An Interview with Cory Murchy of Minus the Bear

Minus the Bear kicked off their fall US tour in Sacramento last night and bassist, Corey Murchy, took some time off before set-up to talk about their gig tonight at Slim’s and touring life in general. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out Minus the Bear and get tickets here!

SFBayAreaConcerts: Thanks Corey for making the time today. Let’s kick right off! You've just released Acoustics II, what can fans expect on this tour?

Corey Murchy: Well, we’re planning on doing a bit of an acoustic set kind of in the middle our regular electric set. Just a few songs and then sprinkle it around with a bunch of older songs and newer ones and... it's kind of a diverse set list on this run.

SFBAC: How far back will the material span?

CM: Pretty much from the beginning, at least from Highly Refined Pirates which was our first record and then everything in between so… we're playing a brand new song that we haven’t played before and yeah, it should be good!

SFBAC: Regarding the new album, how did the concept for Acoustics (I) and now Acoustics II come about?

CM: It was just something that we had played around with the idea for a long time and when we did the first acoustic record it's kind of nice to just play a lot of our old songs in a stripped down manner because there are so many pedals and effects going on traditionally. It's kind of nice to just stick with the essence of the songs and kind of just distill away all the other stuff. And as soon as we did the first one it was like, wow, let's do this again, and so on this one we managed to do 10 or 11 songs and make a full album out of it.

SFBAC: And you guys did this partially through Pledge Music. How did that come about?

CM: Yeah. It was mostly just a way to pre-order the album, we’d recorded the record in January. We were done with principal recording and everything that went along with that pretty early on. With the Pledge, it was a good way to pre-order in a different fashion and kind of offer some other incentives and perks if you will.

SFBAC: Officially, it's still a Dangerbird Records release?

CM: No. it's a not a Dangerbird release at all. It will just be kind of self-release. We kind of set-up a record label when we did the first Acoustics album called Tigre Blanco and then Suicide Squeeze [Records] is going to be releasing the vinyl aspect, which is what they did last time as well. It’s great to continue working with those guys because we've got such a great relationship with them.

SFBAC: What's your opinion of the state of the industry overall?

CM: It's constantly evolving and changing, so in that regards we are constantly trying to evolve and change with it. There’s no set way to do it anymore, there used to be a template of, ‘okay this is how you can go about things,’ and now it's really wide open with technology, media, and all that stuff. You can do whatever you want, it's just up to you and how you want to do it. It's kind of cool.

SFBAC: Has there been anything that has worked particularly well for you guys versus experiments that you've tried that clearly haven’t?

CM: I think with us, that we tour so much, and we play a lot of shows that, I think our fans love coming to the shows and love the records. I think the two aren't always mutually exclusive. You can take away something from our live show that you can’t necessarily from our record and vice versa. Our fans are just really what’s kept us going and allow us to continue touring all these years and make records. You can sit and try to strategize the game plan of how to release a record, how to do it, and how to deal with media and press, and all that, but really you just need to put the damn thing out and go play. That’s what we've found to work for us. Kind of a no brainer.

SFBAC: Specific to touring then, what do you find is the toughest thing about being on the road for such a long time?

CM: It's a weird life. Just pulling in to different cities every night and being away from home and family is tough. But 100 years ago we could have been wailing and that would have been a lot tougher. But with the cell phones, it's a lot easier to keep in touch. I mean nothing beats the real thing, but I guess we’re not wailing, and we’re not out for 2 years at a time. We’re just out for a couple of months now, so it can be a lot of worse. And it’s fun just to be out on the road. This summer we were off, and we spent a lot of time at home which was great, and then there’s a certain point like 3 or 4 months into it, and you’re kind of like, “Oh wait, I can’t wait to get back on the road.” Just seeing, hanging out with friends that we've made over the last decade or so, and just traveling is pretty great. And playing live is really awesome. We've got a really lucky job that we can perform and entertain for people that are appreciative, and it's a great exchange of energy for sure.

