Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We're Waxing Nostalgic About LFK With Murder By Death: "We have good friends we've made in Kansas over the years."

Readers, if you're anything like us, you've had at least a few good times watching Murder By Death perform in LFK over the years.  As near as we can pinpoint, our own first MBD experience was at the Replay in 2004.   The band is as fond of Larryville as we are of them, as you will learn in our interview with lead singer/guitarist Adam Turla, who offers some nice shout-outs to some of your favorite scenester spots and scenester heroes!  

Murder By Death will be back in LFK on New Year's Eve for a huge show at the Granada (their second New Year's show at this venue), and they'll be joined by local favorites Cowboy Indian Bear and Y(our) Fr(end).  Yep, it's going to be a party!

The band has recently joined legendary Bloodshot Records label (visit their Bloodshot page here) and has a new album called Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, a title we love, though of course our favorite MBD album title is Like the Exorcist, But With More Breakdancing, which never fails to make Chip laugh.  You should also drop by the band's official website here for recent news and all the links you need to prepare for a raucous New Year's Eve.

Huge thanks to Adam Turla for taking the time to chat with us during the holidays, and we hope you enjoy this interview, in which Chip goes all Barbara Walters on Adam at the end! 

Chip: I always like to ask about band names and I’m assuming yours is a reference to the great comedy Murder By Death, which cracks my ass up! What’s your favorite scene in that film? 

Adam:  Hmm, it's been a minute... I love that movie, but haven't seen it for a minute. I remember liking Miss Marple a lot. It's one of those ensemble movies where everyone is so talented but they are acting completely ridiculous. It's a celebration of absurdity.

Richard: A recent press blurb describes your sound as “rollicking gothic indie folk." What’s YOUR preferred term for the band’s sound these days? And can you list us a few somewhat esoteric reference points for your sound (they don’t necessarily have to be musical) that will send our readers scurrying out to look them up.

Adam:  I just never think of things from a genre standpoint: I think that it why our music is more eclectic. I tend to draw from anything from South American literature to my love of travel and adventure to old movies.

Richard: With song titles like “The Curse of Elkhart" and “No Oath, No Spell,” I’m sensing some emerging themes on the new album. Tell us about Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon.  How does it fit in with your previous work?

Adam:  There's a lot more lush sounds on the album thanks to Scott Brackett. We wanted to do some slower, darker songs on this album, and I think it worked pretty well.  I was thrilled to be able to have more sonic variety thanks to the fact that Scott plays so many instruments. Thematically, we are always looking for more ways to explore darker content and ideas we think are interesting for us and the listeners. 

Chip: I make a lot of silly boner jokes on this blog, so people often don’t realize that I’m a well-versed Shakespeare buff (though of course he thought boners were funny as well). Tell us about the lovely little “Queen Mab” melody from your new album. Did you arrive at Queen Mab through Romeo and Juliet or some other source?

Adam:  Hmm, yes, I think the reference came from Shakespeare. We kept calling that song "Fairyland" or "Walk Through Pixieland" while we were working on it and knew we wanted a more suitable title. We often have very stupid working titles. I will consider "Boner Jokes" as a future temporary song title. 

Richard: The new record is your debut on the Bloodshot label and I’m guessing that you (like most of us!) have loved a lot of Bloodshot albums over the years. Do you have a particular favorite?

Adam: Hmm, offhand not sure. Love me some Ha Ha Tonka, but Neko Case's "The Virginian" is interesting too as it is her only total country album.

Chip:   Neko gives me a total boner.  She actually replied to one our @larryvillelife tweets once and I was aroused for three days!

Richard: You’ve been together a lot of years (since 2001) and playing shows in Lawrence for a lot of those years. I’m pretty sure the first time I saw Murder By Death here was 2004 at the Replay Lounge. And this will be at least the second MBD show at the Granada on New Year’s Eve, right? Do you have any particular favorite Lawrence shows or Lawrence memories to share?

Adam:  Yep, second New Years show in Lawrence. We have good friends we have made in Kansas over the years. I remember the first time we played Lawrence was actually a house show at a place they called The Halfway House. That was back when we rammed all our gear into a minivan. The cello would have to sit between someone's lap and everyone else had to hold their luggage for the drive. I dig the Replay-- Dagan and I always shoot pinball when we come to town. One of my favorite shows was the fest that Jacki Becker put on: "Bleeding Kansas."  There was such a variety of acts that were on their way up that played that fest. There was also a dunk tank and free vodka for the bands, so that was nice. As Murder By Death we challenged Death Cab for Cutie to an arm wrestling match to the death, but they declined.

Chip: If I might, let me end with a Barbara Walters-style question! There’s a song on the new album called “Oh, To Be An Animal.” If you WERE an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

Adam:  Today, a snow leopard, but tomorrow probably a tiger shark. 

Here's MBD cavorting in a barn and the flyer for the New Year's Eve show:


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