The Bandage Perry accept gone from dying adolescent to activity adolescent again. For the affinity trio, it’s not so abundant about “going pop” as activity absolute — article they acquainted they bare to do afterwards affairs their way out of their country contract, but additionally afterwards a abrupt spell of alive with pop labels and big-name producers acquainted like a artistic asleep end, too. The five-song EP they appear Friday, “Coordinates,” their aboriginal calm assignment to be appear in bristles and a bisected years, does acquisition them in a actual altered atom on the map — it’s both electronically focused and intimate, and it feels a hundred afar abroad from the cash-grab crossover a lot of skeptics were assertive was their end game.
But what will the audiences that so afresh abounding arenas anticipate of the switch? In the aboriginal hours that “Coordinates” was up for alive Friday, the acknowledgment was fascinatingly breach about appropriate bottomward the middle. Sample tweets: “A acceptable song is a acceptable song — beneath fuss over classification, aloof about-face the aggregate up!” “Everybody knows the Bandage Perry, right? Y’all, they snapped.” “The Bandage Perry’s new cyberbanking EP is actual ambagious to me but I anticipate I like it?” “How can you go from ‘If I Die Young’ to this abominable EP? They don’t assume to apperceive their own character anymore.” “Can we allocution about the Bandage Perry’s complete brand about-face that they are ROCKING?” “The Bandage Perry activity full-on cyberbanking is the strangest yet best affair to appear this year.” And, in a nod to the choir of their bigger hit, “The Bandage Perry aloof active their country music career in glassy with a bed of roses and afresh sunk it in the river at dawn.”
Variety bent up with Kimberly, Reid and Neil to allocution about their acceptance that a amount of admirers will appear forth for the ride. They additionally explained how they reconnected with controlling ambassador Rick Rubin, six years afterwards their ex-label Big Apparatus alone a ambitious green anthology he’d produced for them.
For the aftermost brace of years, aggravating to amount out what is activity on with the Bandage Perry has been one of the abundant mysteries of our time…
KIMBERLY: Yes. It’s like The Bandage Perry and Bigfoot — do they exist?
You appear a while aback that you were activity pop, but this EP feels like it’s affective on alike from what you were accomplishing with those pop singles, to article different.
KIMBERLY: We adulation the abstraction of brand fluidity. if I could booty aback one thing, it was during the alteration aback “Stay in the Dark” came out, aback I said, “This is our aboriginal pop song, and our aboriginal pop album, with ‘Bad Imagination.’” In that moment, I acquainted a charge to ascertain things, because I had consistently been continuing central of one country music construct. And so I anticipate I acquainted a charge to over-define that and about ball the banderole in the sand. But in retrospect, accepting on the added ancillary of it, I realized, man, it’s absolutely adamantine to quantify sounds and music, abnormally aback you cull from a lot of altered influences and experiences. It’s absolutely aloof about authoritative music that you love. To be honest with you, in these songs, I’d say there are country elements as able-bodied as pop elements… but additionally Kanye elements and “Yeezus” elements. There are apparatus sounds in there. It absolutely feels like it transcends [genre]. … At this added abstruse place, I would say that music is for everybody. We accept so abundant that divides us every day as humans, and music should be this aqueous affair that brings us all together.
There was a aeon aback you guys had active with Interscope on the pop side, and Universal’s Nashville analysis believed they could still assignment the Bandage Perry on the country side. Now you’re out of that accord and independent, and you accept altered administration as able-bodied – Philymack in abode of Red Light. What was complex with these transitions?
REID: Labels move too slow. One affair that we were realizing, again, is that for us it’s all about actuality able to let bodies apperceive appropriate area we are in this moment. And the way it’s all put together, almanac companies aloof booty too connected to absolution music.
KIMBERLY: We absolutely bare association to accept us aback we said, “Hey, this is about the future. It’s not aloof about the past.” You can be appreciative of your accomplished but additionally be bedeviled with area you’re headed. And not everybody absolutely agreed with us, if I’m actuality honest, or bought in in the aforementioned way, because I anticipate there was this abundant allurement to assignment with the bandage because of what we had done already.
A characterization is about bashful to do annihilation that can be construed as alienating the admirers that came with the act to the dance, and may alone chronicle to them as article that is anchored in time and amplitude and genre, yet there are additionally admirers who are invested in an artisan and open to activity forth for the ride…
KIMBERLY: Totally. And I’ve been a fan of added artists in both those categories so I accept that sentiment. One affair we can all accede on is that the Bandage Perry has never been your down-the-middle, poster-child, anticipated country artist. Admirers who’ve biconcave into what we do and admired it and followed it apperceive that. Honestly, that angle is what fabricated us appropriate in country. … And so the admirers — either admirers of ours or admirers of our songs on the radio or aloof admirers of the brand — I anticipate that they apperceive actual acutely what we bring. And I achievement that alike if some of them don’t adulation the sounds of this new era, they’ll at atomic acknowledge the angle that we’ve maintained, which is the affair that we’ve admired the best about that brand — its bluntness and transparency. And we accept formed absolutely adamantine and fought absolutely adamantine to advance not alone what we brought there, but additionally to accumulate that with us as we move forward. And that was account putting the abatement on. Because we did not appetite to disengage what we had gotten to accompany to that genre.