SFBAC: Since we’re based here in San Francisco, do you have any great stories or favorite memories of playing in the Bay Area?

CM: Oh man! So many! So many long late nights of being in the Phoenix Hotel and the debauchery, and San Francisco’s great. Traditionally, a lot of times it's one of our last stops before we head home, so this was kind of nice to start off with it a little bit more. Yeah, the Bay Area’s a great place and with such a rich musical history as well as cultural history… it’s always a blast to get in the Bay Area! Too many long stories of the debauchery.

SFBAC: Besides the Bay Area, do you have a favorite city or great story from on the road?

CM: New York is always a blast. Philadelphia is always incredible. We are lucky that most of the places that we've played, we've built up a fan base and pretty loyal one at that so there’s just stories for days.

SFBAC: Specific to the studio and recording process, do you guys find it hard translating studio material to the live environment?

CM: Yeah, I mean it can really be difficult just because there are sometimes moments that you just kind of get that magic once or twice and then it's pretty hard to replicate, but it's also a nice challenge and kind of keeps us on our toes and it’s like, “Oh! How did we do that? Let’s do it.” It's always pretty cool to realize that we can’t entirely always perfectly mimic what we did in the studio, but you can get to the point and make it recognizable.

SFBAC: Is there a particular song that you're thinking of that was especially challenging?

CM: Everyone’s got different songs. One song that would be really difficult for me is maybe really easy for the drummer and vice versa and any combination there of, so everyone's got their own songs and some of them deceptively on the outside looking in, like some of the easier songs are sometimes the hardest just because they’re so nuanced, and the dynamics play such a big role in it. You never can tell what’s going to be a tough one to pull off live or not until you start doing it and you’re kind of like, “Oh! Alright!”

SFBAC: When you guys are on the studio, do have a particular process that's worked well in the past? Do you have a home studio or do you go into a commercial studio?

CM: Most everyone kind of has the ability... that to at least get ideas out and try things at home with either Garageband or Pro Tools and stuff like that. But in the studio, everyone is in it and everyone’s kind of in it to win it as far as getting the job done and offering help and then also knowing when to shut up. Sometimes that’s really important as well. There's a lot of stuff going on, and sometimes a song can be worked on by two or three different people in two or three different locations just because the technology and all that.

SFBAC:  Do you guys record exclusively digitally now or do you record to analog tape at all?

CM: We try to have tape at least in mixing, you know? Or we've tried to record to tape before and love it, I mean it's a great process, it's just sometimes it's financially prohibited.

SFBAC: What are your plans after the tour and when can we expect a new album? What can we expect?

CM: I am not sure. We've got to start writing it and right now, we’re just trying to concentrate on this tour and this record release and then we'll go from there.

SFBAC: Do you guys write at all while you’re on the road?

CM: Not so much, it's kind of hard the way we have it set up and it's nice to kind of not be immersed in music constantly. Generally, we write at home and that is just what we found to work well for us but when we are on the road we kind of just try to pay attention to the set and try to make that better and better each night but we do a little bit of noodling here and there that have blossomed into full fledged songs or ideas.

SFBAC: Last question, who are you specifically influenced by, versus the band’s overall influences?

CM: Man, everyone’s kinda all over the place. We all grew up out of the hard core scene basically all-ages shows and the like. So we all have similar tastes, but we all diverge in a lot of areas. I listen to reggae, rocksteady, ska, and old Jamaican music. But on the flip, I also love Nine Inch Nails and the Cure and everything in between. We all listen to a lot of electronic and dance music. From time to time, I think the key to the band is the fact that we all listen to different types of music and we throw it into the pot when we get together and write. We get this wonderful mash of influences and ideas. So, somehow it’s worked so far.

SFBAC: That's it from us. Thanks again for making the time and we're looking forward to your show at Slim's on Monday, Sept. 9th!

#buttons=(Accept !) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Learn More
Accept !