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  • Bears
    Tuesday, August 7, 2007

    I had a friendly conversation with Charlie, the guitarist of the wonderful Cleveland, Ohio pop band Bears. Their new EP, Shortest Day of the Year is an amazing little record. it's a bit of a departure from their rather infectious, hyper pop debut album; unlike that record, the seven songs found here are sad, mopey, and reminiscent of Elliott Smith--but only in a good way. It's a different direction, but might I say I actually enjoy this direction? Yes, I shall.

    As an artist and a musician, when you put together Shortest Day of the Year, were you trying to make a concise statement with your music thematically, or were these songs merely the songs you'd written at the time and you needed to put them out?

    That's an interesting question. When we put out our first record, we had been writing and recording a bunch of different songs, and the majority of them were pretty upbeat, and we definitely plan on putting them on the next album. But then we had a handful of other songs, things that are darker and sadder and a bit more upfront emotionally than the other songs we'd been writing. WE weren't sure where we would go with the album, but we still wanted to put something out. So we decided, "hey, let's put out an EP," and we discovered these songs worked really well together, and the record came out of that. We'd written these songs, and we definitely didn't want to put them on the full length.

    Why not?

    Well, the songs we normally write--and the songs on the next album--are more upbeat and are really poppy. These new ones are a major progression from the first album. But these songs, they're totally different. Some people have said they liked them, and they see it as a progression, too. They don't see the things we write as definite and as defined as we do.

    Do you see the music of Bears, by definition, as being sunny, upbeat music, as opposed to the EP's songs, which are slower and more melancholy?

    Definitely, yeah. In our live show, we try to keep things upbeat, and our favorite songs to play are the poppier ones.

    Have you performed the EP live?

    We've only actually played one of the songs live. When we do, it's more about how we feel when we're playing live, deciding to play it. We don't have any plans to play any of the other songs live, at least not at the moment. We've sort of talked about learning "Am I" and playing it with the full band.

    If you didn't want to include them on your full length and you don't perform them live, do you feel they represent something a bit more personal, or do you feel this style doesn't represent who you are as an artist?

    Hmm…I think it's a combination of things in our present lives. We wrote them when it was kind of crappy weather around here, and we were a little down in our spirits, and those songs were a reflection of that, among other things. We go through phases in our music where we're writing a lot, and we're writing about everything from plants to how poppy we are, or we're not writing very much, and when we do it comes out a little slower. I think it represents a certain side to who we are--everything can't always be upbeat and happy--the world isn't always like that.

    Thanks, Charlie!

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    posted by joseph kyle @ 10:14 AM  
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