INTERVIEW: Bell The Band

Hi Caitlin, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I have been great, thank you for having me!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Lay Me Down”?

I am so excited to release “Lay Me Down” because it is our first song to be released in a little over a year and was recorded and produced by my dear friend Etienne Bowler, who is the drummer from fellow NYC band Misterwives. To me the song signifies a growth within the project and a development within our sound that I am very excited to explore. Etienne has wonderful pop sensibilities and it has been a joy working with him as he finds ways to weave his sound into the folky world of Bell The Band.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

This song is really about a series of events and struggles with my past, mental health and staying sane in an increasingly insane world. It is inspired by those people, creatures and places that come into our lives and present us with the quiet space or the patience that we all need every now and again, and subsequently the relief and release that comes from that quiet space.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

I filmed an acoustic video of the song in my apartment with friend and filmmaker Nick Noyes and have been contemplating concepts for an official video, so stay tuned!

The single comes off your new self-titled EP – why naming the EP after the moniker?

We self-titled the first EP because it is a true and genuine introduction to the project and I believe those songs serve as the core to Bell The Band. At the center of the band is my passion for Americana folk music and storytelling. I love playing a song or recording in a studio with the knowledge that whatever we are capturing or playing may never be captured that same way ever again. That idea allows us to create, knowing that we are living in that particular moment, and in those particular emotions, and it stands as its own unique blip in time. That is how Bell The Band functions and our self-titled EP is an excellent example of that concept.

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording process for “Lay Me Down” was a new and fun adventure! Etienne and I went through a couple different versions before we landed on the final product. I was so grateful to be able to take my time and find the sweet spot between keeping the song true to Bell The Band while adding in some new pop-inspired textures.

What was it like to work with Etienne Bowler and how did that relationship develop?

Etienne and I have been friends for a while and I was so honored that he took the time to produce this song. He is obviously an amazing drummer and I love the rhythmic textures that he incorporated into “Lay Me Down”, but he also has a gift for beautifully capturing vocals and for creating unique production. The majority of the recording process was just the two of us in the studio, so I also had the privilege to listen to his wonderfully terrible jokes. If music ever fails, he has a great joke book up his sleeve.

How much did he get to influence the song?

At its core, the song is my guitar and vocals. When I first spoke with Etienne about producing, we discussed incorporating some of his sensibilities into the music to blend the worlds of folk and pop. He captured a great recording of the guitar and vocal, and then spent a lot of time layering the song to what you hear now. The layering and styling of the vocals, the horns, and the percussion are all thanks to him.

What role does NYC play in your writing?

New York City probably plays more of a role in my writing than I would like to admit. It can be a very grueling, very harsh city and at the same time it is exciting, inspiring and vibrant. I’ve always been hyper aware of accepting the light with the dark, the good with the bad. Essentially that is what New York City is, and it also happens to be one of the main themes in my writing.

What aspect of Americana did you get to explore on this record?

I grew up in Georgia surrounded by folk, Americana and country music. I love it for its storytelling, honesty and the musicianship and community that surrounds the music. It is important to me that I always hold my upbringing closest to my heart. I think my songwriting, lyrics and guitar style are tied to my background and the traditions I so cherish.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

This was one of those songs that felt like it wrote itself. Life is unpredictable and sometimes our past can affect us in ways that we may struggle to foresee. I was contemplating that in a moment of clarity and feeling grateful for those precious people and places that seem to have the ability to remind us that the past is the past and all we can do is keep moving forward. The song is a bit sorrowful, but in the end it’s hopeful.

Any plans to hit the road?

At the moment I am writing and recording as much as I possibly can with the hope of being on the road again soon. We are playing at Degraw Fest on August 4th in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Tickets can be found here:

What else is happening next in Bell The Band’s world?

More music is coming soon, so I hope you’ll stay tuned. Thank you so much to the VENTS team for taking the time for us and we look forward what’s to come!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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