The Avett Brothers – Interview & Photo Gallery The Avett Brothers – Interview & Photo Gallery

Bob Crawford from The Avett Brothers sat down with Pinpoint to discuss their new album, I and Love and You. Recently signed with the major record label, Columbia, The Avett Brothers have managed to grab the attention of music lovers and entertainment critics alike, by interchanging bluegrass and rock and roll; the result, original sound.

The Avett Brothers – HOB San Diego 4-29-10

PPM: The Avett Brothers have been creating short chaptered videos for the new album, I and Love and You. Have you received a good response from fans?

Bob: Yeah, we have. We’ve had a great response. Everybody’s been real. I think a lot of people that have been with us, have been with us for ten years. They really get a kick out of the videos, and it’s like something extra for them. It gives them an inside look on how we operate, and I think they really appreciate us taking the time to do them.

PPM: How has your experience been working with a major record label, Columbia, compared to a more indie label (Ramseur Records)?

Bob: Sure, there are a lot of preconceived notions about working with a major record label like Columbia, but we’ve had no problem. They’ve really added a nice group of people to our team. You know, we feel like we’ve always had a small team, and we feel like Columbia has been really supportive of us. And everybody that we’ve worked with at Columbia is enthusiastic about what we do, so that makes us, you know, really happy to work with them.

avett-bros-hob-4-29-10-0066_0 PPM: You guys are working with Rick Rubin? Has he introduced any new influences or affected your style in any way?

Bob: Well I mean he’s kinda a silent contributor to what we do largely. But he has inspired us to practice more. And we weren’t always musicians, we kinda just went out, and our abilities were kinda just based on whether we could deliver the songs. It is still like that, but we’re getting better. Now we want to be good musicians, and we work harder at playing together as a band, and you know, just tryin to get as good as you can get. The better we can get, the better the song we can get, we think.

PPM: So would you say it is a little more structured, because I feel like this new album is more complex and refined. Would you agree with that, or…?

Bob: No yeah sure, I absolutely agree with you. And that’s just maturing. You know, in everyway you mature, things change.

PPM: I wanted to ask you about the songwriting process? You play bass, so does everyone get together to discuss the sound, or do you get a piece of music from Seth and Scott, and then write the bass into it separately?

Bob: Different ways, different ways. Like sometimes it will happen where we’re all together and the song is being… you know, you really got to see what brings the song to the table.  Then, sometimes the three of us, will hash out the way it’s gonna sound, you know, where the lyrics will fit in, and what kind of music parts are going to be solos, or is gonna be a bridge, or something in the instrumental section, we’ll kinda hash that out. And then sometimes, we live four hours away from each other, so they’ll send me files sometimes, and I’ll just work on bass parts, and listen to the songs, then give them a call back, and give them my ideas. So it really works. Probably every way it could work, it does work.

avett-bros-hob-4-29-10-0125_0 PPM: About the songwriting, would you say a lot of it has been about self-reflection and self-criticism? Would you say that there is going to be a consistent theme of morality (In future albums)?

Bob: Well, yeah that’s a good question. I don’t really think any of our themes have been constant. If you go back a few albums, you’ll see it is about girls and cars. It’s kinda been added to, as we’ve grown as men, and have gotten families, and changed. Personally, I think with the songs, the subject matter has changed. You reflect upon different things, you know different things come up. You begin to see there is an end to the road, you die and such. So, yeah I think the themes will continue to change, and evolve as we do.

PPM: Yeah life happens, and you kinda have to go with it…. I’ve seen a great deal of Scott paintings mirroring similar themes. I’ve heard Seth’s darling recordings, and you also have a side project. I’m sure you guys are really busy, do these projects ever interfere and affect the group? Do they ever overlap into The Avett Brothers?

