Northern Transmissions talked with Nathan Michel from Hospitality. Their upcoming album Trouble comes out January 28th on Merge records.
NT: The title of the upcoming album is Trouble, a bit of a strong word, what’s the inspiration behind it?
NM: Good question. I think it relates to creative trouble. We like the word. It really does conjure up many things. Like, car trouble or mental trouble. It’s a strong word. The creative process with the band is very circular. It can be a little neurotic-making at times, so I guess the title does relate to a number of things to us.
NT: The songs on Trouble are a bit more structured and layered than on your last release. Was it a goal from the beginning to make a different sounding album?
NM: Yes, we definitely wanted to do something different this time. We had played the older songs so many times. I think we had a bit more time with this album. We wanted to make something with a bit more of a warmer sound, more arranged, and less ornamental. I worked with Matt Boynton from Vacation Island Recording on production. He had worked with us previously on a 7”. We ended up working on it for a month.
NT: In your bio, it says “the band was learning to deal with silence.” What exactly does this mean?
NM: I think the press guy wrote that, (lol). I think the band has a tendency to fill up on arrangements. On this album, we resisted doing that, added layers. We left a bit more breathing room. I think.
NT: Amber’s songwriting can be idiosyncratic at times. Is it ever tough writing parts to go along with her lyrics?
NM: Amber writes all the chords and the melodies as well on the songs. She was really trying to be a bit more atmospheric on this album, and a bit less storytelling.
NT: You guys all have had, or still have interesting jobs as well, aside from the band. Are you still involved with these other professions?
NM: Brian works for a guy that produced the Wilco and Helvetica documentaries. Amber teaches music lessons to kids. I still sometimes dabble in music for film and TV.
NT: Your presently working with a string quartet reworking some of your songs?
NM: Were doing a concert called The Ecstatic Music Festival. It’s curated by this guy Judd Greenstein. It kind of tries to combine classical music together. They try and mix and match different groups of musicians together. We got matched up with a kid’s string quartet. We are doing four songs and one that I wrote, it should be fun playing with them.
NT: Which five albums continue to inspire you?
The White Album – The Beatles
Rock Bottom – Robert Wyatt
After The Gold Rush – Neil Young
Wake Of Poseidon – King Crimson
Tusk – Fleetwood Mac