Built to Spill Gear Up for Next Record

Frontman Doug Martsch 'trying to keep the songs short'

November 2, 2011 11:15 AM ET
built to spill
Musicians Brett Nelson, Doug Martsch and Scott Plouf of Built to Spill perform
Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Alt-rockers Built to Spill have expanded their fan base with each successive album. Their most recent, 2009's There Is No Enemy, was the band's highest-charting release yet, peaking at Number 50 on the Billboard 200. With any luck, their next studio set could be their mainstream breakthrough. One small problem, however – fans are in for a bit of a wait to hear it. 

Asked if the untitled album will be released in 2012, singer-guitarist Doug Martsch tells Rolling Stone he hopes so: "It might even be 2013. I haven't made a record in less than two or three years in a long time."

On tour through much of 2010, the band took an extended break after performing in Australia in January. Now they're gearing up again. "We just played a couple of shows last week, and we have a couple of shows next week – just random shows around the country," in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Martsch says. "We're working on writing some new songs and trying to figure out when is a good time to record those."

The band, which also includes guitarists Jim Roth and Brett Nelson, bassist Brett Netson and drummer Scott Plouf, will probably self-produce the album, expected to include songs with the working titles "Living Zoo," "So," "Never Be the Same" and "Open."

Though Built to Spill will soon get to work in earnest on the album, they plan on playing in front of more audiences in 2012. "I don't want to go out and headline a tour until we have a record out," says Martsch. "But we have plans to go to South by Southwest and to take part in a Boise showcase." The band hopes to find a suitable partner for a double-bill tour, he says. 

Martsch, known for his twisting, expansive guitar runs, allows that he may have something up his sleeve – a little brevity. "I'm trying to keep the songs short," he says, "and there's a couple of pretty poppy songs. But they're all in different stages right now, and it's hard to tell what real direction they'll take."

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