We had the opportunity to interview bassist/cellist Brent Kutzle of OneRepublic via email. We asked Brent about the band’s songwriting process and the creation of their new album Waking Up (out now on iTunes, Amazon MP3 and on CD), touring with Rob Thomas, the differences in American and foreign audiences and the band’s new direction. Read it all here and be sure to check out our feature piece on OneRepublic here.
Interview by Genevieve Jacko (thanks!)
The Audio Perv: Your new album Waking Up will be released November 17th. What was your experience like making the album and how was it different from your previous album?
Brent Kutzle: We all moved to Denver in January and rented a house in one of our favorite neighborhoods. We wanted to make sure we could be as creative as possible without the distractions of a city like LA or NY. I think we probably hit the slopes every weekend, and wrote throughout the weeks. By this point Ryan has all the gear you could possibly need to make any type of record, so we went for it ourselves and produced it ourselves.
It’s refreshing cutting a new album with brand new material. The last album was written, probably, seven years ago and the musical direction ended up being just slightly dated when it came out.
The Audio Perv: Tell us about your songwriting process. Do ideas just pop up or does it take a while to become inspired?
Brent Kutzle: The way we come up with songs is always different. We’ve been writing on the road for the past year- in and out of studios, using logic on our computers… lots of programming. Ryan is always doing lyrics and melody. For this album we had a ton of ideas, but the only songs we finished writing are the songs on “Waking Up”. As of now we’re three weeks before the release date and we still have yet to finish two of those songs.
The Audio Perv: Ryan has worked as a producer with Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and Rihanna and the band has worked with Timbaland. A couple of the songs on the new album Waking Up seem to have a bit of Hip Hop/R&B feel to it. Did RyanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work as a producer influence the change in the bandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sound and will this be more of a definition of the bandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sound in the future?
Brent Kutzle: I think there are traces of that on the first album as well, but yes we’re definitely headed that direction. We tried doing the alt rock thing again, but it didn’t hit as hard as an urban record or any hip hop drums so is was time to get a little crazy with a fusion of drum programming and live drums. Ryan is defiantly the influence with how much bigger, sonically, this album is.
The Audio Perv: What do you hope your fans will get out of the new album?
Brent Kutzle: We’ve put a lot of effort into making this album an experience from top to bottom. We would hope that our fans would listen to the whole album and be excited and enjoy every track on it.
The Audio Perv: YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re currently on tour with Rob Thomas. HowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s that going? Were you big fans of his before this? Any chance that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll work together in the studio after the tour is over?
Brent Kutzle: This tour so far has been a refreshing experience. Rob is incredibly talented and at the same time very humble. He’s had one of the best careers a musician could ask for and is still enjoying every minute of it. I think there will be a day where he’ll pop up and we’ll all be making a record together. That tends to happen with us I guess.
The Audio Perv: After making stops all over the U.S., youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re headed to Europe. Having played outside the US before, how do you think American audiences compare from those in other places around the world?
Brent Kutzle: I think that the UK has some of the wildest fans we’ve ever seen. We did a run of all the academy’s last year and they were all packed with great crowds. We all love touring the UK and Europe so much because of all the history as well. American audiences are still our favorite of course :)
The Audio Perv: How do you spend your days off while on tour?
Brent Kutzle: Some of us go golfing, bowling, sightseeing and the list goes on. I like to spend time turning out tracks for labels. I don’t think there’s ever been a day I’ve had off where I’m not doing music. Always writing, recording, programming, all that. The occasional swim is nice.
The Audio Perv: Halloween is coming up and you have a show scheduled that night in St. Louis. Will you do anything to celebrate or have you grown out of that?
Brent Kutzle: Of course we’ll celebrate! We’ve been thinking about what to wear for that show… no awesome ideas yet, but we’ll get there. I’m going to throw some light up in the bus today with some skeleton cut outs. Our bus has the most fun out of any bus on this tour I’m sure.