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So I guess in a way it’s actually given you more freedom…?
It sorta does. There’s definitely not that pressure. At the beginning of our band, I remember being told by our old manager how incredibly stupid we were for not putting the single as the first song. But that’s not even a thought anymore.
I know this is something you’ve been doing for a while now, and I suspect you have it down to as near a science as it can get, but what is it like to function with members spread out all over the country.
Well, for shows it doesn’t matter. It’s just, somebody flies in. And I live in New York, so I can always have a direct flight wherever we go. But for songwriting, which is probably the bigger thing, it weirdly has made it almost easier. We were never, ever able to write with the five of us in a room. I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t work out for us. We just can’t do it. We waste time, we all get in a room and we sit there in silence. There’s too many people thinking about it. That’s how it’s always been, since the very beginning of our band. Honestly, being apart has made it so that it’s a little isolating, because I really do spend a lot of time alone in a studio by myself just coming up with parts and recording them. It’s kind of lonely, but it really does focus you a lot more, and then you just send the best stuff back and forth. For the entirety of Heaven, I think Paul came up to New York two times—once for about five days and once for about six days. And that was it, that was the whole record. We were just very prepared before we got together.
You mentioned at the photo shoot for this issue that you were planning on waiting a little longer than usual after the album’s release to embark on the bulk of your touring in support of it. Why’d you decide to approach it that way?
Just because in the past we’ve always gone right out when the record comes out, and people don’t know it yet. And then we’d go back six or eight months later to the same town, and it’s so much more fun. Everybody knows the songs, and it seems like that was what you should have done the first time. So after ten years, we’ve finally realized that that’s the way we should do it.