Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell admits he isn't exactly a take-it-easy kind of guy. "Life is asking us to relax and enjoy the good life a bit," he tells Rolling Stone. "[But] I just don't handle that well. I have to keep working on plan B and plan C."
Even though his group just released their fourth studio collection, Mirage Rock, last September, during a recent five-week break from touring Bridwell has been writing prolifically. "I built this little crappy studio in my garage, and I've been in there every damn day if the kids are sleeping or they're at school or whatever. Just trying to write any minutes that I can," he says. "So there's a ton of stuff that I'm leaning on right now, and I'm feeling really good about it."
The album is already taking shape to be unlike its predecessor. "Not that there was a lot of insincerity on there," says Bridwell, "but it was kind of a good-time-feeling rock & roll album. This one I tend to be leaning more towards the sincere and loud and dark and sad," he says. "I'm trying to pay attention to the words and make sure I'm telling a story here to hopefully break some people's hearts."
Though Bridwell isn't set on rushing out a follow-up, "my original feeling right when Mirage Rock came out was that we need to hit back immediately and get an album out this year," he says. Yet there's no pressure, he stresses. "I feel like we've pressed a lot over the last 10 years. I do want to take this a bit slowly, unless all the stuff comes together quicker than I thought it would. If the stuff is begging to get written and recorded, then I would imagine we'd at least maybe start thinking about demoing this year and see how it goes."
Before they get on to the next record, Band Of Horses have an active touring schedule upcoming, including dates at Coachella, the New Orleans Jazz Fest and more. Fans may get a preview of some of the new material, says Bridwell.
His band got a little refresher on the upside of playing with other headlining bands when they were asked to play the Samsung Galaxy Experience at SXSW with the Roots.
"That's killer. That was a surprise to me," he says. "Just to be able to get into the party at all and see them, that's good enough.
"Living where I do, we don't get that many options of seeing great bands, unfortunately. We're located in Charleston, South Carolina – kind of off the beaten path for a lot of bands, so it's usually going on tour that we do get to experience live music as fans," he says. "Having a two-band bill like this, the quality of the experience is a bit more focused than, say, there are a million bands all in a catering tent, everyone looks the same, and you're trying to figure out who the hell you're gonna be able to catch in time, while also focusing on your show."