October 26, 2009

The Builders And The Butchers Interview

The Builders and the Butchers Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well is one of my favorite albums this year, so I felt incredibly lucky to be able to ask lead singer and songwriter, Ryan Sollee, a couple questions about his music.

Quickcrit: Judging from the shows I've seen, Portland loves you. Are you getting a good turnout on the road?
Ryan Sollee: The last headlining tour was really encouraging, we weren't selling places out, but averaging about 100 folks a night. It was nice to see a year of touring opening for other bigger acts paying off a bit.

QC: Which songs get the best response?
RS: We have a new song called "Black Elevator" which seems to get a universally great response. The other song that the crowd seems to connect best with is "Bottom Of The Lake" (mp3) off the first record. I don't think we've ever played a set and not played that song.

QC: While you are known for a energetic and participatory show, the last show I saw you sounded tighter and look more confident. Are you noticing those changes as well?
RS: I think that we were all really excited about that show, it's not very often you get to play a sold out Crystal Ballroom. We still have our off nights for sure, but I think that overall we've gotten a bit tighter on the road over the past year.

QC: Were you trying for anything different with Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well
RS: The main changes were that the record was recorded in a studio and not in our friends living room, and also we did it in only 5 days which I prefer because of the urgency it creates in the studio.

QC: The tone and imagery in your lyrics reminds me of Southern Gothic literature. Where do you draw your inspiration for your macabre imagery?
RS: I am a huge fan of Harry Crews and Larry Brown who are considered contemporary southern Gothic authors, but I think that any story, movie, song or experience can be a well of inspiration for a song.

QC: The trumpet on "Barcelona" (mp3) is a nice addition and really make the song stand out. How did you hook up with Sebastian Bibb-Barrett from Federale?
RS: Sebastian played that part in the studio with our previous drummer Paul and Victor from Point Juncture, WA. Sebastian is a great musician and we play local shows with him as much as possible. There are a couple songs that will have pretty big horn parts on the next record.

QC: Why did you revisit "Vampire Lake" off your split EP?
RS: That was Chris Funks call, which in retrospect was a good one. But at the time, the band, me included, wasn't too excited about rerecording it.

QC: How did you decide to move from Bladen County Records to Gigantic? Are you still on good terms?
RS: Great terms. Bladen is a great label. We just wanted to try putting out the record with a bit more established label, which had other bands on its roster that were more established than we were.

QC: Are there any bands you've played with outside of Portland that your local fans might love?
RS: There is a great band from Portland called Pancake Breakfast you should check out!! Also I love Joe Pug from Chicago. My current favorite new artist is Austin Lucas.


Mona said...

You're obsessed with these dudes. Go Portland!