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Interviews, Podcast

Bass Drum Of Death: The Culture Creature Interview

Bass Drum of Death mastermind John Barrett discusses his expansive new album on the Culture Creature podcast

Bass Drum of Death interview

Photos by Jeff Allen

Today on the Culture Creature podcast, hear an interview with Bass Drum of Death frontman John Barrett. Listen to the full episode via the player above or in your podcast provider of choice.

Bass Drum of Death are preparing the release of a highly-anticipated new album, Just Business, which is due July 27th (preorder here). It’s the band’s first new album since 2014. In today’s Bass Drum of Death interview, John Barrett discusses his “simple but striking” songwriting, his Mississippi hometown, ZZ Top, beer and much more. Listen to this episode of Culture Creature in Apple Podcasts or your podcast provider of choice.


Bass Drum of Death Interview Highlights

John Barrett on his goals for Bass Drum of Death’s new album, Just Business: “The goal was to kind of enhance and expand what I already do well and sound like. Also – like the song ‘Heavy’ – we wanted to throw in some stuff that maybe people haven’t heard me do before. Like, ‘Oh shit, he can do that.’ We wanted to showcase how much I’ve grown songwriting-wise, arrangement-wise, sound-wise. Our goal was to make something that’s really fun to listen to all the way through. No dull moments. That was kind of our motto. When we’d be worried about whether some part should stay in, we’d be like, ‘Is it fun to listen to?’ If it’s not, then cut it. That was the approach: just make a bigger, better Bass Drum of Death record. I think we nailed it pretty good.”

Bass Drum of Death interview

John Barrett on New York City songwriting inspiration: “It’s kinda hard to get into too much trouble in Mississippi. Whereas in New York, a night out is basically a song. Anytime I go out, something crazy happens that could turn into inspiration for a song. … There’s a song called ‘I Thought I Told You.’ It’s based around a missed connection over text. It plays out like a text message conversation. It’s just one of those things – trying to hang out with a chick in New York, you’ll go back and forth over text for two weeks… Kind of a missed connection via text message, and the weird way that that works.”Bass Drum of Death interview

John Barrett on the production of Just Business: “I worked with these two dudes, their production name is The Heavy. We recorded the record last summer and early fall in Times Square. … They have a bunch of success in alt radio, on the charts, with poppier stuff. They’re both from the Pacific Northwest and they come from punk backgrounds. The label loved that part of it, and I loved the part where, when we first met, we went to St. Dymphna’s in East Village and we just got tanked. [laughter] I was like, ‘All right, these dudes are rad.’ Then we kinda collaborated and cowrote a song, based on an idea that I had. It worked super, super well. When they work as a team, one of them is helping out with arrangements, kind of figuring out where everything needs to go in the song – tones and stuff like that – while the other one is at the computer, engineering. Then they’ll switch. It was a really, really fun process because there wasn’t any wasted time. That’s what I was really stoked about: everything moved so fast. … And they’re super, super smart, and they knew exactly what I was going for with my type of stuff.”

Listen to the complete Bass Drum of Death interview now on the Culture Creature podcast.

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