Alabama Shakes turned heads with the soulful roots-rock sound of their debut album, Boys & Girls, but the band are experimenting with new styles on their upcoming second LP.
“We have a better grasp of what we’re doing in the studio now,” drummer Steve Johnson told the Miami New Times. “As far as the songs go, I think a lot of people want to expect a Boys & Girls Vol. II almost, more digging into Southern soul or something like that, and the songs that are coming out now, they’re different. I feel like we’ve progressed in growing as songwriters, and while they’re different in that respect, it’s still not unbelievable that it’s the same band. It still sounds like Alabama Shakes, just experimenting with other sounds.”
Johnson said the band (who worked on the LP with an unnamed producer) took a new approach with their new material, bringing in unfinished pieces of songs and letting some of them “jumble around for hours.”
When asked if the band felt any pressure living up to their hugely acclaimed debut, Johnson shrugged off the suggestion, claiming they were allowed to develop their music organically.
“We haven’t really felt a whole lot of pressure to really come up with any new material,” he said. “Our management and everybody has said, ‘Take your time and let it naturally come out,’ and I feel like the songs have done just that. The writing process, anyways. The songs were there, and it’s kind of like putting them into words when you go into the studio. You have these ideas, but it’s kind of like, ‘How do we get these to make sense?'”
The Alabama Shakes are in Miami this week for Art Basel and have a few shows lined up in Alabama and Florida to round out the year.