Bob:  Well they can’t. They can’t interfere with Avett Brothers. We can’t let it. We’re not allowed to let it interfere with Avett Brothers. And in fact it needs to be curved with families now. Like I do The Overmountain Men, and it was great, it was awesome, and so much fun. And you know, if I wasn’t… or in another time in my life, I would be jumping from Avett Brothers to Overmountain Men, Avett Brothers to Overmountain Men, you know jumping back and forth, and doing music all the time. Then you got to put things in their compartments, you know things need to go in their own space. The most important thing is the Avett Brothers, well I mean the most important thing is family, then the most important work thing is the Avett Brothers, and so sometimes I get to do the things I do, but they need to be put in perspective.

You know you keep them all in perspective, and you got a side project, and you do them with other people, and you also enjoy being with those people too. Overmountain Men went really, really well, and we’ve had a lot of great opportunities, that those guys are taking advantage of, and that I can’t be with them cause I’m already with a great job. So, I think we’ll always do things like that. I think we have to, that’s just how we are, we do it cause we love it. Overmountain Men is something where we just did it cause we loved it.

(Paused and ordered lunch real quick)

… You know we did it cause we loved it, and we know we’re not going to make a million dollars off of probably anything (laughs). Definitely not with Overmountain Men, but we’re doing it cause we could do it, and we like each other. You know, it is nice to be in a position to do things like that, cause you want to, and you know how to with the means. So again, I think we’ll always do things individually, but that the priority is The Avett Brothers, and it always will be in the foreseeable future… and I think it just makes you stronger too, It’s made me, Scott, Seth, stronger as a unit, when we go off and do things like that. Then come back together. I think it makes us better at what we do.

avett-bros-hob-4-29-10-0059 PPM: Your band, Over Mountain Men, is more of a purist bluegrass group right?

Bob: Well sure, it’s rootsy. We definitely have a diverse musical sound. Like, there are some songs where we (almost) don’t put any guitar on it. We don’t put any guitar, just cause we didn’t want to do it with guitar. Then there is some really bluegrassy stuff. Then there is some really weird stuff. See when you are doing stuff that no one asked you to do, and you are doing it completely for yourself, you can do whatever you want, you don’t care about criticism. It’s great because it’s very eclectic. There are a lot of different, weird sound sculptures in it, just some really weird stuff going on.

It just this guy David Childers, who is a great songwriter in North Carolina, his son Robert plays drums with him, but he has some other really great bands, like the 2013 Wolves. So the three of us got together and collaborated on this project. We’re all really close, and it’s all really great. I think people should check it out, and check out David Childers too, cause he is a pot of gold worth of great songs. He is a great songwriter who should probably be better known in the world. I think they love him in Europe, in England, they love him in the Netherlands, and a lot of people in America that know of him love him, but he just hasn’t broken through. The band, The Gourds, they’ve worked with him a lot, he’s a great guy. So knowing with him, and having a friendship with him, it’s bonded this project between us. We started workin on it… talk about time frames and being busy… we started in 2006, and it just now came out in January (2010). But we’re on a life time frame, we’re going to do another one, but it might not be for a couple years, it doesn’t matter. We are all busy, and there are things we got to do.

PPM: And sometimes things don’t need a deadline, that’s what is nice about Over Mountain Men.

Bob: Yeah, definitely doesn’t need a deadline. That would be the worst thing.

PPM: Has The Avett Brothers gotten a good response from Europe as well?

Bob: Yeah, we did great in Europe. It couldn’t have went better. You know playin in front of a crowd in Australia, or Norway, or England, or Cleveland, you know it doesn’t matter, I think what this US and Europe trip has taught me is that people are all the same. You know people are completely the same, but really, the crowds we have there, are the same as the crowd we have in the States. Good people who love music, and are happy to enjoy it.

PPM: What’s next for The Avett Brothers? Are you going to just keep touring, head back to the studio, maybe take a break and visit the family?

Bob: We got three more shows this week, and then one show in North Carolina next Sunday, and then we have three and a half weeks off. We’re just going to keep going, but it’s still nice to have some time off.

Truth & Salvage Co.

Words by: Bootsie
Photos by: Big Ben

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