Firefly Firefly Music Festival has announced its full lineup for 2013. Red…
- Posted on Jan 23rd 2013 1:10PM by Ian Gormely
Jason Merritt, FilmMagic
Prior to even meeting the Foxes, Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser was a fan. Then The Walkmen opened for Fleet Foxes in 2011, playing cushy theaters he says his band could have never filled on their own.
"They're a fantastic live band and great recorded," Leithauser tells Spinner. "I didn't know them before the tour...I just really liked them a lot."
In fact, Leithauser had just bought the Seattle group's much-lauded LP, Helplessness Blues, when the record's producer, Phil Ek called offering to produce The Walkmen's next record.
"I realized the dude that made that album is calling us," he recalls. "It seemed like too much of coincidence to say no."
Yet working with Ek, a well-known figure in the Pacific Northwest music scene for recording with bands like Built to Spill, Modest Mouse and The Shins, would mean giving up some of the control The Walkmen had enjoyed in previous recording sessions.
"But that was the point," says Leithauser. "To get on someone else's turf. We'd been doing it our way for a long time. Like, let's just see what it's like."
Although Leithauser says Ek did a great job with the record, the road to Heaven was not an easy one.
"It's very different when you're doing it on someone else's terms," he says. "What you think should be done right then is not what he wants to do right then. We're very set in our ways. The point of bringing him in was to change that, but doing that is easier said than done."
He admits that the middle ground the two parties found had more to do with he and his bandmates learning to work at Ek's speed, then he with theirs.
Fleet Foxes let their presence be known once again when Robin Pecknold from the band stopped by and delivered backing vocals on four of the album's songs including the record's opening track, "We Can't Be Beat."
"You add a Fleet Foxes element and people assume it was inspired by Fleet Foxes, which it really wasn't," Leithauser says. "I think [he's] the greatest singer."
And now things are coming full circle. As The Walkmen set out on another tour to support the album, which came out last June, they've enlisted former Fleet Fox member J. Tillman as support act under his Father John Misty moniker. "I thought it sounded like a good fun time," he says of the pairing. "Josh is a really funny dude, so I'm looking forward to spending a couple weeks with him."