It’s been a busy past few weeks for indie rock icons Built To Spill, and there’s no respite in sight for the rest of the year.
The Boise, Idaho band, fronted by guitarist and vocalist Doug Martsch (the only original member remaining), just wrapped opening a few gigs for New York punk legends Jawbreaker, marking the 25th anniversary of the seminal album. of this group “Dear You”. Built to Spill released a new single, “Gonna Lose”, on April 12 and they will release their ninth album, “When The Wind Forgets Your Name”, on September 9 via legendary Seattle label Sub Pop Records.
As part of their tour leading up to the release of the album, Built To Spill will perform on May 15 at The Met, located in the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket. Canadian one-man band project Wetface and Boise colleague Blood Lemon will kick off the evening.
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To promote the single, a music video directed by Wetface’s Jordan Minkoff was released, featuring stellar psychedelic animation by Minkoff and fellow creative Lee McClure featuring Martsch’s vocals.
“I loved the video,” says Martsch. “I think everything Jordan does is amazing. All of his music, all of his art, his videos, his movies, everything he does is amazing to me, so I trust him more than myself. I met him when we played with his band Slam Dunk from Victoria, BC, maybe six or seven years ago, and then we did a bunch of tours together.
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In 2019, Built To Spill got a new rhythm section with the addition of bassist Melanie Radford of Blood Lemon and drummer Teresa Esguerra. This returned the band to its original structure after a few years as five musicians, a change that Martsch felt was necessary for economic reasons.
“We weren’t really making enough money to support six people, with our sound engineer being part of our share of the money,” he says. “…Being three people again makes a big difference, and it’s also fulfilling artistically. It’s fun to do that. … Actually, I really appreciate the pressure it puts on me as a guitarist.
“Whenever there are two guitars, they get lost in the mix of each other. And it’s hard to really know what the audience is going through,” says Martsch. “With just one guitar, it’s pretty obvious what’s going on for the audience.”
When a band gets essential new members like a drummer and bassist, the material can take on a different twist, due to each musician’s unique style. Martsch says Radford had to make some adjustments to fit the band’s sound.
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“I think at first they kinda messed with the songs, especially Melanie, because she’s quite a different bass player than anyone who’s played bass in the band before.” he said. “…She really has to hold back to keep a Built To Spill feel and not be too fancy for what we’re doing. It’s simple indie rock, punk rock stuff, and she’s a bassist trained professional.
“Most of the time they listen to the stuff and they get it,” adds Martsch. “They understand what it’s all about and they always bring their own thing to it. … They rock a little louder than any of the old drummers and bass players I played with in Built To Spill.
On the next album, Martsch will only say that fans can expect more of the trademark Built to Spill sound, but with grittier production because he did the work himself at home instead of call in a professional engineer.
“To me, it’s just another record and another batch of songs,” he says. “…I think I’m still too close to it to really be able to understand it or explain it to anyone.”
If you are going to …
What:Built to overflow
When: May 15, 8:30 p.m.
Or: The Met, 1005 Main Street, Pawtucket
Information: themetri.com, (401) 729-1005