Since their formation in 2001, Minus The Bear have consistently been releasing stellar records. The group’s comprised of some extraordinarily talented gentlemen that have branched off the post-hardcore scene of the late ‘90s. Some band members can be noticed due to their older, more underground projects, such as Botch and Kill Sadie.
Perhaps the most interesting thing is that Minus The Bear are on a whole different level with their soothing nature and soft sounds. As their discography progresses, so does the experimentation in their technique and the evolution of band’s sound. I recently spoke with guitarist Dave Knudson about the new record, Infinity Overhead, Minus The Bear’s current tour and more. Catch Knudson and the rest of the band at the Electric Factory on Sept. 28 and the Best Buy Theater on Sept. 29. A transcription of our conversation is below:
Congratulations on another successful release. What was it like writing and recording Infinity Overhead?
It was a really great process. I personally enjoyed and loved writing this record. It was a little bit different from how we worked on Omni [2010, Dangerbird]. Omni was more of us jamming in the practice space together. Sometimes I would come in with something a little bit more planned out, but a lot of it was kind of “off the cuff jamming” stuff, whereas with this we kind of stripped it down more. Erin [Tate, drummer] and I met before anyone else came in, and kinda bashed out arrangements and ideas. I started bringing ideas that I thought were cool. I did a couple of demos here and there and we worked on that stuff. It was a lot of Erin and I bashing through stuff and putting together rough skeletons, and then having everyone come in and reevaluate what we were doing and rearranging stuff, or putting parts here or adding or subtracting.
Who chose the title of the record and why was it chosen?
Infinity Overhead is a lyric that comes from the song “Diamond Lightning.” Funny story; for a long time the working title for the record was called Dinner. Every song was a different entree. We had “Chicken Fried Steak,” we had “Surf And Turf,” we had “Veggie Meatloaf.” “Breakfast For Dinner” was even a song title. So going into it we didn’t really have real song or album titles. Towards the end of the recording process we decided we needed to come up with a title. Infinity Overhead comes from “Diamond Lightning,” which I think is [the band’s] favorite song on the record, and just seemed to speak to where we were going and how we were feeling at the time, so it seemed a very apt title.
The guitar tone on Infinity Overhead sounds more organic. Is this what you were aiming for?
With songs like “Steel And Blood” and “Lonely Gun,” I personally wanted them to get a little more dirty and a little more nasty. The last record had more of a keyboard wash, which was cool for that record, but I think that for this one I wanted to go back to something more gritty and a little more in your face. “Steel And Blood” is probably one of my favorite guitar sounds that we’ve ever done with Minus The Bear. I love the word filthy, and I just love the way it comes out of the speakers. I was just very happy to see that captured on this record.
Is Infinity Overhead a response to Omni or something entirely different?
Probably subconsciously it was a reaction to Omni. I don’t think we were ever consciously like, “Let’s make a record that sounds totally different from the last one.” It was just something that we wanted to do. I know I wanted to play more guitar on this record. On the last one, the keyboardist had a little more prominence whereas with this one I just wanted to fall back in love with my guitar. I wanted to do all of the stuff that I had heard in my brain. I feel like this record is a combination of all of the styles that I have been playing before, whether it’s the tapping from the really early records or the playing from Menos El Oso [2005, Suicide Squeeze], or some of the prog stuff from Planet Of Ice . I feel like this record encompasses all of our past records, if that makes any sense.
How have the crowds’ reactions been to the new songs at your live performances?
Well we were just in the UK, and then we did some dates in the Midwest this summer where we debuted “Steel And Blood” and “Diamond Lightning,” and people were digging it. I feel like “Diamond Lightning” is going to be one of those songs that we end up playing for a long time. Even before the record came out, the crowds’ reaction was pretty amazing. It just seems like people love that song. It’s going to be one of the songs, lyric wise, that people are just going to want to sing along with.
How is it playing in Minus The Bear compared to when you were in Botch?
I think there is cool stuff about both bands. I’m really proud of both bands. I’m glad Botch was able to do what we wanted to do as a few nobodies from some small, stupid town. I’m still very flattered that people love it. With Minus The Bear, I just feel like my guitar playing has grown in a different way, but it’s still being influential and inspiring, which I think is the most important thing. I find that you inspire through your own musical capabilities. Both bands have fulfilled my musical desires so far and I’m just excited to see what the next phase is with Minus The Bear, or even further.
What made you guys choose Caspian, Cursive, and Girl In A Coma as openers for your tour?
Cursive we’ve been friends with for a long time. We took them out on tour a while ago, and they were actually one of the first bands to take us out nine years ago. We love those guys and with them having a new record out and us having a new record out, the timing was just perfect. When we were listening to the bands that were submitted, Caspian blew us away. We just thought that they were amazing. We felt that it would be a great beginning for an opening band to be that loud and able to really get people’s attention right off the bat. I think it’s going to be a cool aspect of the show. Girl In A Coma we played a random festival with in South Texas. They were on the submission list and we decided to check them out, and they put on a really badass show.
What are your future goals with Minus The Bear?
Right now we’re just focusing on promoting the new record and getting it heard by as many people as possible. We’re just trying to continue and expand our fanbase as we have for the past 10 years. Soon we’ll probably start working on another acoustic record. Within the next year, we would like to write one or two new songs and rework some of the ones from this record, and the last one to be put out as a limited edition LP. Other than that, we just want to continue writing music that inspires us and gets people pumped. It’s been a great ride and we love and appreciate all of the fans and all of their support.
Minus The Bear will be at the Electric Factory on Sept. 28 and the Best Buy Theater on Sept. 29. Infinity Overhead is available now through Dangerbird. For more information, go to minusthebear.com.