Menu Subscribe Search



Subscribe for the Latest Music News

Enter your email address below to subscribe to a regular(ish) dose of AAA Backstage goodness direct to your inbox.

Interview: Ben Bridwell from Band Of Horses

band of horses pic

From their humble beginnings in Seattle to playing to 20,000 strong crowds, folk-rock kings Band of Horses have really managed to shake up the genre. Since releasing their debut album in 2006, they’ve gone on to release four incredibly moving albums, including the Grammy nominated ‘Infinite Arms’. With their fifth studio album ‘Why Are You OK?’ on the horizon, followed by an Australian tour, we caught up with frontman Ben Bridwell to chat about the album, touring, the band’s evolution, and everything in between!

I wanted to start of by saying I loved your new single Solemn Oath, can you tell me a little about the story behind it?

Sure man, I guess I’m pulling the curtain back, it’s pretty revealing here. There is a bit of a battle, a raging battle in my life, trying to keep the balance between family life, professional life and creative life, and I believe this is pretty telling with some of the lyrics, “Right in the door/I’m tired/I’m sore Nary A Hi/no welcome home”.

You’ve been worshipped for months on tour and in a way you expect a homecoming, yet you walk in the door and it’s like “here’s your babies, I’m going to take a damn nap”, like sh*t man I was hoping for at least something to eat! I think those themes weave themselves in an out of the whole album, but that song in particular really hones in on trying to achieve that balance of peace.

In terms of your writing, you recently said that this album was written in your garage rather than a remote cabin like past albums, did this affect your writing process?

Yeah absolutely man. If I’m not quite feeling energised or very inspired I don’t have all day to sit around and be like, I can go like read a book, sit on my butt, or take a walk or something. By going to a cabin or a beachhouse, I think I just had too much time on my hands honestly. I was able to be indecisive – I didn’t realise that until the process for this album. I didn’t even want to run that by the wife, run off to a cabin for a week? Nah man, I’m passed that.

Writing at home also gave it a sense of urgency. There’s nothing worse than looking like the worst dude in the morning in front of all of the parents dropping off their kids because I didn’t sleep at all. I don’t need to go to a damn job, I don’t need a nice shirt on, sometimes I didn’t even brush my teeth, f*ck it. As much as I did want to go to sleep, if the writing was going well, there was no way I was going to bed, I was going to see it through. So yeah that sense of urgency gave me great motivation.

Yeah I feel you man. To talk about some of your future plans, you’ll be returning to Australia for this year’s Splendour in the Grass, are you and the band excited?

Yeah we’re definitely gearing up to play some real ass rock music again. We’re kind of in this awkward, teen faze of the album where it’s like everything is acoustic in-stores and radio stuff, which is great, but you know, you always miss having some wild drums behind you, guitar pedals, and dynamics. So yes, we’re very much looking forward to going back because we love it over there. It’s our second Splendour and I’m looking forward to it as we really had a great time. I just remember walking around checking out new some bands, which is what I always love at festivals…times where you don’t feel like you’re trapped somewhere.

So, looking forward to that, and we’re also playing at the Sydney Opera House which is a huge honour to be playing such an iconic venue. We’re having some really great old friends playing with us too, The Drones, so it’ll be good to hang out with our buddies, that makes a huge difference to tour with people that you love.

Definitely, that’s the best way to do it! You’re album ‘Why Are You OK?’ is dropping June 10, therefore it’s safe to say the Australian audience will be some of the first to hear the new material live. What can fans expect from your new live show?

It think these new songs fit well within the groundwork that we’ve laid with the previous albums, although I’m usually the last to find out if an album actually sucks. You’ll hear those proud favourites that got people into our music, but we’ll sprinkle in some of the new stuff, not only because we want to exercise that muscle, but because the songs are good shit, and people will like them.

Definitely. You’re first album came out over 10 years ago, how do you feel you guys have evolved?

Hmmm, have we? (laughs) It’s funny I still feel like the same kid who has no idea what he’s doing when he sits down to write a song, but I feel glad that I don’t quite have that figured out. It’s funny, I’m not quite sure how we’ve evolved. I’m sure we’ve gotten more expanses in our dynamics of the live show, but it’s hard to say in how in the recorded frame how we’ve evolved. I guess I’d have to leave that to someone with a bit more objectivity on the outside. As a group though we’ve definitely evolved, our friendships have evolved, we understand each other more, we can have more difficult conversations thanks to the family dynamics. So yeah, I guess we’ve become closer, tighter, and hopefully a better f*cking live band at least.

Just finally to finish things off on a lighter note, you’re the frontman of Band of Horses, I have to ask you, do you have a favourite racing horse or jockey of all time?

Oh sh*t. You know I haven’t ever seen ‘Seabiscuit’ or nothing. It’s funny though, the whole horses thing came from a song I was listening to back in Seattle, called Horses by Will Oldham. The lyrics were just like really comforting in a very uncomfortable setting. So that’s always one to remember, even if the band does well, it’ll help remind me of what humble means, and how I started out in music. Other than that, I’m kind of terrified riding horses at times, they’re so powerful and majestic. I don’t really need any work out of them, I just want to use their names for my band…

Band Of Horses Tour Dates

Splendour In The Grass, North Byron Parklands
Forum Theatre, South Melbourne
Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Get Tickets HERE