Big thief


Performing is certainly a bridge between the solitude of creating the art from a place of complete control, and then releasing into the ether, where it immediately takes a life of its own.

Buck Meek of Big Thief

Firstly congratulations on the new record Capacity. What lines of continuity does this album share with Masterpiece and where does it verge, taking it into a new direction?

The continuity is in that both records are documents of a living experience; the band living together, cooking three meals a day together, taking time to build fires and swim, writing arrangements together in the moment, and tracking as much as we could live. That being said, the Masterpiece recording session felt like summer camp, while the Capacity session felt more like a secret metaphysics laboratory deep in the frozen woods.

What were some of the challenges in putting this LP together and conversely what were some of the greatest surprises you experienced through the writing / recording process for Capacity?

One of the challenges is narrowing down the initial surplus of songs and demos into a more concise album. On the first night of the session, we all sat down with our producer Andrew Sarlo, listened to more than twenty of Adrianne's song demos and democratically narrowed it down to twelve or so, which is a challenge because they we're all beautiful songs.

One of the surprises in the recording process was how the song "Capacity" came together. We had recorded it at the first session, (at Outlier Studios in February 2016) but something about it didn't fit, so we started from scratch several months later (at the Lethe Lounge Studio in Manhattan) and accidentally used a process we hadn't used before: Adrianne recorded the song solo, singing very softly, and our initial instinct was to overdub soft band parts, but it wasn't fitting, so James took a loud pass on the drums just to shake things up, then Adrianne dimed her amp and took a really blown out pass, then I followed with a blown out pass, etc. The contrast of her soft vocal on top of the blown out band ended up providing this mystic tension that felt really exciting and appropriate.

I guess it is fair to say that music has been the one underlying constant in your life and the prism through which the world is viewed, analysed and reimagined. Such a heavy reliance on music and more precisely playing music can be an alienating yet liberating form of expression. As you move through your years does performing music become more or less the vehicle that drives you?

Performing is certainly a bridge between the solitude of creating the art from a place of complete control, and then releasing into the ether, where it immediately takes a life of its own in the hearts of others. The vulnerability of that submission is something deeply energizing and simultaneously exhausting, but very much alive.

Have meet so many interesting characters and musicians throughout the years, were there any defining moments or conversations that really resonated with you that altered the way you approach your craft?

The most consistent voice has been the support system and perspective we share within the band itself; all four members reminding each other to play without fear, to bear our souls even when the nakedness is overwhelming, to trust our instincts, and to rely on the communal strength of the band.

You will be in Australia in later this year to play a string of shows and well as Meredith Music Festival. Do you adjust your set list when playing a festival or treat it as you would any other show?

We change our set list every show, with the primary impetus being to honour our mood, and to keep ourselves on our toes.