If you love indie-rock, folk music, you love Boy & Bear – its a given. But what you don’t know about them is what is going to make you love them more: they’re original, organic, and obsession-worthy. See what vocalist and guitarist, Killian Gavin, has to say about the band and their new album Limit of Love, and find yet another reason to love Boy & Bear.
If you could describe Boy & Bear in five words, what would you say?
We don’t play jazz music
You recorded your latest record, Limit of Love, by tape, and you have said that because of this, the album is more honest and organic. Is recording by tape is something you will continue to do for future tracks?
It is something that limited the editing and ‘fixing’ capabilities of making a record. This meant we had to perform well, had to be well rehearsed and as a result the record sounds like the band does live more so than ever before. This is something I would be keen to do again for sure.
You worked with producer, Ethan Johns, on the latest record, which is why it was recorded by tape. Other than that, what was the experience like working with him?
Ethan is a vibe guy. His whole approach to recording is when the music makes his hair on his arm tingle, then the job is done. To him this comes down to interaction and performance by the musicians. Its completely intuitive and genius.
You’ve mentioned that working with Ethan showed you guys how to let go a bit. Even if you weren’t 100% satisfied with the take, it was okay, because it had more of a live music feel to it.
Definitely. When things weren’t perfect, we had to let go and forget about fixing them. Perfect is not always better because it can remove that intangible sense of feel when performance is executed well.
Do you think that translated into your live performances?
I think it made the songs easily adaptable to the live setting. Unlike previous records were we would spend time making the songs work in a live setting, this time around we pretty much played them as we recorded them. Made for a simple transition.
Do you find yourself focusing less on a perfect sound more on the atmosphere of the show?
I think thats something we have always done. When songs speed up or slow down live, its usually following the lead of the atmosphere of the crowd and the show. These are moments to be had in performance, rather than being held back by a click track.
Other than working with Ethan, was the creative process different in developing this record?
We set out to create a live sounding record, with more of a focus on performance. Ethan was the missing link in helping us create that. So the approach as a whole was different from the get go, even before we started working with Ethan we were writing differently, concentrating on groove and writing hooks/parts that can be executed in one take, not requiring overdubs.
The sound of Limit of Love is a little bit lighter. Was there any change in the process that caused the change in mood or was it unintentional?
Lyrically there was a departure from Dave’s normal plan of attack with songwriting. In fact Tim helped out a lot on lyrics. Writing simpler lyrics was something that was inspiring Dave throughout this process. So it is less heavy when compared with some previous work.
Your fans have absolutely loved Limit of Love, you’ve been touring all over the world, and pleasing thousands of fans. What has all that travel been like for you?
Travel is a blessing and a curse. I love getting up on stage every night, getting to see glimpses of all these amazing cities. But at the end of the day, it is just a glimpse as you set out on another several hours of travel to get to the next gig.
With all the traveling, did you come across a city that is your favorite to perform in?
I loved playing in Cologne, Germany. Such a respectful and appreciative crowd.
When you come to Chicago, is there anything specific that you are looking forward to?
Chicago music exchange!
What can we expect to see from Boy & Bear in the future?
We will be touring for another year from now I imagine. Then slowly we will start working on a new record no doubt. No plans in place yet though!