New York’s indie pop five piece Bridges and Powerlines – made up of musical geniuses Andrew Wood, Pete Mucek, David Boyd, Keith Sigel, and Mason Ingram – has been making some pretty stellar music since 2005. They’re revving up to release yet another album (work of art) titled National Fantasy on October 7th, and we’ve got the exclusive premiere for the title track for you today. Not only that, but Andrew and Keith took some time to answer – at length – a few questions we had for them. Check it out!
Please, introduce yourselves to our audience.
Keith: Can I say we are the best band you’ve never heard of? haha! Well, we are 3 guys who are in love with 90’s indie rock and 1 guy who is in love with 80’s synth pop and we try to distill that into ultra-catchy 3 minute (lately 4 minute) bursts. We like things kind of up tempo, with lots of harmonies, lots of fuzz, and we know how to program MIDI so expect some synth excess. I think that about sums it up.
What’s the first song or album you remember listening to, and who introduced it to you?
Andrew: Simon and Garfunkle’s “Bridge over Troubled Water.” My parents had a spare copy of the record and so they gave me one. It became a staple amidst the Disney records or whatever else. I don’t know how old I was, maybe four or five, but it had a really weird influence on me, and there are songs on there I’m still obsessed with.
What’s the Bridges and Powerlines origin story?
Keith: I moved to New York City after finishing school and was looking for a band. I had played in a band in North Carolina with a guy who had moved to the city earlier and I called him up, he said to come see his band play. I saw them at Pianos and loved them, but they already had a bass player. I told them to call me if their bass player quit, and a few months later he did (he still comes to our shows, which is awesome). I joined, my friend from North Carolina promptly quit and Andrew and I started the band from craigslist (a process I’m not sure I could go through again). We started recording in the “early blog era” and it was a crazy time – our first few demos got like 100,000 hits in just a few days after sending them to a couple sites. I was like, “this is going to be so easy” (It wasn’t). We met Mason (drums) in the studio actually, we brought him in to do percussion on our 2011 album ‘Eve’.
Your new single “National Fantasy” has a pretty unique – and beautiful – sound to it. (We’re almost thinking lighter Irish/Scottish drinking music here.) What was the writing/recording process like on the track?
Keith: Yeah that was a bit of a left turn. Andrew wrote the melodies and it started out as this moody song that sounded like The National (hence the title, it’s rather literal) but then Dave (guitar) came up with these bouncy Celtic guitar parts. This is our 3rd full-length record, so at this point it felt like a “refreshing excursion” to go in that direction with the song. Mason (drums) came up with these awesome tribal drum parts, and when we first recorded the song in 2014 I insisted he use this weird snare sound that no one liked when we finished tracking the album, so he actually overdubbed the drums back onto the track (the kind of move producers pull out their hair over) in early 2016, because pretty much everything was finished. The single also features Mattie Safer (bass player from The Rapture) on backing vocals — he’s an amazing vocalist and he was doing a solo show at our venue Gold Sounds in Bushwick so we had him come by the studio to sing on the track.
What inspired the lyrics on “National Fantasy”?
Keith: This is going to sound like a joke but here goes.. When we were writing the first batch of songs for the record I was obsessed with Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Like unhealthily so. I was trying to find out everything I could about all the crazy interpersonal relationships that were going on during the recording of that record and I decided I wanted the songs on our record to be about those relationships. This was one of the first we wrote during that period and it’s from the perspective of Christine McVie written to Dennis Wilson (another person worthy of unhealthy obsessions) — they had this longstanding on/off thing, and she eventually left him because he was such a mess. Only one other songs on the record ended up being Fleetwood Mac inspired (the track “Lindsay” is about Lindsay Buckingham) because I just couldn’t keep the theme going.
How do you imagine people enjoying this song, by the way?
Andrew: A friend a few months ago answered this very question when describing our music, so how about if I let her take this one-
Camelia: It’s like going on a bike ride on a country road with the sun shining through the trees on your way to an open air picnic with your friends that culminates in a water fight with rainbows in the water spray.
If your music were a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Andrew: Our songs might be sweet but I don’t feel like they’re that sugary. They are longer lasting than a donut, I hope J That said, if I was going to buy a donut, it would probably be a chocolate éclair. I don’t know if that answers your question.
Your album is out this October. What are you most looking forward to with this release?
Andrew: This is by far our longest album in the making. We started demoing the first songs in 2014, the year after our last record “Better” was released, and laid down some basic tracks at Room 17 (Studio in Williamsburg) with Joe Rogers (engineer) and Kieran Kelly (producer) that fall. It was another year still before we committed the bulk of our new work to tape and then there was a lot of work at home perfecting the songs over the winter of 2015-2016. It’s been a long time coming and I am just really happy to finally have it out in the world.
National Fantasy is out October 7th. It is available for preorder now. The album release show in NYC is Oct 14th at Pianos. More tour dates to follow.