Widow's Weeds

Widow's Weeds

While recording their fifth full-length album and first in four years, Widow’s Weeds, Silversun Pickups went through some life changes that guided their songwriting decisions. “It’s a window into a time and place of what happened in our lives,” frontman Brian Aubert shares with Apple Music. “As we grow older, I think there’s a lot of things that are wonderful. But there’s also a lot of seismic shifts that make you pause, because they just land in your lap. I’m getting used to feeling a little bit vulnerable.” Musically, songs like “It Doesn’t Matter Why” and “Straw Man” mark a back-to-basics approach for Silversun Pickups. Using strings and fuzzed-out guitars, the band wanted to distance themselves from the sleek electronic layering of 2015’s Better Nature and bring back the album-oriented rock of their first two albums, Carnavas and Swoon. “The things I was less interested in before I started falling in love with them again, like being able to express myself with guitar playing and guitar solos,” says Aubert. “One of the elements that made sense to us was having organic strings come back, which we hadn’t done for a couple of records. I knew that with our last two albums, especially Before Nature, we really didn’t want known sounds or organic sounds.” A vital instructor throughout the process was Butch Vig, the prominent American songwriter and record producer responsible for helming essential ’90s rock albums like Nirvana’s Nevermind and the Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream. Aubert and Vig met during the recording of Garbage’s “The Chemicals” (Vig produces and plays drums for the band)—a stand-alone single where he took on co-vocal duties with singer-songwriter Shirley Manson. He explains how Vig has a unique way of recognizing what he calls “happy accidents”: “With the title track, I was self-consciously playing this acoustic guitar in Butch’s house. I didn’t even realize I was playing it. It must’ve been muscle memory. Butch was talking to everyone and he stops the conversation. He looks at me and says, ‘What is that?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know. It’s a thing I’ve had for a long time.’ And he goes, ‘Tonight you’re gonna work on that, because that has to go on the album.’ That song is a great example of why Butch is so great, because anything odd or strange or out of the box, he’s on board and helps you push it through.” Aside from Vig’s contributions, what allows Silversun Pickups to fully realize their vision is how they’re able to navigate each other’s personalities. They’ve managed to stay together for 17 years with no lineup changes or contentious disputes. “We knew each other before we were even in a band,” Aubert notes. “Our lives are pretty separate at this point. I mean, we all mingle with each other here and there, but everybody’s got their lives going. When we come home after a long time of touring, it doesn’t take very long for everybody to want to get involved. We want to do this and enjoy the process, and that’s all that matters.”

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