Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Mar 11th 2010 11:58AM by Nick Flanagan
What are you up to?
Right now we are in Toronto, starting to record the next record, laying some tracks and demos; getting started. There's no real solid plan for the new record yet -- basically right now we're trying to bring each other the demos and ideas we've got, trying instruments and seeing how we're gonna go about songs we have ready, and [going] over stuff that's not ready and get it up to speed. We try to write as much as we can on the road, even though that can be difficult -- we often road-test a song before putting it on a record. Once we're satisfied with how we do it live, we try to bring it into a studio.
Describe your sound in your own words.
I think our sound is based in folk and country rock. We use acoustic instruments but we put them through a lot of processing and distortion. We wanna do a revival kind of thing and get people moving. We listen to a lot of Neil Young and Bob Dylan, and are big fans of Wilco and Sun Volt. We're in that world.
How did Elliott Brood form?
[Band co-founder Mark Sasso] and myself both went to high school in Windsor, Ont. We moved to Toronto and Mark was already playing solo shows. I came to see him and we wound up exchanging musical tastes -- he introduced me to Grant Lee Buffalo and I gave him a Richard Buckner CD. From then on we started playing together and writing together. Then we played at [Toronto venue] the Cameron House with Steve [Pitkin] drumming -- he was the sound guy there -- and it just took off.
Is it hard to capture your live energy on record?
We're getting closer to it now. [2008 release] 'Mountain Meadows' best reflects us live -- we're learning as we go. I think our live show is a hard thing to match. We always record live off the floor to match the intensity that we get onstage. There's a huge difference between recording music and playing in front of a crowd. One day we'd like to have a live album out -- we think that'd really suit us, considering our bread and butter is our live performance. I like recording, but there's just something about the crowd -- we really try to get the crowd involved in the show. At the end of a set, we've got everybody up and moving. We never wanna record anything we can't play live -- we don't want to embellish and make it something we can't do onstage. We don't do too much in the way of overdubbing that we can't perform onstage; we try to be conscious of that.
Do you feel intimidated playing country music in its homebase of the Southern US?
We're not intimidated. I know what we play is based in roots/country, but I think we're one of those bands -- we think of country music as Johnny Cash and Neil Young and the Band. The Band is a perfect example of a bunch of Canadian guys who put their spin on [country]. When we're down there playing, there's probably going to be purists who don't like distorted acoustic guitars -- but we really haven't met them. Southern States are pretty open-minded to music, but when they see the banjo down there, I think they do get a little more excited than in other places. The way that we're playing the banjo is a little different than what they're used to, though. We haven't made any enemies down there.
What's your biggest vice?
A legal one? Really bad food is something we all share as a problem on the road. I don't want to mention the name, I'll just say "golden arches." Also: What-A-Burger, in Texas. [The taste] has shades of the Whopper. We were at a What-A-Burger in Denton, Texas after a homecoming football game and it was insane. Absolutely nuts. It's all real -- football is king there. Apparently their ketchup is sought after, and people were collecting them that night. It's a really good burger at three or four in the morning.
What are your musical influences?
They are pretty varied between the three of us, probably the artist we listen to the most is Neil Young. We grew up in Windsor, so Motown radio was the music we grew up on. Country music probably had the least influence on us growing up. I was a realDinosaur Jr., Nirvana kind of guy. Mark started more with classic rock, and Steve is a child of Rush and older music, he's a bit older than we are. A lot of influences get mixed up into the final product.
What do you listen to in the van?
Blitzen Trapper became one we all love. Midlake we listen to a lot. The Avett Brothers are outstanding. Their new record is amazing. When we're driving, we don't listen to music so much as rip it apart. We listen to it and decide what we like in the recordings.
How did you name the band?
The name story is hilarious, because it's really nothing. It was a mistaken thing. Mark is a big baseball fan and he was watching the Robert Redford film 'The Natural' -- kind of a classic movie -- there's a femme fatale character in the film named Harriett Bird, and Mark thought that if she had a brother, he would be just as evil, and his name would be Elliott Brood, because he'd mistaken bird for brood. That's how it all came about, a mistaken late night viewing of 'The Natural.' We've often made up in interviews where the name came from, that it's the name of a killer or something, but [the truth] is not that interesting. It's worked out for us, though.