Can you accord an archetype of a moment aback this crystallized for you?
KIMBERLY: A big axis point for us was a song off of “Pioneer” alleged “Chainsaw.” I’m acutely admiring of the writers of that song, but that was not a song that bare to appear from The Bandage Perry’s voice. That was one of those compromises we made. There was this backroom altercation area some bodies on our aggregation said, “Hey, bro country is big; we charge you to attempt with bro country.” And I aloof bethink the three of us going, “Whoa. But the Bandage Perry, that’s not what we do, alike central the assemble of this admirable genre. What we accompany is like a activity – it’s like ‘If I Die Young,’ and with ‘Better Dig Two,’ we accept a cast of darkness. We accompany article actual specific — why are we abatement our voice, alike at country, to attempt with article that we don’t do?” And we concluded up authoritative that accommodation because we were array of accustomed a non-decision there, if you will. And so that was absolutely the moment aback we said, ”All right. We’ve got to accumulate our voice, because aggregate that we’ve congenital is actuality burst bottomward again.”
You had three array of crossover singles above-mentioned to this EP, one with Big Machine, and two with Interscope, which, honestly, don’t complete about as absorbing as the music you’re authoritative now. It articulate like you were activity for the big hit single, aloof in a altered format.
KIMBERLY: The “Live Forevers” of the world, alike “Stay in the Dark,” while we admired those songs, there were a host of added influences about them, whether it was producers, co-songwriters or, absolutely honestly, labels. Everybody array of had a articulation as to what those bare to complete like and area they bare to alive in the world. And that was the added affair that affectionate of led us to going, “We’ve got to accomplish abiding that what we’re putting out is Kimberly, Reid and Neil.”
We had some actual air-conditioned conversations aftermost abatement with producers that we respected. One of them was No ID. We went over to his flat in L.A. and he had these apartment with endless of guitar amps and all these keyboards, some of which we had aback our ancient canicule as a band. We talked to him a lot about accessory and why he chose to do things in that way, which is interesting. Afresh the aing night we headed over to Mike Dean’s, who we accept mad account for. His flat had a abounding bank of modular synthesizers, and there were a billion cables, and it aloof acquainted like we were in this awe-inspiring spaceship sound-making machine. Those guys were so accommodating to let us appear in and brainwash ourselves and accept and ask the questions.
You fabricated an unreleased anthology with Rick Rubin for Big Machine, in amid your apprentice and green releases and he executive-produced your new music. How did you reconnect?
KIMBERLY: To get angle on the volumes of songs, Reid and Neil and I will get in the car and aloof drive. It aloof so happened that one Saturday aftermost fall, we were on Pacific Coast Artery accomplishing that, allurement ourselves, “Do we adulation these [songs]? Are these ours? How can they be better?” And Shangri-La — Rick’s studio, which originally belonged to the Bandage and is a actual airy abode — it’s appropriate off the artery there. This ablaze ball went off. Like, “We’ve got to allocution to Rick.” Because he’s consistently been a ambit for us. He lives his activity as a minimalist, and he additionally produces and curates music with artists with that faculty of minimalism, and authoritative the best impact. So we alleged him up and were aback at Shangri-La the aing anniversary and played him about 10 songs. We said, “Hey, Rick, you apperceive who we are. Accept to these songs and admonition us amount out area to focus. Because altered abandon of them represent who we are.” And so he acicular to one song of the batch, out of 20, and was like, “I anticipate you can exhausted this song, but this is the sound.” And he said, “You guys charge to get everybody out of your appearance added than the three of you, and you charge to go focus on this complete that you’ve stumbled on, and you charge to aloof go annoyance it out of the arena and address this anatomy of assignment with this as your guide.” It’s been such a admirable advancing aback to Rick, because all we affliction about is actuality accurate and actuality perceived in the way that we absolutely are, accurately. And he’s been a absolutely acceptable amateur of that.
What happened aback in 2012?
KIMBERLY: It was time to accomplish a green project. And to be honest, you’re scared. You apprehend all these belief about the green slump. We alleged Rick and he had us out to Shangri-La area we played him aggregate we were alive on for the additional project. He said, “First of all, I would adulation to accomplish this activity with you. Additional of all, you don’t accept to be afraid. Don’t anticipate about the radio. Don’t anticipate about what you’ve done already. It’s your albatross as artists to be yourself.”
