by Mac Wilson
November 12, 2016
The title of Band of Horses' fifth studio album, Why Are You OK, was created by frontman Ben Bridwell's three-year-old daughter. Playing with a smartphone, the youngster tapped out a string of characters that got autocorrected to "why are you ok" — inspiring the album title. "She just got hired in the family business," Bridwell jokes. "She's making us seem a lot deeper than we are, so that's nice."
Now touring in support of Why Are You OK, Band of Horses came to town to perform a show at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, but not before stopping at The Current's studio for a session hosted by Mac Wilson.
Bridwell, along with bandmates Tyler Ramsey and Ryan Monroe, play an acoustic set that features three different songs from three different records: 2006's Everything All The Time, 2007's Cease To Begin and 2016's Why Are You OK. "It's fun for us to reimagine and learn new things about the songs we've been playing for years," Bridwell says. "Honestly, we just appreciate all the support y'all have given us over the decade."
Of particular interest to Minnesotans, Bridwell met his wife in Minneapolis 10 years ago, when Band of Horses played the 7th Street Entry. When the couple were expecting their first child, they lived in Minneapolis for a while. It was then that Bridwell began writing what would eventually become the song, "In A Drawer." The first verse of the song includes the line, "We should be living in a warehouse district" — raising the question: Is that a reference to the Warehouse District in Minneapolis? "You know what's funny? I hadn't even considered that [until now]," Bridwell says. "I wrote that song here. I had a warehouse space that I'd set up, and a lot of bands practiced in there, but it was pretty industrial over there … This song was absolutely written in that time that I was living downtown."
Naturally, the song also raises the question of what exactly is in the drawer. "I rewrote the song so many times and couldn't find the right lyric," Bridwell explains. "There's all this imagery of past moments and things like that, retracing your steps. So I was like, 'I'm going to look in a drawer to find a memento that might trigger something that might help me get over this final hill' … didn't find anything of worth in there, so I just wrote about the drawer itself, honestly.
"I hate to give it away and ruin the surprise," Bridwell continues, "but really, it was the song that was in there."
Use the audio player above to hear the complete in-studio session, including the stories behind Jason Lytle's and J Mascis's involvement in the album, Why Are You OK.
"The Great Salt Lake"
"The General Specific"
"In A Drawer"
The first song is from Band of Horses' 2006 album, Everything All the Time, and the second song is from their 2007 release, Cease To Begin; both are available on Sub Pop Records. The third song is from Band of Horses' 2016 album, Why Are You OK, released on Interscope Records.
Hosted by Mac Wilson
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor
Band of Horses - official site