As most everyone knows, we here in Seattle have an amazingly rich and diverse musical scene. And there is incredible amount of talent. But its no secret that the sister city to our South is a musical hotbed of talent as well. This weekend one of Portland best bands is coming to Seattle to share a bill with two of Seattle’s best at The Tractor Tavern. So as strange as this sounds….get there by “doors”, grab your refreshment and secure a spot up close, cause Weinland opens the show, and they are not to be missed. I recently was able to nab a interview with Adam Shearer and he was kind enough to indulge us.
Adam nods stoically returning the appreciation
I’ve read that financially the band as a whole put everything into the latest release “Breaks In The Sun”, didn’t that put alot of pressure on you, or was it just a natural decision for everyone?
Nope, nothing natural about it all. I mean, we had to do it no question. In these financially dark times getting someone to pay for your records is even harder than ever. Sure, we have a record label that paid for a lot of the production and promotion costs, but if we weren’t willing to put our own money up the record wouldn’t have been able to come out.. its just a hard time to put out records, but we didn’t want ours to sit, so we made it happen. Two of us put everything we had into it and along with everyone else in the group, spent the entire last year living hand to mouth so we could tour the record. So, I wouldn’t say it was natural.. there are a lot of red flags when you’re deciding to empty your savings for a music project.. but we had to do it. As for pressure? Ya. Loads. On us as individuals, as a group, to our partners and lovers, families. But it was worth it. We’re very proud of the record.
Alot of people love this album, and have fawned all over it. For sales sake maybe, does ”their” opinion matters, does it have any impact on you?
Absolutely. We make music as members of our community. When good folks show appreciation for what we’ve done it means the world to me. I’m not hounding our press anymore like I used to in the beginning (reading every article to see what people are saying), but sincerely, I appreciate it so much.
Locally it seems like you’ve been pretty busy with shows and what not, and lately I read you guys are opening for The Decemberists …. nice opening slot. How did that come about?
Ya, we’ve been staying local taking care of business for a bit as we near the end of the “Breaks In The Sun” record cycle.
Ya, we’re playing with The Decemberists
here in Portland in a couple weeks. I don’t know how it came about really.. we’ve been pals with those guys for a couple of years played with their various projects, opened for their solo shows, etc… finally the stars align and we get to have a WEINLAND show with The Decemberists. Obviously we’re really excited. They’re great musicians and great people.. so its a big deal as far as we’re concerned. I guess it just came about from hard work, lots of work, and being friendly while you work… those things are all important!
There is obviously a large folk movement going on in music. How do you guys set your-self apart?
I don’t know, has anyone noticed us?? haha. Ya, big folk happenings right now.. we’re different simply because we’re doing it the way we see fit. We’re not specifically trying to recreate anything or be genre specific.. we just are what we are because that’s the music we like. I suspect our next record will be a bit more of a big rock record… the aesthetic and sensibility will be the same simply because I’m not in control of where I come from, i.e. my writing inspiration, but our live shows have turned much more into “band” shows. Initially as a band formed around a songwriter, we kept it pretty mellow.. and we still do so frequently, but we’re also a bit explosive at times on stage.. loud and aggressive.. I think we’re ready to represent that a little bit in our records.
Whats bands have inspired you? and what in your mind would be a dream collaboration with Weinland?
I’ve liked all of the super cool bands that popped up in 2008/2009 like the Fleet Foxes
, Bon Iver
, etc. Of course we’re big fans of the classic “who inspires you” bands like Neil Young
, Prince, etc.. Lots of little bands too. We go to so many shows and see so many great groups and they inspire us too. Bands we’ve played with and what not.. lots of awesome people out there. I don’t know, that is SUCH a hard question! Everyone I see play live inspires me in one direction or another.
Dream collaboration? Tough call! I’m all about vocals right now.. so it would probably be someone who’s deep into harmonies.. I don’t know who though.. suggestions?? (Get back to you on that)
The music video for “Im sure it helps” is incredible, and very well done. Who’s idea was it for the concept, and how long did it take?
The idea was my friend Daniel’s, from Two Penguins Productions. We talked about doing a video and he liked the buffalo on our album cover and conceptualized the video from there. We filmed for one day in The Crystal Ballroom (big thanks to those guys for giving us their giant venue for free!!) in Portland. There was some cool fact like we were the fourth band to make a video there and the other three were like The Shins, Modest Mouse, and The Decemberists or something like that.. i can’t remember. But ya, so one day filming and then Two Penguins spent like 3 months animating it!!! Crazy. But what they did was amazing. We love their work so much. Actually this year I hooked them up with another group I frequently perform with called The Portland Cello Project. Search for their video Denmark to see another Two Penguins concept music video.
LOTS of Buffalo used in your work. Is there a significance?
I found the picture on the cover of Breaks in The Sun in a family photo album. Believe it or not, there is no special effect there.. that is a real picture from my family, taken in the 70s, in a Helena, Montana Museum. I thought it was a cool image for us.. the American Buffalo is such an amazingly large and powerful animal, yet it’s story reminds us of just how fragile we are.
Your coming to play at The Tractor Tavern in Ballard with Grand Hallway, who is a very respected Seatle band, and also The Head and The Heart, who are probably the hottest band in town. You know much about them before the booking?
We’ve know of and admired Grand Hallway for quite a bit. We’ve played a few shows with Seattle’s The Maldives
.. so we’ve met quite a few people that partake in these and other Seattle groups. All awesome folks. I hadn’t heard of Head and The Heart until the show was booked.. but ever since we announced the show everyone who knows Seattle’s musical landscape has been telling us how amazing they are. We can’t wait to see both bands for the first time!! Thanks Seattle!! We’re extremely honored to be playing with more of your finest.
How often do you get to play up here in Seattle?
As much as possible! Its notoriously, amongst NW musicians, difficult for Portland bands to make a mark in Seattle and for Seattle bands to make a mark in Portland. But that is SO ridiculous!! Both awesome cities. Both have absolutely amazing music scenes. Its just crazy.. we need to unite the clans! So ya, my point is we’ll come up and play in Seattle anytime we can be involved in an awesome show like this one coming up.. maybe 4 times a year or so.
Whats on the agenda for the rest of 2010? Any big announcements? tour plans? gay marriages? children? anything?
Big Announcements: We are working on a new album! This October we will be recording our follow up to Breaks in The Sun. Super excited.
Tour: Maybe.. yet to be seen.. we are considering some options
Children: We’re done for this year.. and I don’t think there is time to get anymore in before the ball drops… so just 1 for 2010.
Gay Marriage: We are in support of equal rights.
Anything: The most exciting bits coming up are our recording, the show with The Decemberists, and our New Year’s eve show.. that we’re not allowed to talk about until mid september.. but its gonna be RAD.
Adam thanks a lot. Look forward to seeing you play on the 28th of August.