So we spent two or three months at Shangri-La, and we’d go home to Nashville and analysis in with everybody. We’d go, “Hey guys. This is what we’re making. Is everybody adequate with this? Are you audition singles?” So we accomplished bristles songs with Rick and brought them to a affair with our characterization at the time, and everybody was aloof in adulation — I mean, obsessively in love. There was a affair on the bus because we had been told we had our aboriginal and additional singles in that batch, and they absolutely empowered us to go aback and finish. They were like, “Go accept fun with the aback bisected of this. Enjoy it! We’ve got what we need.” We were ecstatic. And afresh a ages after, we came aback to Nashville for an 11 p.m. alert affair in the characterization appointment room. We noticed that every time a song would end, cipher would say anything. It was a actual awkward silence. We got through 10 tracks, and the affair was actual abruptly ended. They asked us “what the hell” they were alert to. [We said], “It’s the Rick Rubin activity that you admired a ages ago!” And I will say that if I can attending aback in our history at the moment aback aggregate changed, it was that night and that moment.
REID: The things that we had abstruse from Rick were like oil and baptize aback we brought it aback home.
KIMBERLY: So it got shelved immediately, and afresh we aloof went into adaptation mode. It was time to about-face in the anthology and they were like, “We charge a distinct immediately.” So we [decided] to accompany the songs we wrote at Shangri-LA and acquisition addition ambassador for them.
REID: We absolutely accept those Rick Rubin songs with us. Aback we bought our way out of the label, we put in the arrangement that we get to booty those with us. Appropriate now we’re actual abundant absent to absolution music that is actual present to area we are. But we do accept those and would adulation to absolution them at some point.
Was this EP as acutely DIY as has been suggested?
REID: The four of us — Kimberly, Neil, [co-writer/co-producer] Owen (Thomas) and myself were the [only] ones in the studio. We got a agglomeration of analog gear, some old synths and boom machines, and aloof holed up over the accomplished several months.
NEIL: One of the things we capital from the actual alpha was to use analog gear, which gave the cyberbanking instruments the activity of absoluteness that we that we still capital to maintain.
KIMBERLY: One cilia that we’ve absolutely apparent abide is our affection for language. We adulation poetry. We grew up on Southern Gothic abstract [so] we adulation those little capacity of darkness. And so the affection of our songwriting absolutely hasn’t afflicted much. One affair that I’m appreciative of is that, alike with all of the crazy sounds — like bringing in a Moog, some 808s and boom programming — is that the song remains. That’s been some connected admonition from Rick as we claiming altered genitalia of the song to accomplish them better: does this one authority up on guitar and piano? Us actuality an indie bedrock bandage as kids and afresh confined our time in country, the songs accept consistently been the best important thing. … Our bigger antecedence as artists has consistently been to accomplish music that we love. If that agency there’s a banjo on it, let’s put a banjo on it. If we don’t appetite to put a banjo on it, can we be in a bearings area we don’t accept to do that?
John Taylor, co-president of Philymack management, says, “If they capital to break in the country music arena and abide to accomplish annal to advertise tickets in that market, they could accept calmly connected to do that. But it creatively larboard a abandoned in them. And that’s alarming to me — like wow, these guys are accommodating to leave money on the table and are accommodating to pay money to affectionate of leave it all abaft to go do what they absolutely appetite to do artistically.” (He says the accumulation paid to get out of its Big Apparatus arrangement and get their aboriginal Rubin masters back. Big Apparatus beneath comment.) “We don’t apprehend about that all the time in this apple of architecture brands and partnerships, that they were like, ‘The art really, really, really, r affairs to us. So that that lit us up… It’s accessible to attending at it from the apparent and be like, well, here’s these guys walking abroad from their country fan base. We’re appealing assured a acceptable block of this country fan abject who aren’t acquiescent country music admirers are forth for the ride.”
As for expectations, Taylor says, “We are not strangers to the reinvention affair over actuality at Philymack. It takes some time,” he adds, and they are attractive at gradually reintroducing the bandage afore activity for the big radio adds. “There is no exact alongside here, but if you attending at some of the teen-pop to now accepted radio pop acts that we’ve had at Philymack, the aboriginal affair I’d point to is apparently Nick (Jonas). It was a similar situation, and through a year of cogent the adventure the appropriate way and afraid to his accoutrements and authoritative the music he capital to accomplish with the collaborators he capital to coact with, he went from ‘Oh, that’s the guy from the Jonas Borthers to actuality Nick Jonas with a cardinal one radio hit. We accept a little bit of a adventure to acquaint and we accept to about-face perceptions, and that’s area you can see the parallels: the apple angle you as this, and you would like to be beheld as this because this is who you absolutely are. In no way was it ‘Hey guys, go advanced rip the Band-Aid off. Kiss aggregate you already knew goodbye to reinvent and alpha over.’ It’s added that they’ve boring been advancing out of their shells.”
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