Our guitar player…got married in the spring and his wife was wearing a side pony for the wedding. He just thought that was really cool she had that non-traditional, off-kilter, bold hairstyle for their wedding. It became an emblem of being yourself and doing your own thing, unapologetically, embracing the alternative.
BY JUSTIN TRUDELL
You’ll see a lot of musical acts that put on an incredible show, but aren’t that technically skilled. You’ll hear plenty of amazing musicians, but their shows are a bore. While it’s tough to find that sweet spot between style and substance, Lake Street Dive has occupied the happy medium their whole careers — and are finally getting their due recognition for it. Bassist Bridget Kearney took some time to talk to Chicago INNERVIEW about their new album, the band’s newfound swagger, and how “doing their own thing” has always been a top priority.
Chicago INNERVIEW: The new album comes out February 19 and is titled Side Pony. Besides being a killer look from the ‘80s, what does that title mean?
Bridget Kearny: Well, that title comes from a song on the album called ‘Side Pony.’ It was a song McDuck (Mike Olson), our guitar player, wrote. He got married in the spring and his wife was wearing a side pony for the wedding. He just thought that was really cool she had that non-traditional, off-kilter, bold hairstyle for their wedding. It became an emblem of being yourself and doing your own thing, unapologetically, embracing the alternative. So it kind of sums up the goals for the new record and the goals for the band in general as a unique, alternative type of band. Not going with the mainstream. Not doing something straight down the pike like everybody else is doing.
Chicago INNERVIEW: From the tracks I have been able to hear, the new album seems to have confidence, almost a swagger. Was that intentional or just a natural reflection of your confidence as a band and how much you have grown?
Bridget Kearny: I wouldn’t characterize it as something we were going for, but I think there’s something to that. When we did our last record (2014’s Bad Self Portraits), we were playing around 50 shows a year. For the last two years, we were playing closer to 150 or 200. So we have definitely grown a lot as a band and probably have more confidence because of it, just from getting out on stage every night and getting better at what we do. Being together so much in the last couple of years has allowed us to focus on how we can play better together and play better as an ensemble.
CI: This is your first album with Nonesuch Records. How, if at all, did signing with a major label change your recording process?
BK: I am very happy to report that in most ways, it didn’t change the recording process. Going into this major label, we did have some anxiety about people on the business side of it forcing us to do things we didn’t want to do. With Nonesuch, they’ve been incredibly supportive of our creative decisions. They’ve always said to us, ‘We signed you because we like what you do and we aren’t here to change that.’ The one big difference I would say with this album is that we had more time. That’s the best thing about being on a bigger label, you just have more resources and they can say, ‘You want a month in the studio? You got it.’ That’s a luxury that we have never had before.
CI: You guys are playing two nights in Chicago at The Vic. That’s pretty impressive and goes to show how much you have grown in popularity recently. What kinds of memories do you guys have from playing Chicago in the past?
BK: We have been coming to Chicago since our first tour, which would have been 10 years ago now. We have memories dating back to when all four of us were sleeping on the floor of our friend’s apartment. We love coming back there. It’s always great to have two nights in a city that you like, so you can spend that extra day exploring and having fun in Chicago!