Okkervil River have unveiled their first new music since 2013 with ‘Okkervil River R.I.P’ heralding the release of a new album.
‘Away’, set to arrive in September, will be supported by a tour that includes a stop at London’s Islington Assembly Hall on 10 November 2016.
“I think this record was me taking my life back to zero and starting to add it all back up again, one plus one plus one,” admits frontman Will Sheff of the follow-up to 2013’s ‘The Silver Gymnasium’ that almost didn’t see the light of day.
“Any part that didn’t feel like it added up I left out,” he continues. “Weirdly, it was the easiest and most natural record I’ve ever made. More than any time in my life before, I felt guided by intuition – like I was going with the grain, walking in the direction the wind was blowing. The closer it got to being finished, the more the confusion I’d felt at the start went away,” adds Sheff, who wrote the songs “during a confusing time of transition” in his personal and professional life.
“I lost some connections in a music industry that was visibly falling apart,” he explains. Not only did members of Okkervil River leave, Sheff’s grandfather and idol passed away.
“I felt like I didn’t know where I belonged. When there was trouble at home, a friend offered me her empty house in the Catskills where I could go and clear my head. New songs were coming fast up there, so I set myself the challenge of trying to write as many as possible as quickly as possible. I wasn’t thinking about any kind of end product; the idea was just to write through what I was feeling, quickly and directly. Eventually, I realised I was writing a death story for a part of my life that had, buried inside of it, a path I could follow that might let me go somewhere new.”
The resulting songs were recorded just as quickly with a new group of New York musicians with a jazz or avant garde background. Over three days at a Long Island studio they tracked the music in two or three takes, using the same console that recorded Steely Dan’s ‘Aja’ and John Lennon’s ‘Double Fantasy’.
“It’s not really an Okkervil River album and it’s also my favorite Okkervil River album,” concludes Sheff.