Talking to the Folk-Rock Master: Big Thief

[Photo courtesy of Big Thief’s Facebook Page]

To me, Big Thief is definitely the best new band of 2016, and their debut album is exactly how it is titled: Masterpiece. It’s a fine art of love that features intense textures, with Meek’s noisy-but-melodious guitar, and bright, warm colors painted with Lenker’s stunning voice. I was lost in thought when I first listened to their music, almost feeling like I was having a conversation with a philosopher in a symposium. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to interview Buck Meek, the guitarist in the Brooklyn-based quartet, when he and the band came back to the U.S. from their Australian adventure.

MY: So real quick: what were some highlights from your recent trip to Australia?

BM: Well, we bodysurfed with a very cool promoter, BT from Love Police, and Aaron from Spunk Records. Then we played a show at a lawn-bowling club in Wombarra, near Sydney. We barbequed scallops and kangaroo. We played with killer local bands, including Body Type, Gabriella Cohen, Palm Springs, and Darren Hanlon.

MY: What’s the best food you had on the Australia tour? 

BM: We had a barbecue at our hotel, and grilled three nights in a row.

MY: Could you talk about the music scene in Australia? How’s that different from the U.S.?

BM: Everyone we met was somehow extremely laid back, while also extremely professional and efficient. The sound folks, promoters, tour managers, other bands, etc. were all so friendly and relaxed. The environment is very nurturing.

MY: What can most people expect your live show?

BM: Sometimes we pass out candy.

MY: Last year was a big year for you all. Masterpiece was named as one of the top albums of 2016 by several different music outlets. What do you think has made Big Thief into such a success?

BM: Any successes we’ve been graced with are rooted in a mixture of luck and hard work. So many dear friends have helped us out. It’s a labor of love.

MY: You’re played Sunset Tavern tonight. Is there anything you and the band wants to see or do while you’re hanging around in Seattle?

BM: I’d like to go for a hike in the Cascades if we have time. Also, we rated Silence Heart Nest our #1 breakfast of 2017, so I imagine we’ll be going there! Have you been? (Check out Big Thief’s Top 10 Breakfasts of 2016.)

MY: What’s the next big thing for Big Thief? 

BM: We’re very excited to play Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion Festival. We’ve also got a handful of dates with Conor Oberst in the US, the UK, and Europe.

MY: Last question. What’s your favorite ’90s jam?

BM: “The Kids Aren’t Alright” – The Offspring

Big Thief is playing tonight at the Sunset Tavern along with iji and Henry Jamison. This show is sold out!

MELVIN YUAN | KXSU Business Director


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