Connor Oberst talks religion and 70s vibes as Uncut attend a special album playback
Uncut.co.uk yesterday attended a playback of the anticipated new studio album from Bright Eyes.
Core-members Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott were on hand to talk about the influences and references on their first album since the two simultaneous album releases in January 2005- “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning” and “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn.”
The proceeding playback of the album reflects a more at peace Oberst, shown as he and the rest of the band, including core members Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott enter in good spirits.
Asked about ‘Cassadaga’ Oberst jokingly tries to play down the religious
content by stating the approach as “…a new market we’re aiming for, and it’s not Christianity. It’s religious music.”
It would be hard for Oberst to deny the religious sensibilities of the album
– the title comes from a Florida spiritual community–especially as there is a more obvious sense of hopefulness.
Some songs like “Soul Singer In A Session Band” and “Classic Cars” have a
recognisable seventies feel, the latter as rumoured has something of an
early Springsteen vibe to it.
Bright Eyes have a lot of love for the era, guitarist/producer Mike Mogis
citing John Phillips’ ‘Wolfking of LA’ and Leonard Cohen as favourites, but
it is more for the period as a whole rather than to specific references.
The period and style invoked at times through the record the band
acknowledge is due to the “sweet tones” of keyboard and piano interplay,
which is “something comfortable” and offers “a general sense of good.”
This they claim was unintentional, as the sessions – recorded over a longer than usual period mostly outside of Nebraska – resulted in a more open vibe, which Mogis says came from simply “…recording a lot of songs, and we then found a common thread.”
The band joke throughout the interview, with Oberst especially finding the
recording process fun, admitting to having “…cluttered thoughts so when I
write them down there is a lot of clarity.”
A selection of underground stars including Ben Kweller, Gillian Welch, M
Ward and former Sleater Kinney drummer Janet Weiss contribute, which Oberst also credits for the relaxed atmosphere.
Details of the UK shows are:
London, Koko, £17.50 (March 16)
Oxford Brookes Uni, £16.00 (17)
“Cassadaga” is released April 9 on Polydor Records, preceeded by a single, “Four Winds” April 2.