ACL Interviews: Blitzen Trapper

blitzentrapper_ACLContinuing our coverage of ACL artists this week, we bring you an interview with Portland based Sub Poppers Blitzen Trapper.  We talk to leading man Eric Earley about his brand new EP, his upcoming LP, and a few other things that we were curious about.  Follow the jump for the full interview.

ATH: You self-released your first few albums.  Do you feel that there is an added pressure to write better songs now that you are on one of the most popular indie labels?  Or have you stuck to doing the same old thing?


Eric: No I don’t really feel any pressure.  The label doesn’t really make me feel pressured to do anything a certain way.


ATH: You’ve been on Sub Pop for several years now.  How has it been working with the label associated with breaking Nrivana, not to mention helping bands that would “change your life” like The Shins?


Eric: It’s a lot easier as far as touring and recording and whatnot since they help out with that.  They also have good press and publicity.  They treat bands really well on Sub Pop and they have a lot of great bands that I really like.


ATH: We read a bit online about how this new EP [Black River Killer] came about and the old recordings and how Sub Pop indulged you to do it.  You also make it clear that it is in no way a follow up to Furr.  Looking back, would you still want to put it out?  It seems like you’ve been a bit misunderstood about the project.


Eric: Yeah sure.  It’s just a bunch of B-sides really and we used it as more of a tool for our last tour in Europe.  We sold that as a tour CD in the past before actually putting it out on Sub Pop.  It’s just sort of a collection of songs that are outtakes from our last two records.


ATH: “Furr” has ovsiously taken the band to new popularity and new fans.  What’s different about this one as opposed to older material that you think is really catching on with people?


Eric: A couple of things really.  This is the first record that Sub Pop has really been pushing of ours and that really helped I think.  I think the production on this one is a little bit better too.  It’s more mainstream than our older records too.  Oh and the song writing is maybe a little bit more approachable.


ATH: So you aren’t saying too much about the new LP I see.  Any way I can pry something out of you for your fans?


Eric: It will be out next year since we’re still sort of working on it.  I don’t know, it’s been really changing as I go.  I hate to say too much about it because I don’t really know how it will sound at this point.  It’s definitely not going to be like Furr.  Right now it doesn’t really have a lot of the folk music going on and I’ve been doing a lot of writing on piano for this record.  It’s sounding a lot more electric, like more hard rock type stuff.


ATH: We know you guys have been traveling around for quite some time. What is your favorite place to play a show, and you don’t have to say Austin?


Eric: I have a lot of them really.  As far as big cities go, I actually really like Detroit.  I like playing cities in that area like Detroit, Chicago, and Minneapolis.  I really like that area just because people really like music and they’re not too hip.  I also like playing some of the smaller towns that we go to.  Those shows with not a big crowd but the people are always really appreciative and really great.


ATH: How about overseas?  Another band we interviewed mentioned Ireland as the place to be…


Eric: Yeah Ireland is pretty great.  Dublin is pretty great.  I think my favorite would be Scandinavia.  I like playing that part of the world a lot.


ATH: If you could pick a line-up for a small festival, who would you pick to play, and this can include bands from the past, present, or you can create super bands?


Eric: I’ve been listening to a lot of old music lately… I would probably want Dungen because I’ve never seen them play and I’ve always wanted to.  They do pretty amazing guitar work.  So yeah Dungen, then Queen, Black Sabath, and the Wu-Tang Clan.  Oh and how about Pavement?  They’re back together so yeah them too.


ATH: What artists, if any, are you excited about seeing at ACL next weekend?


Eric: I’m not even sure who is playing to be honest.  I haven’t really looked at the lineup and have just been touring constantly.  Who is playing?  You tell me.


ATH: Well the headliners are Pearl Jam, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kings of Leon, Them Crooked Vultures, Dead Weather, Phoenix, Dan Auerbach and Levon Helm.


Eric: Levon Helm is playing?  Oh yeah he has a new record out.  That’s kind of cool.  I’ll have to check that out.


ATH: Last question.  So we’ve seen you in Austin before and want to know what you get excited about when you come to town.  What are some things you like about Austin?


Eric: Well the Mexican food is really good but I guess that’s really anywhere in Texas.  Oh and it’s always sunny when I go there.


ATH: It’s actually cold and rainy right now… I’m betting it will be nice by next weekend though.


Eric: It better be!


ATH: So Mexican food huh?  How about a venue you’ve enjoyed?


Eric: I like that place the Mohawk.  We played the Parish the last time we were there and that place is pretty great too.


Thanks again Eric for taking the time to speak with us.  You can also check out or artist spotlight on Blitzen Trapper for more information.

Photo credit to Jade Harris.

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