The impressively bearded frontman of flannel-flying South Carolina roots rockers Band of Horses, who perform the ruminative epics from their latest disc, Cease To Begin (Sub Pop), at the Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), Friday (November 9), 6 pm. $16.50. 19+. 416-870-8000. www.bandofhorses.com
What's producer Phil Ek (Modest Mouse, the Shins) like to work with?
He comes to a session with an idea of what you're capable of accomplishing, and if you don't meet his expectations he can get a bit grumpy. That's intimidating when you're just starting to work with him, but now that we're veterans of the Phil Ek method, it was much easier to deal with him and his taskmaster ways this time around.
Did you have a thematic concept in mind when writing songs for the album?
If the songs have a similar sound or tone, it's probably just because most of them were written around the same time. It could be that recording it all together - apart from a few overdubs - in North Carolina might have something to do with it, too.
Will Band of Horses be featured in an upcoming episode of Yacht Rock?
If our new album has that sound, it wasn't intentional. But I listened to all that kinda stuff as a kid, absolutely. My parents were heavily into classic rock, and they listened to someo ero questionable things, too, records by Michael McDonald, Steely Dan, Spyro Gyra and Peabo Bryson. Everything but the Beatles for some reason.
Your music is achingly introspective, yet your songs have been used in a lot of sports video games, like NHL 2K7. What's up with that?
As far as the song licensing stuff goes, I haven't pursued shit personally. With the NHL 2K7 thing, they sent us a couple of copies of the Xbox version of the game, and I only have a PlayStation 2, so I forgot all about it. The other day, Creighton came over and wanted to play hockey, so I rented NHL 2K7. While we were battling away, our song Wicked Gil came on, and we looked at each other like, "What's going on?" For a second I thought I'd left my iPod on in another room.
Similarly, are you happy with the way your songs have been used in TV shows like One Tree Hill, The Best Years and Chuck?
I've got a TV, but I don't have cable. The only time I see any television at all is in hotel rooms when I'm on tour, and then I just watch SportsCenter. While we were working in the studio, I knew there was an episode of Criminal Minds with one of our songs in it, so I saw that, and it was kinda cool. It's great exposure, particularly for a band like ours, knowing how few major radio stations will be playing our stuff.