dean Sams. We were thinking of our live show. We wanted something that could wrap everything up with a nice little bow and thank our crew for all of the work they do and thank the bands for coming out. It was fun for us. It's a groove we don't normally get to do. We're not known as a groove band. To have a funky groove with simple chords and a funky blues feel was something I fell in love with.
Was there an urgency in the studio? Did the music come together quickly?
It did. We had so much fun playing that one. I remember being in the studio, and it was over quickly. There wasn't a lot of overdubbing. It's great when a song happens like that. We added the horns later. That made it totally different than anything we've ever done.
Did you try anything you'd never done on the guitar?
I think so. On "My Eyes Open", I got to put my eighties rock guitar god face on and do my big solo. On "How Can She Be Everywhere", I used a Whammy pedal. There was no producer. That was the cool thing about producing ourselves.
What have you been listening to?
There's a band out of Canada called Big Wreck that I really like. I like Mayer Hawthorne's "The Walk". It's that retro R&B thing. I'm the guy in the band who's constantly on the lookout for something new. I listen to everything. I love rock and pop. There's new country that comes out every now and then.
Has the process of making an album changed?
I think the business of music changes, but the want to make music never changes. We just want to find great songs that mean something to us. When we first got a record deal, we had A&R and label people involved who thought they had a better idea of what they wanted it to sound like than we did. Sometimes, it worked well. When we got hooked up with Dan Huff, he had a great vision for us, and it fit with what we wanted to do in the beginning. Anytime you can get those symbiotic relationships, it's great. It's about finding songs we really like and put new music so we're refreshed and our fans we've had for a long time can have something new. For me, it comes to finding songs we can connect with over and over again.
Have you picked up Life as We Know It?