Real Time With Built to Spill's Doug Martsch
Doug Martsch doesn’t like to make much of his band, a "little-known" outfit called Built to Spill that since the early 1990s has spawned an entire subgenre of idyllic-yet-grungy indie rock (think no-longer-just-a-college-band bigwigs Modest Mouse). Since 1994's There's Nothing Wrong With Love (ranked #24 on Pitchfork's "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s") the band's unique mix of intricate guitar solos, stringy vocals, and starkly simple but hard-hitting lyrics have earned them a devoted, though never very huge, following. This week, they are headed down the Pacific coast from Boise for a small tour before getting started on recording a new album, the band's first since 2009's There is No Enemy. Last week, Martsch, Built to Spill's famously reticent front man, regaled me with his thoughts on festival crowds, interview hazards, and the unexpected rewards of judging a record by its cover. (For the initiated, I tossed in clips of a few BTS favorites.)
Mother Jones: Any idea what the new album is going to sound like?
Doug Martsch: Nah, not really. Whenever we start a record it's pretty much just a batch of things we've stumbled across from jamming or playing guitar. It's pretty much just a hodgepodge right now.