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- Posted on Sep 10th 2012 2:40PM by Charley Rogulewski
"It's more about certain tones," Ebert says, explaining something he picked up from the book The Yoga of Sound. "They destroy gallstones and kidney stones with certain frequencies and you can also heal things with certain frequencies. We're mostly attuned to the stuff we can destroy with sounds. The healing stuff was more what this book was about."
In case you didn't know, the Earth resonates at B flat. "So if you hum in B flat, you'll be in more resonance with Earth," explains Ebert. "And apparently they are trying to discover, or maybe they already have, what are the healing chords. We talked about doing [an album with healing chords.] We want to do that." But in truth, Ebert and the 12-body band already have.
Here, which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, was a dose of medicine for the band. After touring nonstop for two years behind their breakthrough LP Up From Below and its catchy single "Home," the L.A. folk rockers went straight back into the studio. They booked time in Bogalusa, La., miles away from their native Los Angeles, despite being burned out from being on the road.
"Bogalusa was a weird experience," Ebert admits. "The hardest part was just getting up there to begin making the album. We had had strife on the road. We weren't all getting along as well, so jumping into the studio again for six months didn't sound like the best thing in the world to some people."
Piano player Aaron Embry left the band to begin work on his solo debut, Tiny Prayers -- "an amazing beautiful album" according to Ebert -- which comes out this month. Bass player Aaron Older, who helped produce the first album, also exited. And unlike Up From Below the new album -- or albums -- was to be a joint effort, with everyone chipping in with the writing, despite the new dynamic.
"Touring isn't for everyone, as they say, and sometimes it's just better if you move on and do something else," says Ebert. (On a side note, Ebert contends the last two tours behind Here "were the most fun tours we've done with the exception of the first trip Marfa, Texas we took on our bus,")
Embry still appears in spirit on Here, as the soothing singalong "Mayla" is named after his daughter. "We were all touring on the train tour with Mumford and Old Crow and I just started writing this song and the word that kept coming up was Mayla and so that was it. I played it for them and they loved it. Apparently they listen to it all the time and she loves the song."
After Bogalusa, the band decided to bunker down in Ojai, Calif., and finish recording their double album. A week before mastering, Ebert made a last-minute decision to hold the latter half. "The entire double album wasn't completely ready, but the songs on Here were all ready basically," he says. "I hadn't finished all the songs. The other reason was, 'Well look this is a really nice album, Here.' [The songs] all have a brotherhood/sisterhood of feeling and it feels good."
While Here may have helped the band regroup, Ebert says its upcoming followup is "more rambunctious" and has "psychedelic-ish qualities."
"It's just a different sort of mood, and a bit wilder," says Ebert. "There's a song called 'If I Were Free.' There's a song called 'Nothing,' but for the most part no one's heard it." Ebert, who released the freewheeling solo album Alexander in March 2011, also hints at the prospect of a solo album from the band's co-founder, singer Jade Castrinos.
"At the moment everything feels very, very good," says Ebert. "It's really immensely fun traveling with so many people and being in a band with so many people. Really, it's just a joy. It's almost unexplainable. Playing the music that we are playing, there is sort of an unspoken ethos in the band in a way, and I'm glad it's unspoken. There has never been a doctrine written up or some kind of thing that states is clearly, but it's just understood and implicit love for each other."
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