We Barbarians was originally based in California, but recently made the move to Brooklyn. What prompted the move and how did it inspire the songs on Headspace EP?
We’re all from California and we’ve lived in California our whole lives. You throw around different ideas and we had been talking about living on the east coast. We sort of tossed that idea around a bit. Then we decided to just go for it. We had some friends already living out there and we just decided to do it.
As far as the songs go, it’s interesting how your surroundings totally affect the songs. It’s kind of hard to actually pinpoint what it is specifically. They’re just different. For the EP, we recorded four of the songs in Los Angeles and one in Brooklyn. We recorded “Strange Overtones” in Brooklyn, the Brian Eno cover. That song definitely has more synths and layers on it. I think the new material we’re writing out here is probably a little bit more intricate and a little bit less simple. I think that song kind of has a bit of that too it. We’ve been writing new songs since we’ve out here and the songs are very much an extension of what we do on the EP but they’re all evolved in a different way and there’s a little bit more to them.
You mentioned writing for a new full-length album. Will any of the songs from the EP show up?
It’s too early to answer that right now. We’re just writing as many songs as we can. Those songs will definitely be in the running to be on the record but we may have twenty or twenty-five songs to choose from. One or two of them might show up but you never know.
Is there a time line for the album or is it still too early to tell?
We’re talking about recording it at the end of this year or early next year. We don’t want to wait forever for the next thing to come out. The EP is just a little taste of what’s to come from us. We don’t want to have fans waiting forever. We’d like to get it out as soon as possible. Early next year we’ll probably record it and hopefully have it out by summer.
Was it hard to find a fan base in Brooklyn?
We’ve actually toured through New York quite a bit and we’ve played some pretty big shows out here so we had a little fan base already. We’ve been touring and playing on the west coast for years now. With the east coast, there’s something about playing more frequently out there and building something, it’s kind of like starting over. Even though we have people that come out to shows for sure and have a decent fan base in New York, we’re really investing in that territory. It’s cool because Boston, D.C. and Philly are all really close to New York. It’s gives us a cool opportunity to tour a lot out there pretty easily and build something out there. I think we’re definitely in the process of building something on the east coast but we already had a small place to start from.
You’re just finishing up a headlining tour. Was this your first time headlining?
Yeah, as far as a tour goes. We’ve played a couple of headlining shows on the west coast and a few in New York but this was our first headlining tour. It was really positive. I think it’s a great way to assess where you’re really at as a band. We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had some really great opening slots on some big tours. We got to play to two thousand people, sold out shows and you think it’s awesome but you have no way of knowing how many of those people are actually We Barbarians fans. When you go out in the middle of nowhere and there are twenty-five people at the show, it’s a good way to take stock of where you’re really at. For us, even though we’ve been playing for a few years, we’re still a very young and very new band. That’s how we look at ourselves. The process of building something and growing and I think for us a headlining tour was really good. We kind of stepped out on our own.
It’s been interesting. There have been really great shows and shows where there haven’t been too many people there. I think it’s been good for us. There was one show we played in Toronto where there were only twelve people who showed up. It was really small. Two of the kids had flown in from northern Ontario and some other kids came from super far. It’s interesting to feel like there are some really hardcore fans out there.
Did you play any new songs on the tour?
We’re playing about ten or eleven songs a night. We’re playing all the songs from the EP and a few older songs and about four new songs that we haven’t recorded yet. It’s been fun to play those. It’s a really important part in the process of writing a record for us to test them out live and see how people respond to them and seeing how it sits next to an older song. I think for us it’d be really interesting to try and record a song for a record that we hadn’t played live. Just because it’s such an important part of the process for us.
What’s the response been to the new songs?
People seem to really like them. In a way, I think the response to the new songs is always a little more instant than some of the songs that were on the EP that people are more familiar with. At a few of the shows people have been coming up to us and asking what thing song was and what that song was. It helps to know that people will be into the way the record is shaping up.
Are these songs a departure from what you’ve done in the past or are they definitely We Barbarians songs?
I think, going back to what I was saying about how New York is effecting our song writing, I think that they’re definitely We Barbarians songs and in the style of how we do things. But there’s an evolution with a bit more layers happening. I think it sounds like what you would expect from a natural evolution for us. It’s hard to describe since it’s not completely worked out yet but I think it’s definitely a little bit more intricate and bigger.