Interview: The Low Anthem


June 4 The Low Anthem´s USA-tour hits our dreamvillage of Louisville, Kentucky. They play Headliners Music Hall (together with Daniel Lefkowitz and The County Line) and it will for sure be a night to remember.

Kentuckyseven had a chat with bandleaders Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky when they visited Gothenburg, Sweden. We talked about Pringles chips, the soundtrack of Sweden and the smart kids of Deer Tick.

Welcome to Sweden! Last time you played here were a much talked-about gig at Pustervik in the summer of 2010. You recall?

“Sure, that was one special evening. It was late, late at night, a really rowdy crowd who had their fair amount of Swedish beer.  We started out with all our instruments on stage and I know we looked at each other and didn´t know which way it would turn. But after three or four songs we knew, everything connected and we really enjoyed it.”

You even played to the crowd in line outside the bar who couldn´t get in?

“Yeah, that’s right (laugh). It was sold out and a long line of people stayed outside. It was raining, and we stopped and played a song for them outside. The night was dark, it was very special. “

The song  “I´ll Take Out Your Ashes” is your most Swedish song ever, Ingmar Bergman-style. Beautiful, guilty, sad feeling. Like a soundtrack of Sweden. What can you say about that song?

“Really? Well now for sure we will play that one tonite. The song was written a night after hanging out at a bar with my friend who just told me a story about her mother passing away, about how her family was feuding about how to deal with the ashes. The family was fighting about who should come to the ceremony, and who shouldn’t. Meanwhile the ashes was at my friends house, on her kitchentable. For months. She more or less wrote the song, just telling me the story.”

In our ears you got two different type of songs. One aggressive, direct, rock-style. One slow, thoughtful, folk-style. Why does it come out like that?

”It’s all about commitment. We just don’t play the arrangements. We keep ourselves to a high standard of really being there emotionally in the songs. And whether it’s the loudest, most abrasive song or the most beautiful, inviting rich song, it’s the same level of commitment to it, so I think that is the same about those two styles. I really didn’t look at it as a matter of styles, just a matter of intensity.”

You´re from Rhode Island. What can you say about the place?

”We live in Providence, in Smithsville. There is a wonderful community of artists there, and an artschool, and Brown University, where we went. The schools are very liberal, and the area is very un-American. And also it is very off-the-map, no national music comes there. Which is kinda good.”

Deer Tick is another Kentuckyseven fav-band, also from Rhode Island, you know them?

”Sure, we know them. They are wild, but it is somewhat staged… they are actually smart kids, they are making an effort to look weird you know. They love the artistry, and they are cool like that. By the way, you need to check out another guy from Rhode Island, Death Vessel. And Brown Bird, you need to check them out as well.”

Social Media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Is that important to you? How do you handle it?

“We don´t.  I think it´s pretty boring for the fans with a twitteraccount that some publisher or pressguy takes care of. It´s seldom from the artists themselves, and rarely any personal and interesting stuff.” But we do write all the emails, for the mailing lists and such.”

Finally, the future. Where will The Low Anthem be, say in 10 years?

”Making records.”

Artist to artist:

Q: John Grant:

”How have you managed to keep from having your collective digestive systems destroyed by the ravages of Pringles whilst on the road?”

A: Ben Knox Miller: ”I think that the food at the venues saves us, coz if we were left at our own devices we would probably eat the food from the gas stations, you know those Swedish hot dogs, love em. So we balance the crappy food with Pringles. And ketchup.”

The gig after the interview was amazing, and the guys were as well. We hope to see them again in Sweden soon. And by the way, the played their most swedish song, upon request…

Read the review here: The Low Anthem @ Pustervik

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