Band recalls Catskills escape that triggered new ‘Cleopatra’ LP
In 2012, several months after his band, the Lumineers, released its eponymous debut album, Wesley Schultz was unsure he the willpower to carry on pursuing his think of being a successful musician. “I remember joking using the band: ‘I’m almost 30, and I’m hauling with this in mind Aerobed that keeps popping,'” recalls the singer-songwriter, who months earlier was supporting himself like a busboy you should definitely on the road regarding his still-fledgling band. “I do not know if this is about to work when I’m 40. Check Ophelia sheet music.
Something’s gotta give here.” The singer/guitarist may now look back on his band’s salad days with relief: On the strength of The Lumineers’ massive acoustic-guitar-and-tambourine-anchored Top Five single “Ho Hey,” the folk-rock band exploded to the scene in 2013, scoring a platinum album, Grammy nominations and also a performance on Saturday Night Live.
“I never had expectations of a single one-thousandth of the happened with this record,” Schultz says of his band’s mainstream ascent, subsequent headlining festival gigs and constant touring for that better section of the past four years. “You’re now being told you’re this band people would like to hear, to begin with that, you’re completely anonymous. What do you do achievable? It’s pretty weird.” For the Colorado-based outfit, which include Schultz, multi-instrumentalist Jeremiah Fraites and drummer/cellist Neyla Pekarek, the very best solution would have been to return for the studio and commence piecing together a whole new album. Recorded with producer Simone Felice with the Clubhouse studio outside Woodstock, New York, the 11-track Cleopatra, due on April 8th, sees this guitar rock band continuing to be sonically sparse while indulging a selection of their more ambitious musical concepts.
“A fair volume of the record feels like a brand new approach,” Schultz says, pointing to your final two tracks around the album — the free-flowing “My Eyes” seguing in the instrumental piano outro “Patience” — as indicative of this rock band’s more adventurous mindset this go-round. “I have no idea of if we would’ve even put them around the first record or after we could have even written those type of songs. We were type of in this manic state about the first one: If we were playing a show, you would possibly leave at any minute. I feel like we’ve earned a little bit of trust.”
Schultz admits the group’s mammoth success lately was something of your hindrance when writing their second album. He describes mainstream recognition as “this third-party area,” which this guitar rock band had to figure out how to disregard. “You sort of wanted to kick against eachother and focus on the you’re doing,” he states. “But you need to do that by writing more songs.” Adds Fraites, “I think if I had allow pressure and fear bog me down, the album really could have turned out worse. But it was approximately trying to flip that fear and anxiety from ‘Oh, no! So many people are gonna want to pay attention to this’ to ‘Fuck, yeah! A lot of people are likely to want to pay attention to this.'”
When they completed the new album with their label, however — and not using a single like “Ho Hey” or ever-popular “Stubborn Love” jumping right out of the speakers — the Lumineers faced some blank stares. “Gradually they form of understood it if they started listening to your record and saw the thing that was going on,” Schultz says. “They eventually have it.”
The Lumineers had tried to write material while travelling when touring nearly 300 days annually since 2013. Drawing inspiration from, coming from all people, Lil Wayne, this rock band set up a transportable studio on their own tour bus so as to record on the highway, similar to the rapper famously did; in the long run proved a fruitless effort. “It was such overkill for which we needed. What we quickly realized can it be would be in the same way useful to have our iPhones with all the voice memo into it,” Schultz explains, noting he retains “hundreds and hundreds” of voice memos on his phone of melodies, guitar lines and lyrics he didn’t wind up using on Cleopatra.
Isolating themselves in upstate New York for six weeks in the Clubhouse, where they logged 12-hour days, was the Lumineers’ best recipe for creative success. An avid motorcyclist, Schultz recounts occurring long rides throughout the Catskill Mountains with producer Felice, stopping every 20 min or so to talk about lyrical ideas inspired by their surroundings. “I put 1,600 miles using a bike, therefore did he,” Schultz says of the about six weeks he spent living close to the banks from the Hudson River. “It was only this mediation around the lyrics.”
As it happens, hardly any of Cleopatra was written in the last year. (Schultz points to your soaring “Angela” as probably the only track about the album written in your studio: “It’s type of an aberration for people.”) Lead single “Ophelia” first appeared being a voice memo on Fraites’ phone way back in early 2011. The wisecracking musician says the song always had its strong chorus (“Ophelia, you have been on my mind, girl, since flood/Ophelia, heaven help an idiot who falls in love”) but was just recently fleshed out with verses. “It was recognizable,” he states of listening back towards the song’s initial conception. “It’s just like a guy having a mustache or possibly a guy without having a mustache: You can still tell it’s him, yet it’s just a little bit different.”
The band road-tested the songs that wound up on its debut, but a majority of fans should wait until Cleopatra drops to listen to new Lumineers material. Not playing the revolutionary songs to have an audience is really a first-time experience for that band — one it is getting used to. “When you start a fresh song that you are super like to show off, and also you get no person clapping and so they look like they’re stoned, it’s weird,” Fraites recalls of an recent small-club gig. “It’s like if you are a comedian therefore you know you’ve got a funny joke but nobody’s laughing. We’re like scientists for such a long time in the studio, the good news is we have to react more viscerally about what the song is screaming for live.”