Low perform in The Current studio


Low perform "No Comprende" from the album "Ones and Sixes" live in the studios of 89.3 The Current. (MPR/Nate Ryan)
Low perform in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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  • Low perform in The Current studio (full session + interview) 24:13
  • Low - No Comprende (Live on 89.3 The Current) 05:07
  • Low - What Part of Me (Live on 89.3 The Current) 03:16
  • Low - D.J. (Live on 89.3 The Current) 05:30

Just days after the release of their 11th album, Ones and Sixes, Low stopped in to The Current's studio for a session hosted by Jade.

Low have played together since 1993, but frontman Alan Sparkhawk has a simple formula for the way the band members have sustained their passion and creativity for more than two decades. "Luckily we've always been pretty naïve," Sparhawk says, "and [we] didn't really know what we're doing and always felt like we're learning."

For Ones and Sixes, Low recorded at Justin Vernon's April Base studio in Eau Claire, Wis., and worked with producer and engineer BJ Burton. "We've bveen able to work with a lot of great people," Sparhawk says. "That, in a lot of ways, is sort of a key. You kind of always need to find a new way, a new filter to try to see what you do will end up being."

Here are additional highlights from Low's interview with Jade:

On working with producer/engineer BJ Burton on Ones and Sixes:

Sparhawk: "He's a great engineer and he's pretty forward thinking and he's trying to make new music. He's done a lot of it already, and he was just the right person I think for the songs that we had and sort of where we were mentally."

On the experience Sparkhawk has gained from working as a producer:

"Every time that you're forced to be on the other side and sort of be either the teacher or the coach or the cheerleader, you gain a lot of perspective about the next time you're in front of the mic again. … Trying to help someone else out, you bring back a lot to yourself, actually."

Parker and Sparhawk, on their working relationship:

MP: "I usually write my own lyrics. … I do like singing my own words. … When Alan writes the lyrics in a song that I eventually sing, he does interject a bit, gives me some advice, because in his mind, he's heard it how he's sung it. But I'm pretty easygoing; I can usually deal with that. We've been doing this a long time. I guess we've kind of figured out how the other one ticks and how the other one works."

AS: "We don't really have to talk about it too much. It just kind of falls in place most of the time."

On how much of their lyrical content reflects their actual lived experience:

AS: "We're pretty careful with stuff. I'm sure some reality creeps in there and it's definitely based on experience of some things … It doesn't feel like you're baring your own soul as much as just being true to the moment. Let everyone else's experience dictate what it means and where the weight is."

MP: "I guess you like to think that others can get their own interpretation. It's [about] the human experience."

On the use of electronic drums and other digital effects on Ones and Sixes:

MP: "We did branch out and do a little electronic drums sometimes because there's so much cool stuff out there that sounds really, really great. I played live on some of it; some of it was drum machines. Working with BJ, he kind of has his ear to that type of stuff, so we knew that he would really be willing and able to incorporate different sounds than we would normally use ourselves."

AS: "Some of it is actually just taking what's already there and re-treating it — you take a drum and distort it and it's going to start acting differently. … Guitars and keyboards have sort of been the most manipulated instruments in the past, and I think in the last decade or so, drums have definitely come forward. Maybe voice is just starting to happen now; people are starting to do crazy stuff with voice and aren't so concerned about keeping it clean and pure."

Songs Performed

"No Comprende"
"What Part of Me"
All songs off Low's album Ones and Sixes, out now on Sub Pop Records.

Hosted by Jade
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Web feature by Luke Taylor

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14 Photos

  • Alan Sparhawk of Low
    Alan Sparhawk of Low performs in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Alan Sparhawk of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Alan Sparhawk of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Steve Garrington and Alan Sparhawk of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • low_4
    Mimi Parker of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Mimi Parker of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • low_6
    Alan Sparhawk of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Mimi Parker of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • low_8
    Steve Garrington of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • low_9
    Alan Sparhawk of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Steve Garrington of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Alan Sparhawk of Low (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Low portrait 2
    Low are (L to R) Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker and Steve Garrington. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Low triptych
    Low: Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, Steve Garrington (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

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