A Great Big Pile of Leaves: We don't want to be starving musicians
Photo by Shervin Lainez
Their name is a mouthful, but don't let that stop A Great Big Pile of Leaves' music from getting stuck in your head. Aptly, the New York based band named their latest album You're Always on My Mind. The new album was brought to fruition via local producer Ed Ackerson at Flowers Studio last summer when the band was taking a break from their extensive touring. The new album brought out a more streamlined side to their established sound -- even a little "poppier" than their prior albums -- a natural progression for the band. If the saying that you reap what you sow is correct, A Great Big Pile of Leaves is on the verge of something big.
Before the band's show with the Front Bottoms at the Triple Rock tonight, Gimme Noise spoke with drummer Tyler Soucy on their Minneapolis connections and what truly scares him.
Before ever getting into a studio with him, AGBPOL (affectionately called the Leaves), met Ed Ackerson when he was playing a show in New York. During his weekend there, they all ended up hanging out and to talking about their new album. The band found themselves in the same headspace as Ed, so when it came time to record, Ackerson was the perfect candidate. Although the album was mostly written when they entered the studio, Ed helped push the songs in certain ways that the Leaves had not thought of when they wrote the pieces.
Another Minneapolis staple, Jesse Mack Johnson of Motion City Soundtrack, also found his way into the band's career. Tyler met Johnson through Jesse's wife years ago and gave him a copy of the band's self-produced album. Liking what he heard, Jesse has been able to provide guidance as one of the band's managers, letting his experience of being in a band himself provide a backdrop for the advice he gives. Soucy says, "He knows exactly what we're going through when we're going through it. Their band [Motion City Soundtrack] has been through all of the same steps, the growing pains, and all that stuff. He knows how much touring is like, how much hard work you have to put in. He's a good voice of reason to have around."
That hard work is the backbone of the band, something that each band member holds themselves accountable for. Even though they tour a lot, all of the members still have day jobs to help pay the bills when being a musician just doesn't cut it. Tyler admits, "Music is what we all put our hearts into, but if we get a tour offer or anything, that stuff falls to the side. We were all used to doing that as teenagers, so it's been a comfortable transition into adulthood. We enjoy being able to afford going out to eat and stuff like that. We don't really want to be starving musicians, and the fact that we are able to work day jobs -- it really lets us focus on the band and invest money into the band, I think that will only help us get to where we can be doing music for 100 percent of our career."
Their DIY mantra is something that rings true for a lot of indie bands these days. While they have the staff behind them -- managers, publicist, booking agent -- the band still is very hands on with much of their career and oversees even the littlest details like merch items. Soucy shares, "We have a lot of control over the band's aesthetic. The way we operate as a business, the way we spend money, we all have a genuine interest in that. If you have a disconnect, you miss out on what's happening, and we always like to have a finger on the pulse just so we always know exactly what's going on."
When staying connected with what's going on in the band, Tyler brings up the band's upcoming album, something that the band has been sitting on for over a year. "A lot of the stuff Pete [Weliand] writes about are personality traits, and a lot of it is him being nostalgic and thinking about being a kid, stuff he enjoys as an adult. He also like to write songs in the way where you're unsure if a song is a bout a relationship or an actual event or if he's singing about food. He could be singing about his favorite cookies for all we know."
When asked if there was concern about tweaking the sound for a new album, Tyler admits, "There's always a fear when you come out with new music of alienating your fans. It scares me all of the time. It's the kind of thing where you sit on it for too long, and you start to wonder, 'Are people gonna like this?' but I love everything we do. Because we enjoy what we do, we spend so much time on it. Once we get on the road and start getting positive feedback, all of that fear goes away. I hope people like the new record, but I also know that you can't please everybody."
The live show is where the band comes alive. Soucy says, "I'm told we smile a lot. We have a lot of fun onstage, and we end up glancing over at each other onstage and smiling. If that's something they take home from it, then that's a good thing."
A Great Big Pile of Leaves will perform at the Triple Rock Social Club with the Front Bottoms and Stop Drop on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.
18+, $8 adv, $10 door, 8 pm
Purchase tickets here.
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