What was your lyrical approach this time around?

I spent so much time on this record focusing on the song and the melody and all that stuff that the lyrics became, for me, an afterthought. It was like, okay, I just worked the song over and over to the point where I thought this was really good, and then I have to figure out what the lyrics are.

That’s odd, because the lyrics are really compelling. For example, does Wooden Bones point to how fragile life really is?

How precious, how fragile and how expendable it is, too. It sounds like a callous thing to say, but I really find that it’s an observer’s statement. So many people have come and gone and our time is really short here, and in a lot ways, it’s so irrelevant as well. I don’t mean that in a depressing way. To me all these observations all come around to the fact that, ‘Hey, there may be no God, there may be no point for you on this earth, but to be born like the rest and eat and then die.’

My theory is that making that realization allows you to make the most of the time you have and the people around you. The phrases might sound depressing, but seeing the world that way is empowering and it can release you in a lot of ways as well. It’s a glorious position to be able to take the life that you have and truly enjoy it, because a lot of people aren’t born into the same situation or country that most of us are, so we are incredibly lucky. But again, that’s another reason why you have to make the most of it. It is a gift.

What’s your favorite song on the record?

I really like ‘[Put The] Phone Down.’ When it became the single I was excited because that song has some very obvious pop hooks in it, but I think it’s a unique song, too. It’s like when you hear it on the radio, you go, ‘That’s interesting.’ It’s right up the middle but I think it has things that the listener can hold onto. I also think it’s a step in a different direction for us, for good or for ill.

I really like ‘Today I Feel Sure.’ I think the sonic landscape is really unique—different—and lyrically, that was the only song where I wrote the lyrics in one sitting and was like, ‘That’s the lyrics, that’s the song.’ I love the way ‘Up On The Bridge’ turned out, that’s short and it has a visual aspect to the song when you listen to it. More so on the B-sides, if you get to hear the B-sides, I wanted to have songs that told you a visual story. You could see the room where the scene is when you listen to the song.

It’s such a strong record overall.

I am really happy, because success and failure bring their own opportunities, so you do the best you can and people will either embrace it or not, but for me this is our strongest record. If any band can walk away from a project and say, ‘This is our best work,’ that’s really as good as you can do.

I really like ‘Light You Up.’

I like that one, too, and obviously we grew up listening to Brit bands—Radiohead, U2—and I felt like when I listened to ‘[Put The] Phone Down,’ ‘Bluff,’ and a couple of the other songs, the album sounds more American in a way. I haven’t figured it out in my own mind yet because I am still too close to the project. There is some sort of aggression there, too; we had U.S. guys mix it, too. I am kind of excited by it.

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