10 (More) Questions: Ed Jurdi of The Band of Heathens

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With a new record, Sunday Morning Record and a new line-up, The Band of Heathens has been through some changes. Founding member Ed Jurdi took some time to answer 10 more questions about the record, the band and this new chapter.

Q: The Band Of Heathens has such a fabled start at the old Momo’s Club, but the new record seems to be the start of a brand new chapter, what can you tell us about the new band line up and how it came to be?

A: The new band really rose up out of the old band. We had some line-up changes in the past year and a half and we were fortunate to have guys step in and not just fill the shoes of the old guys, but bring something new and fresh to the table, which is vital in moving forward. We were lucky in that we had Trevor Nealon (Keys) with us for a while, so when Richard Millsap (drums) came into the picture, we were off and running.

Q: Can you talk about the impact of a line-up change on the band on the music or the approach to making a record?

A: It offered us an opportunity to wipe the slate clean in a sense. The new guys brought a different creative dynamic to both the studio and the stage. The changes were ultimately all positive and really helped us cultivate an environment where we were excited about moving forward and creating something new.

Q: I read somewhere that there were over 30 songs to pick from in the recording process, how do you narrow that down?

A: We chose the ones that we felt fit best together to make a record.

Q: What are you most proud about on Sunday Morning Record?

A: Completing it! It’s always satisfying when you go down to the creative well and come up with something that excites you and makes you want to work through the entire process again.

Q: The record still maintains that funky, “Band of Heathens” sound… what does it feel like to have a signature sound or something that when someone hears your songs out of the context of listening to an album (like on the radio) they can go… “this is the BoH!’ without hesitation?

A: We honestly don’t sit around and talk about stuff like that, because if we did, I’d think we would be trying to re-create the past, which is something that we’ve never been interested in.

I guess I can see how someone might think there are signature components to our songs, whether it be the vocal harmonies or guitar sounds, but ultimately we’re just trying to put musical combinations together that excite us and are pleasing to our ears.

Q: There have also been several live records (Double Down in Denver… etc) how does the new record translate on stage?

A: We’ve been playing a handful of the songs off the new record, and they’ve been translating great.

Q: What about cover songs, what have you guys been working on or want to try out next in terms of making other peoples music your own?

A: Yeah, we’re always working on shuffling in new material, be it covers or originals that have slipped through the cracks.

Q: We’ve talked about influences before, but is there any one that you try and channel sometimes either in a songwriting context or in a performance situation?

A: I think we’ve all been doing this for so long, that we’re kind of passed the point where we’re looking to directly channel anything other than a great idea. I’m sure influences can be heard in the music, but in the end all of those influences are like tools in the tool box, and at this point we go to them unconsciously or subconsciously, kind of like grabbing a hammer or a screwdriver.

Q: What trajectory do you see/wish for the Band of Heathens to be on?

A: I hope the same one we’ve been on. To continue to make records and tour and grow our fan base, which we’ve done slowly over the past 8 years. We’ve always had goals that we felt were achievable and allowed us to be sustainable. We’ve built it completely from the ground up, with almost no outside help. That has also allowed us to shift gears and really go where we want to go creatively.

Q: With the new record out, what do you hope fans will be most excited by on it/or in the live show?

A: Ultimately we have no control of what people think, but I hope that they dig the new music and want to be a part of the shows, this whole system works a lot better with positive audience participation!

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