Grit ‘n’ Gags with LA’s Lord Huron

Michigan-bred, Los Angeles-based band Lord Huron dropped its wildly anticipated third album, Vide Noir, in April this year.

A slight departure from their folk roots, the new record embraces a definitively more electronic sound. According to members Mark Barry and Ben Schneider, it marks their maturity as a band. While that might ring true musically, we discovered they’re still juvenile enough to talk about Chump the Chimp, following NASA on Instagram, and man-eating spiders.

Your album, Vide Noir, came out earlier this year. It’s a bit of a departure from your folk roots. What influenced this new sound?

Mark Barry: For me, this record is us maturing as a band. We’re DIY guys, or like to think we are, and that’s how this record started—tracking it on our own, in our studio. We weren’t sure how we wanted to approach it as a band and tried a few different things, but that’s what gave it that flavour; us experimenting with different kinds of grooves and tones that allowed us to be more funky.

Ben Schneider: In our heads, our whole catalogue is one long anthology of interconnected stories. So Vide Noir feels like a very natural progression from the ideas and sounds we were exploring on Strange Trails, which similarly felt to us like a natural next step from Lonesome Dreams, and so on. Since we’ve been doing so much touring and live performance over the past several years, I think some of the urgency and propulsion from our live show has found its way into the recordings.

You worked with producer Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, MGMT, Tame Impala) on this album. What is the best advice he gave you during the recording process?

MB: Dave showed us that it’s important to be creative at every level of the record— even the mixing stage. Just because a song is being mixed it doesn’t mean you can’t add parts or shift things around. It’s all part of the process. Anything goes. He’s a master at bringing songs to a new, uncharted place.

BS: Dave mixed the album, so his involvement came toward the end of the project. We had finished recording and had actually started the mixing process with another engineer before we went to see Dave. The final stages of making a record can be some of the most difficult and uncertain and it was really good being in such capable creative hands at the end there. We learned a hell of a lot from him, but honestly, I think the most valuable lessons I learned were about how to live a good life in what can be a strange and unforgiving business. He’s got a real good thing going and he’s way up at the top creatively.

I know your name was inspired by Lake Huron, but Lord Huron kind of sounds like the final boss of a video game. If he were, what game would he be from?

MB: Chump the Chimp: Return to Banana Island

BS: I guess a seafaring adventure game that also involves baseball and ice fishing.

You only follow two people on Instagram: NASA and a skeleton by the name of ‘Cobb Avery’. Please explain.

MB: We like to keep our socials tight. Space and skeletons.

BS: In some cases it’s best to just simplify and focus on the truly important things.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you as a band?

MB: There was that time we got caught by the cops rollin’ dice at the bottom of the stairwell…

One thing you hope you see in Australia?

BS: The stars of the Southern Hemisphere.

One thing you hope you don’t?

BS: Man-eating spiders.

What can audiences expect from your show?

BS: Plenty of cosmic Yee-haws.

MB: We’ll give it everything we got.

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