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:

FARGO – Two of the three Somali-American women threatened with murder two days ago by a white woman outside a local Walmart, met their attacker Thursday afternoon at the Fargo Police Department, and left in friendship.“We…

Culture

​The Dark Net

by Chuck Solly

Did you know that there is a backside to the Internet? I guess we all have backsides, don’t we? The backside of the Internet has many functions, none of which you can access from Google. Dark Net sites are just like normal web…

Thursday July 27, 5pmDowntown CasseltonTake a day trip and cruise down to Casselton. Free car show, 50/50 raffle, cash, prizes, fun galore and just maybe an engine blow up. Hot rods on hot sod? Count us in. Hosted by the Swanks,…

Editorial

Who asked you?

by Sabrina Hornung

Our opinion: You cannot fool all the people all the time, unless they are from North Dakota.This week Gallup poll reported that at 59% North Dakota has the second largest Trump approval rating in the nation, nipping at West…

A reasonable conclusion: “We should have killed our baby.”For some unfathomable reason, some people think they are immortal, that death is not a part of life. Our culture tends to teach us to avoid the topic of death as if it…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

On a sultry Thursday night, I sauntered into Luna. Situated on South University next to Bernie’s Beer and Wine, it isn’t exactly a hole in the wall, but it is certainly off the beaten path, and as described by their motto it is…

Most of us only hear about world records secondhand. Many might think they’re not up to the challenge, others might not see the point of breaking one, and others just read about them in books and think of them as an exotic…

Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” -- touted as the costliest independent motion picture ever made -- simultaneously melts eyeballs with its gorgeous visuals and narcotizes brains with its stiff…

Within the borders of North Dakota lie many worlds that are each expressing themselves in traditional art and culture. During his time as the state folklorist, Troyd Geist has been documenting a diverse array of cultural identities…

Summer Arts Intensive performs main stage musicalUnder the summer sun, something’s begun, taking over those summer nights. The 1978 movie and musical hit Grease is taking stage as part of the Summer Arts Intensive in West Fargo.…

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…

Minnesota is certainly well known for being a hotspot for craft brewing. While most of the action has been centered around the Minneapolis metro area, yet another brewer from the Northern part of the state has decided to bring its…

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…

“…the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” – Milan Kundera“It may seem kind of bleak to say that the future of our planet rests in large part on the consciences of Republican…