Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Hip in Detroit Checks in with The Bruised Reed About Their Latest Doubles Release

The Bruised Reed is a local duo that is not only talented, but they are also married and able to create some hauntingly beautiful music together. Kirsten Wheeler's eerie vocals are the perfect compliment to husband Josh Wheeler's gritty guitars. Together they create an updated grunge sound that others have attempted, but have been unable to achieve. Their two latest singles "The Storm is Coming" and "Emptiest Noise" are great examples of their special sound, you can listen to them here. Both tracks were released in early February as the fourth installment of the band's doubles series. This series features the duo releasing more music more often, which is of course a treat for their fans,  and as it turns out, a great way to make them push themselves every time they record.

We reached out to Josh Wheeler to check in with him before their upcoming show at PJ's Lager House this Friday, March 2nd. Push play on one of their new tracks using the link above and give the interview a read! 

HID- Why did you decide to put out two sings at a time? 
The Bruised Reed- "It's tough for us to make time to get new songs written, arranged, recorded, mixed, mastered; so instead of waiting 2-3 years to put out a new full length album, I decided to start putting out a pair of new songs whenever they happened to be ready. The plus side is there's so much energy and anticipation/publicity around new releases, it's easier to plug to radio/blogs when there's something new coming out, etc., so it's been helpful to get new things in front of people once or twice a year instead of waiting several years for them to pile up for a full album like I've always done in the past with this or other bands.

We've released four of these double A-side singles now, so when the next couple of new songs come along, it's likely we'll group them all together to have one new full-length album together that we can physically press instead of these digital-only releases. But in the meantime, this method of writing and then releasing more regularly has been a good change of pace."

HID- Did you write them all at the same time and record them slowly, or are you writing and recording as you go along?
The Bruised Reed- "These are all being written and recorded as they come to me. Nothing new is worked on until the last two are written, recorded and released. Nothing is forced to try to fill out a track list, they're just ready when they're ready.

It's a different discipline to be focusing on a couple songs at a time, all of them meant to be 3-4 minute "singles" that can stand on their own. The songs together may be a little disjointed thematically, but what's being put out is devoid of short filler tracks, no 10 minute long sonic experiments; they're all meant to be full-production singles with big hooks, and all of them have gotten local radio play, so it's been a different mindset and exercise to aim for productions with that intent."

HID- Do you think your personal relationship makes it easier or harder to create together?
The Bruised Reed- "It's a great experience to be able to create and perform with your spouse, but it can make for tough negotiations at the end of the day if you have to head to the basement and record vocal tracks, or put your feet up after a long day of work and watch Netflix. Plus writing lyrics you know your wife has to repeatedly sing will make you think twice about what kind of subject matter to explore. Though I guess I could have just written a bunch of love songs and made her sing them back to me every show instead :). "

HID- How do you prepare to play live? Do you have any pre-show rituals?
The Bruised Reed- "Our pre-show rituals are for all four of us to scramble home from our day jobs, try to get instruments packed up while putting our kids to bed, and rush to the venue through four different traffic routes to be there on time. All of us that play together in the live band are married with kids and jobs, and are coming from different corners of Metro Detroit, so we try to all get there in time to chat about the Pistons for a few minutes but then we start playing."

HID- Whats the worst thing that has ever happened to you at a show?
The Bruised Reed- "We've been pretty lucky to have avoided anything too disastrous at our shows. Most all of us have played and toured professionally in our past, so I think we take the ups and downs of the live "experience" in stride. It's sometimes tough for us to find the right personality lineup to fit in as there's not a lot of bands around doing quite what we do, so it's made for an interesting crowd mix here and there, but nothing too bad yet. "

HID- What's your favorite Bruised Reed song to perform live? Why?
The Bruised Reed- "I think the combo of "This is Wrong" and "Let Me Sleep" is my favorite part of the set to play. We always play those two butted up together in the middle of the set, and they really showcase the best aspects of the band and the music. They have more intricate and melodic parts that show off the more delicate stuff we do, but have big crescendos that let us crank up and be obnoxious for a bit."

HID-What are you listening to these days?
The Bruised Reed- "I mainly listen to new music these days since there's so much stuff immediately at your fingertips. 2017 had so many good new releases almost every week, but I'm still waiting for that first great album of 2018 to come out (getting hopeful that soon-to-be-released Lucy Dacus, Car Seat Headrest, MF Doom, Wye Oak records can break that seal). In the meantime, I've been playing Jonny Greenwood's "Phantom Thread" score a lot, the new Jeff Rosenstock is great, the "Black Panther" soundtrack is a good time. Locally, I'm anxiously awaiting the new Man Mountain and Minihorse records. And, seeing teasers from Bars of Gold and The Armed prepping new stuff is getting me pumped."

The Bruised Reed will be perfomring alongside Nina and The Buffalo Riders, Scarlet Lies, and
Taeryn this Friday. Tickets to attend the show are $8 and they can be purchased in advance here. You can also hear more of The Bruised Reed by clicking here.


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