Having long enticed audiences with their eclectic rock and folk in Canada and America, The Barr Brothers have spread right across from the U.S.A. to the U.K dominating as they go. Returning from a two year hiatus, The Barr Brothers are ready to cross the ocean with their new album Queens Of The Breakers.
Hey guys! Congratulations on the release of Queens Of The Breakers. How do you feel about the audience response so far?
Thank you! So far the response seems positive, and that’s very affirming. The good news is we’re all very satisfied with this record and know that we did what we set out to do. So we’re kind of immune to good reviews/bad reviews.
Were there any nerves about returning from your hiatus?
I know it must appear like we took a hiatus, given the span of time between albums, but we were working the whole time. Not touring, necessarily, but always in a creative dynamic together. But to answer your question, there are always questions and uncertainties about how the new material will play out live. We’re confident in performing the songs individually, but how they interact with each other over the arch of a show takes a lot of trial and error. At the beginning of a tour, that’s what’s usually on my mind.
What are some of the key inspirations behind this album?
One of the virtues (and vices) about this band is that there aren’t a whole lot of references for how to proceed, mostly thanks to the fact that there’s a harp and a harpist in the group. So most of our inspiration was drawn from our own impulses and how we interact with each other. That said, the one artist we consistently referenced over the course of making this record was Tom Petty. Specifically, abandoning the need to impose lots of chord changes, riding out a feel to where rock music becomes trance music, letting the energy and the melody, more than anything, dictate the arrangement. We followed his lead on a lot of these tracks. I still can’t believe he’s gone. What a sad blow for real music.
What was it like having collaborators join you on this album, were there any major differences from your normal process?
There were actually less collaborations on this record than on Sleeping Operator. But most notable is the presence of Jess and Holly from Lucious. Dear friends, we knew we wanted their voices on something! I sent them the lyrics and melody for the bridge in ‘Defibrillation’. What they sent back was so mind blowing, it really sent the song over the top for us. They just followed their own creative instincts and expanded the song in such a tremendous way. We also had our friend Mamadou Kouyate from Burkina Faso, who plays ngoni on ‘Kompromat’, come to our studio and just solo on the track for a couple hours. That helped yield the bass line.
What comes next for the Barr Brothers?
After this next wave of touring, I’d like to get another album or an EP out with the music we left off Queens. Some of my favourite tracks didn’t all fit on this record, so I’d like to see them come out in 2018. Besides that, there’s lots of collaborations and mixing it up that we’ve been talking about doing for years. Time to get on it!
Release: Queens of the Breakers is out now.