This week Northern Transmissions talked with Adam Wills from Bear in Heaven. We talked about their photo shoot in Rolling Stone and their endless touring schedule.
Northern Transmissions: How did you put this tour together with Blouse and Doldrums? That’s a pretty good triple threat.
AW: I’m glad you think that. It came about in a normal fashion. In the booking agency world, there are bands that are looking for support, bands that are looking to support.That list comes down to us, we make our own list, who we like, who we’d like to take on the road. We actually spent a lot of time making that decision. We really wanted to curate the night, make the night make sense. We want to take bands on the road that we want to watch. If you’re touring with bands that you’re not that excited about, that’s no fun.We spent a couple of months deciding, and it just so happened that Blouse and Doldrums were available, so we’re pretty excited.
NT: How was working with producer David Wrench (Caribou, Bat For lashes)?
AW: It was pretty natural, we once again made a list of a bunch of records that we thought sounded pretty good, whether they were present or made 20 years ago. Had some conversations with some people, and David was actually the first person we talked to.We thought he was such a great guy, really down to earth who shared a lot in common with us in terms of musical tastes. That conversation was really easy to have, like if we say we want the toms to sound like on a certain record, he knew exactly what we were talking about. He kind of rose to the foreground because he mixed the last two Caribou records, and that’s why his name came up in the first place, but after getting to know him
we realized that he’s done so much really out there crazy political Welsh folk records. He kind of introduced us to us to a musical world that we didn’t really know existed.
NT: I really liked the photo shoot in Rolling Stone with the clever captions. How did that all come together?
AW: We got a good friend named Shawn Brackbill, who’s getting more and more well known. He splits his time between fashion and music portraiture, sort of specializing in behind the scenes stuff with bands. He came in while we were recording and snapped some shots. Rolling Stone wanted to publish them, and they sent all the photos they wanted to use back to us, and asked for captions on all of them. Jon (Philpot) just sat in front of the computer and hammered them all out. For me being there knowing what’s going on in the photos, I thought the captions were perfect and hilarious.
NT: After the last record you did, I think you played over 200 shows. You guys must really love touring.
AW: It’s a love/hate relationship for sure. We were kind of like new kids on the block,
we needed to tour, and we had to get our name out there. We were cast to do it, our booking agent was very accommodating, but we always sign ourselves up for it. But we love touring. Especially when the shows are good, and the crowds are good, and we’re playing well. It’s like anything, if you play a great show, you get in the van and you’re psyched to play another 100 shows, and then you play a bad one and you just want to go home. It’s a crazy cycle that you don’t get used to, it’s hard to anticipate what to know is coming, whether it is a great show and want to keep playing or you’re homesick and you have to go home, but as soon as you get there, you’re bored, don’t know what to do with yourself and can’t wait to get back on the road.
NT: Were you excited to play some of the new songs live?
AW: Yeah absolutely. We kind of made the decision after playing so many shows and touring so much, to partition ourselves and just focus on writing and recording instead of playing weekend shows. It wound up being almost a year that we didn’t play live at all, and it was a weird sensation being in a band that wasn’t playing music in front of people.So we were super excited to play live, the new songs are fun to play.
Credit Nick Helderman for photo