Bear’s Den are one of those bands that when you come across their music, you pretty much play the whole album at least 3 times in one go. It’s all about melodies, pensive lyrics and melancholy emotive sounds. It’s just pretty darn good. They have a wealth of experience touring and have learnt from the best of the best in that scene, as you will read below. Their new album ‘Islands‘ is out now.
They were kind enough to answer a few of my questions, read what they had to say below in the exclusive Bear’s Den interview.
Interview by Clare Knight
1. Let’s go back to the start, what came first – songs or the idea to start a band?
I guess the songs came first to some extent. I started writing songs when I was 17 but never really had any ambition to be a solo artist. I think that the idea to start a band is what drove me to write songs in the first place to be honest.
2. It must have been a bit of a wild ride since you started out to now. What are the highlights that you are most proud of to date?
It’s definitely been a pretty wild journey and we are incredibly fortunate to have toured as much as we have. One of my favourite moments was playing at The Waiting Room Lounge in Omaha, Nebraska on our last US headline tour. We’d never played in Nebraska before and expected no one to show up but we ended up playing to one of the best audiences we’ve ever had. Super attentive but also really up for a good time. Getting to meet people afterwards who’d driven 6/7 hours to see the show was a really special moment for us.
3. Your new album is out this month, tell us about it and the creative process.
The album is called Islands and we recorded the album in the back of a church that’s now a studio with the fantastic Ian Grimble. The creative process with making the album was possibly the hardest thing we’ve had to do yet as a band. We all have strong opinions about what songs we should do and how they should sound as we’ve all produced records individually, in some capacity ourselves before, so there was never gonna be a shortage of ideas. That being said, we all knew that we just had to make sure that the songs came first and our artistic choices should be led by what the song needs above anything else.
4. What’s your favourite song on the new album, Islands?
It’s really hard to call it, having heard them all so many times when recording them but Bad Blood is probably my favourite. It’s also my favourite song to perform live as we started playing it in the crowd on our last tour without any mics and it’s kind of magic being in the audience and playing a song.
5. What’s your favourite part? Writing/recording or playing live and why?
Playing live is really what we’re all about and what we all enjoy the most. The songs are supposed to be performed by a band and an audience. Not just the band. We played a show recently and sang “don’t let the sun steal you away” in the audience and you could hear people singing along and harmonising and it was incredible. I got goosebumps hearing this really quiet choir backing us up. It was awesome!
6. You have toured with bands like Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men. What did you learn or gain from those experiences?
We learnt that you can’t trust these people as far as you could throw them. Liars and thieves!! The lot of them!!
In all honesty, it’s impossible to measure how much you gain but it is significant. The experience those two bands have with live performance and the way they commit to their music is astonishing. We’ve toured with some other amazing bands too like Smoke Fairies, Mariners Children, Daughter, Matt Corby, Ben Howard, The Staves and from the way they write lyrics, melodies or harmonies or the way they perform, we’ve been incredibly inspired and learnt so much from those experiences.
7. You have a sold out European tour, how does that feel?
Pretty bad ass!
8. You have another European tour in Feb/March, what can fans expect and look forward to?
Well, we’ve recently acquired a new member of our touring party. A friend of ours called Njal is playing trumpet with us along with Marcus Hamblett on Cornet. They sound amazing. We’ll be playing songs from our new album and hopefully some of our older songs too and hopefully still get in the crowd to play some songs.
9. Do you have any specific goals for the band?
We just wanna keep being able to tour and make records and visit as many places we can and meet as many people as we can along the way. People travelling to see us play shows makes us want to tour more extensively and reach out to places people don’t normally tour. The Highlands and Islands tour was amazing for us and our only goal is to be able to do more of those tours and keep getting better as a live band.
‘Islands’ is out now on Communion Records.