Hi Max, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been good VENTS! Thanks for interviewing me.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Hard Times”?
Sure! It was a song based of a riff & progression that Bran (guitarist) wrote. He brought to one of our hangs, and we toyed with it, wrote a breakdown jam and built a song. Our friend Chuck was there and he helped out. The lyrics more or less are about our story and journey as a band over the last 5 or so years. Going from being basically lost in the woods to (seemingly) finding clarity, vision and purpose in the world. The phrase ‘Hard times are over now’ is meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek because, as anyone knows, hard times are never really over. And if they are, they are likely to come again, but that doesn’t make life any less worth living.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
We were headed to a music festival on Indian Head mountain in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, around the time of the vernal equinox. I had recently turned 26 and we were ready to party. We’re driving through the snow covered pines of a highway 2, way up in the north country, when out of nowhere a golden eagle bursts out of trees and spreads it’s wings right in front of our van. It was amazing (6 feet wide!). Turns out, golden eagles spend their winters out there. It was pretty cool! 2 days later, when we were headed home after a great weekend, it happened again! Huge eagle. This time it spread it’s wings in front of us and flew above our van for a while before it soared off. We were in awe. I took it as a sign for us to take our futures into our own hands, and trust our path.
Can you tell us more about the upcoming video?
It is upcoming!
Why naming the record after this song in particular?
Honestly, these aren’t very hard times for us. We like our lives very much! We threw a big party for the album photoshoot, and most of the songs are pretty upbeat. So it’s all meant to be taken with humor, and hopefully not a foreshadow of things to come.
How was the recording and writing process?
It was super fun! We were able to all track live in 1 room, and most of us live pretty close the studio. 2 songs are reboots of old songs, 1 is an homage to the Stanley Brothers, and 8 were written in the last year. A handful were arranged in studio. So it was cool to write & record a record while performing regularly and managing our personal lives. We’ve become fine multi-taskers.
What was it like to work with Steve Kaul and how did that relationship develop?
Steve brings a lot of wisdom and calm energy everywhere he goes. At the same time, he’s also very fun and down for spontaneity. We didn’t know him so well at the beginning, but by the end he felt like a very good friend who understood us as a band, and we trusted his judgement above our own.
How much did he get to influence the album?
Quite a bit, from lyrical phrasing, solos, dynamics, general feel. He wasn’t forceful with his opinions and had the right answers 100% of the time. We can’t speak highly enough of him! Looking forward to working with him again.
What made you want to take on a much improv approach?
I didn’t want to capture us thinking, analyzing or executing. I wanted get nothing but feeling. We’d been playing all the time going into the sessions, so it was easy to turn off our brains and just get after it in the studio. I think the less talk, more rock, approach contributed heavily to the sound of the album.
How much did this direction get to help the material?
Nobody’s playing was directed or controlled, everyone was free to do their thing the way they saw best fit. And hit helped us get more sonic value out of our band than we’d achieved with prior efforts.
What role does Minneapolis play in your music?
Minneapolis plays a principal role in our music. We’re all from here, work here, live here. Our friends & families are here. Our first shows were here. Our best shows are here. We met here, and we’ll stay here.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Some lyrics are very close to my heart, and deal with my personal struggles. A few songs sort put our story into perspective. Some are based on fictitious scenarios and some were scribbled onto napkins moments before they were recorded. It’s a wide spread. The music and melodies just sort of pop into our heads as we go about our days.
Any plans to hit the road?
Oh yeah. We’ll being going coast to coast between May & July. Looking forward to getting out to these cities & festivals and seeing America!
What else is happening next in Kind Country’s world?
We’ve got a few new ideas for releases we’re excited to try out. I have 3 kids, Witty (drummer) has 2, Bran has a St Bernard and everyone else has pets, so we keep pretty busy at home! Life is good and we’re excited to be making music.