CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 17 Made in America: Part II - Page 156

W W W. C R A F T BY U M H . C O M The Decemberists are one of those bands that have reached a level of suc- cess that qualifies them to be used as a friendship test. If you’re asked by an acquaintance how much you like the band, you can be certain you’re being tested for full-on friend status. As with bands like the Grateful Dead and Slayer, if you tell someone you’re a fan, there are a few things they’re going to assume about you. With The Decemberists, those assumptions are that you like smartly written lyrics that tell a story, you are probably well read, and you may enjoy the occasional sea shanty. With the Grateful Dead and Slay- er, those assumptions will be slightly different (albeit Slayer fans have been rumored to break into sea shanties on occasion). On their new album, I’ll Be Your Girl, The Decemberists may have just tossed those assumptions out the window, along with all your friendships. Just kidding, only some of your friendships. We got a chance to talk to Nate Query, their bass player, about the new al- bum, the new tour, how it feels to be immortalized in pop culture history, and beer, of course. Congratulations on the new album, another beautiful effort. Since the hiatus the band took after The King Is Dead, you’ve really come out hitting on all cylinders. What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World was one of my favorite albums, and now I’ll Be Your Girl is giving it a strong run for the money. Do you feel like the hiatus really influenced the strength of these last two albums, or are you guys just picking up where you left off? Yeah, it’s funny. It ended up not really being as long as we thought it was going to be. I think it was only a year and a half before Colin was like, “Hey, I’ve got some new songs, what do you guys think?” And also, the time between records is longer. We don’t take as big of a break as it seems like between records because you tour after the record, and you record before the next one. One thing that was nice though was that we all got a chance to go in our own directions for a minute. Some of us have a side project that we were doing. Everybody had a different degree of side projects. Colin has his writing, Chris Funk produces records, Jenny made a soundtrack, and a few of us had a band together called Black Prairie. Going in those directions I think gave everybody more perspective on what The Decemberists is and can be. It may be even gave us a little more energy so that when we came back, we were excited to be together in the same room. I think with both of the last two records we had that feeling. Then, with this one, we even took the extra step of trying a new producer and getting ready to try and shake things up for our own sake, so that we’re thrown off of our routine a little bit in how we made the record. But yeah, it feels like the band is in a really good space and it was fun to really take a break between records. Enough that we’re fired up to get back in a room together. You mentioned Black Prairie, that’s a side project that you guys formed over ten