With “The People’s Key,” Bright Eyes’ first album in three years, frontman and founder Conor Oberst says he was focused on steering the band in new directions.
“I wanted to make a record that was modern sounding and steer clear of some of my tendencies, melodically,” Oberst, 31, says of the 10-song follow-up to 2007’s “Cassadaga.”
“We’re over the Americana, rootsy, whatever that sound is. People say country, but I never thought were very country at all. But whatever that element is or that aesthetic is, I guess it’s worn a little thin for me these days.
“So we very much wanted it to be rocking and, for lack of a better term, contemporary, or modern.”
“The People’s Key” is the first Bright Eyes album the core trio — Oberst, producer Mike Mogos and Nate Walcott — recorded entirely at its own ARC Studios in Omaha, Neb., working throughout 2010. Oberst says their working process has not only become streamlined over the years, but also more collaborative, even though the multi-faceted musician remains the name most associated with the band.
“Obviously Mike and I have been doing this partnership and making the records for a long time now,” Oberst says, “and then Nate started around 2002, playing in the live band. And it just seemed like every tour we kept asking him back and kind of started relying on him more and more as a live musician. At a certain point Mike and I looked at each other and said, ‘He is in the band whether we’ve said it or not. He’s part of this thing now.’
“We tried to make that known before the last record, with ‘Cassadaga’ and now with this album. Truly what you hear on the record is the summation of all three of our ideas kind of put together. That’s the Bright Eyes sound now.”
Bright Eyes and the Mynabirds perform Monday, March 14, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Tickets are sold out. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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