Wheeler Brothers Talk "Gold Boots Glitter"
Fri, 26 Apr 2013 13:40:02
Gold Boots Glitter, the latest album from Wheeler Brothers, is a shining example of real rock 'n' roll at its finest. The group struts through rock, soul, Americana, and even a little country with their very own panache gleefully in tact. It's the kind of record you've got to hear from start-to-finish and you'll want to drop the needle on it again and again. Simply put, it's one of the year's best from Austin's brightest brotherhood.
In this exclusive interview, mainman Nolan Wheeler talks Gold Boots Glitter and so much more.
Did you have one thread throughout Gold Boots Glitter?
It was similar to Portraits. That goes for any music though. The more you actually get to learn the melodies and expect them, you can start diving into the lyrics and grow a little bit closer to it. There was definitely an element of being on the road a lot and away from home or a place you call home as well as the people you love. I could see that coming across on some of the songs. I think that would be the underlying tie.
How do you feel like this differs from Portraits?
Portraits was us getting together as a newly formed band and writing music for the first time. With this album, we've been on the road. We played close to 200 shows in a year. I think we grew together as a unit and a more cohesive band. That's what came out in the studio. We had a lot of fun kicking around ideas. It was pretty easy to work around and with each other because we've spent so much time together.
Is the sound more "live"?
Some of the songs are inspired by the road and live sound. Others are quiet melodies we came up with while driving the van. There are some louder songs, some quieter songs, and some in-between. We tried to keep the information dynamic like Portraits. It's not just the usual electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums, and bass thing. There's a raw rock 'n' roll approach with real movement though.
What's the story behind "Sleep When I'm Dead"?
That was one of the first songs we'd ever written together. We were in San Marcos two-and-a-half years ago and scratched it out. I had that melody stuck in my head—the acoustic part. I had an idea for the song. At the time, it was a fun late night song about being under the stars and moon and in barrooms. We recorded it and we were going to put it on Portraits. It didn't feel right there though. We played it live. It wasn't until we worked with Drew Smith, our producer on Gold Boots Glitter, that we could get it where it needed to be. We didn't want to rush it. It's more about the idea of being in a band, traveling the road, living out of hotel rooms, and spending most of your time in the moonlight. It was before we were really on the road. It was more what we wanted to do. We were all excited. We started writing, and we wanted to get on the road. The song was what we were hoping to do at the time.
What song speaks to you the most right now?
That's a tough one! For me, I love "Cigarette Smoke" because it's the one song I really get to hop behind an electric guitar and lay into it. It's a fun one to play. "My Time" would probably be the one that resonates with me. That general theme of being away from home and the ones you love really comes across there.
What have you been listening to lately?
We were at a record store in Lubbock, and I was trying to track down this vinyl. Have you heard of the band Little Joy? They put out this one record. It was self-titled, and it was the one that inspired me to pick up ukulele. It's a great album. I've been trying to track that down. They're one I've been listening to. Then, there's Lord Huron. I saw them at SXSW, and they put on a great show.
Who do you consistently come back to?
I'd say The Walkmen, Wilco, Beck, and Arcade Fire. Over the past year-and-a-half, I got a record player and got into vinyl. With vinyl, there's a certain sound you're going for when you're cooking dinner or have some guests over to the house. It has to be a record that's well-rounded. It's got to have some good songs on it. I've been picking up vinyl here and there from recommendations or digging through my mp3 collection and deciding to pick together a little money to spend on records. It's a never-ending search. You're constantly at it. I like doing that with albums I had. I like Pantera, but I don't see that being a good vinyl [Laughs]. I don't see myself putting on some Pantera when guests come over the house.
Are you writing all the time?
It is a constant thing. You try to block off time whenever you can. It's about being ready to write I have a backpack, notebook, pen, and paper. Whenever that moment of creativity strikes, you should block out everything else and work on that and flesh out as many ideas or melodies that come into your mind. There's no specific method. You try to keep it going. That's the only way to capture an honest creative moment. Those are the moments to catch—when you're walking down a street and a melody hits you.
Have you heard Wheeler Brothers?