The Bear in Heaven Interview
These hipstered-out fellas to the left are none other than Bear in Heaven, a legit band that’s touching down in Pittsburgh tonight. I’ve been a fan of theirs for years and this will be my third time catching them, once before at the Brillobox and again at a venue in Columbus. They blew me away both times, so if you enjoy bands that knock your socks off, I highly recommend checking out tonight’s show, which takes place at The Andy Warhol Museum – a fantastic place to see a show. They’re a futuristic rock band with a unique sound. Anyone whose a fan of ambient, electronic-type bands would be into these cats. I had the opportunity to talk with Adam, their guitarist/bassist, to gain some insight on their new album I Love You, It’s Cool, as well as what they think about playing in Pittsburgh. Here’s our chat.
Kymbo Slice: Your marketing aesthetic has taken a gimmicky, joking, lighthearted tone at times â€“ how does this translate to your dynamic as a band and personality as individuals?
Adam Wills: I think there’s a direct translation. I think we’re much more serious as musicians, but as far as a persona, you can either be serious or you can just be yourself. We’re just rolling with it. We are who we are, and interject humor where we can. The music itself is not funny at all, but interviews, music videos or shoots – we try to have fun with.
KS: What was the point of streaming your album on your website for 2,700 hours before its release? What were you hoping to accomplish?
AW: For one thing – it was possible. We were having some brief discussions before finishing our record about how we could get the word out, and a major influence for us is drone and ambient music. We had initially thought of doing a companion piece for the record or a double album, but we didn’t have the time. We thought, what if we create another record that lasts from the date of the announce that we have a record until the day it comes out. We all laughed and thought that would be great. But then we did a little research in real life and found out it’s absolutely achievable and then were like – at that point, we have to do it. As a side effect, I think it also makes a really strong statement about what bands have to do to compete for press (not necessarily between each other). It’s not about just writing really good music. Unfortunately, you also have to have a really good marketing campaign, which I find really annoying. No one’s ever done this before. It’s kind of like a marketing campaign, but it’s also like a middle finger to having to have one. So it really worked on a whole bunch of levels for me. It pushed the right buttons. People really dug it or just didn’t get it at all, which is kind of what you want at heart.
KS: The title of your new album, I love You, It’s Cool would leave many to believe that you’re OK with love and all that comes with it. Is this the case, or are you just like every other jaded musician at one point or another in their career?
AW: You feel like every other musician is jaded?
KS: A lot of musicians are jaded about love, yes.
AW: Oh really? I think that your first point would be more of our thing. We’re all loving people here.
KS: What does the title of your album mean? Is it about someone in particular?
AW: It stems from a very specific scenario where we had a fourth band mate who on the last record ended up leaving the band. He just got too busy and he had his own thing going on. He left under good circumstances and is still very much our close friend. He’s done our album design, merch, very much still involved in the band. He came over to our rehearsal space one night and we had been drinking a little too much and he left this drawing. One of them said â€œI love you, it’s coolâ€. We discovered it right at a very stressful moment in the record writing process where you’re working too hard, you’re feeling stuff out, you’re stressed out because you’re not making any money â€“ you know, all that emotional roller coaster type stuff when you’re working on something you believe in to support you. We found that (drawing) right at this emotionally heavy, stressed out moment and it just kind of resonated. We tossed it around. We were all hanging out one night and thought it kinda summed up everything about the record. You can like our record, you can like our band, you can not like our record, you can not like our band â€“ whatever you want. We thought it felt really normal and can apply to everything. You know what, I love you â€“ it’s cool. It just felt right.
KS: You should put that on a t-shirt.
AW: Yeah, we’re trying to.
KS: You just returned from SXSW. Did you see anyone who blew you away? Any notable performances?
AW: I keep saying no, but I’m realizing yeah. We actually played 10 shows down there, so there’s not a lot of time to see stuff and when you’re off I’d rather just chill out. I didn’t get to see them but I can speak for Jon and Joe that Matthew Dear and his live band blew everyone away. We wound up sharing the bill with them twice. They were super super nice guys. I really loved this band Sun Araw, they were my favorite.
KS: Why are you starting your tour in Pittsburgh? What do you think about performing at The Warhol?
AW: We think It’s really awesome. We tend to only start our tours in Pittsburgh, for whatever reason. This is the third time we’ve started a tour here so that in itself is cool. Pittsburgh has always been really nice to us. We’ve always played the Brillobox, so it’s great to play The Andy Warhol Museum.
If you would like the chance to be nice to Bear in Heaven and hear some of their sweet tunes, head on over to The Warhol tonight. Doors are at 7:30. Show at 8. Tickets are $15 at the door. See you there!