Tracker Pixel for Entry

Like a Big Thief in the night

by John Strand | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Music | June 28th, 2017

Buck Meek of Big Thief on touring, Adrienne and ‘Capacity’

Photo credit: Shervin Lainez

Buck Meek, guitarist for Big Thief, the Brooklyn-based indie band, and songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Adrienne Lenker’s paths crossed a number of times before they finally had a chance to connect. Soon, a beautiful friendship blossomed and their collaborations led to Big Thief. She sings softly but they carry a big sound and intense touring schedule.

HPR had a chance to speak with Buck on the rigors of touring, the bond between him and Adrienne and their new album Capacity.

High Plains Reader: Big Thief has a pretty rigorous touring schedule. Do you have any pre-tour rituals before you hit the highway?

Buck Meek: These days, since we have such little time off tour, three out of four band members just have storage containers without apartments, so we just kind of have like a suitcase that we live out of and I’m basically just always ready to jump in the van. I’ve set my life up to be really portable, so most importantly, when I’m off tour I just completely relax and spend as much time reading, sleeping, walking in the park, spending time with old friends, spending time on the phone with my family -- just all of the things that are harder to do on tour.

HPR: That sounds really liberating!

BM: Yeah, it’s been a process to set it up like that. There were a couple years where we were all in apartments and were constantly having to sublet. We would get home unpack and then we’d have to try to get everything ready and that was exhausting. We just fully embrace the lifestyle for now.

HPR: How did you and Adrienne meet?

BM: We first met in Boston in 2010. I had a band, it was this twisted New Orleans brass band--we opened for her band at the time at this house party called The Mothership. We knew each other on stage with the changeover. We both made a strong impression on each other musically that night. We really loved each other’s bands--she totally blew my mind.

We met briefly two or three years later. We had not seen each other since then. The day she moved to New York, I ran into her at the grocery store as she was moving in. I remembered her from that show and then offered to be her tour guide. We started hanging out playing music in the park and on the steps.

HPR: What did you find so compelling about her musical style?

BM: So many things, but the center of it is, I felt Adrienne has this ability to unlock emotion with words that I think is really rare. It’s so hard to explain emotion and steer it with words. Words are so specific and limiting and spirit is so thick. Adrienne has this gift for taking those obliques and abstract perspectives and words to really open up, explain emotion and spirit.

She’s one of the most generous songwriters I’ve ever met. She leaves this beautiful ratio to be interpreted and integrated into the listener’s spirit. She’s also such an incredible guitar player, so creative and innovative with the guitar and for reasons beyond me, I felt really compatible. My guitar things fit right in immediately, as soon as we started playing. It was so easy. It’s not always that way, ya know? It felt really natural.

I think the basis of it was, I felt this immediate and inherent deep friendship as soon as we met. We felt this incredibly strong bond. That was the engine for our musical development together. Music just felt like the best way to really dig into that. It was so beyond words and explanation.

HPR: Congrats on the recent release of your latest album, Capacity. What was your recording process like?

BM: We were graced with this incredible studio for an entire month in upstate New York. Our friend has a really beautiful space called Outlier Recording. He was going to be on a trip for a month in the winter and he needed someone to take care of his property. He has a lot of farm animals there, like goats, chickens, and sheep. He needed someone to take care of the space and said we could basically use the studio space in trade for that.

We had a month in the wintertime in the frozen Catskills, and with this album we went in with mostly brand new songs. Adrienne showed us a lot of the songs for the first time in the studio. She would just come into the studio in the morning with an acoustic guitar and show us. We’d spend the whole day learning it and writing parts for it. Then we’d record in the evening and we had enough time to go through that process a number of times.

A few of the songs had to be re-approached after a couple weeks. We went back to them and came up with a completely different arrangement.

It was pretty fresh compared to Masterpiece. We had been playing the songs for almost half a year, played a whole tour with them before we went in and recorded everything really fast.

HPR: Where did the moniker Big Thief come from?

BM: Well, there’s a variety of explanations but I think the central one for me me is the idea that all creation is every invention that we’re borrowing from the collective consciousness. Just redefining itself with our own vision.

IF YOU GO

Big Thief at Winnipeg Folk Fest

July 7

Birds Hill Park, Winnipeg MB

IF YOU GO

Big Thief with Twain

Monday, July 10, 9pm

The Aquarium 226 N Broadway, Fargo

Recently in:

AMHERST, SOUTH DAKOTA – Four days before TransCanada anticipated obtaining permits for the Keystone XL project, the company’s older pipeline leaked, spilling more than 210,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the South Dakota…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…