Their recently released record, entitled “Red,” is the second of a trilogy of albums. The album follows along the lines of country rock and presents a number of various narratives told through an assortment of perspectives.
Currently, the Brooklyn band is working on their new album, “Green,” and are planning a two-month European tour in the summer. Their next New York show will be at Union Square on Sunday, April 17 as part of the Earth Day New York celebration.
I spoke to Kyle Evans, founder of Echo Bloom, about the “Red” album, southern influences and music genre experiments.
Tell me about “Red.” Why is the album named after that particular color?
It’s the second of a three-album series. The first one was “Blue” which is more orchestral folk. “Red” is a mixture of country and shoegaze. It’s like equal parts of Tom Petty and My Bloody Valentine. The songs are more of a narrative. We played with a big band and recorded a lot of it live, which is totally different from the way we did the first record. This one is a lot louder and a lot rawer. We had a lot of fun playing it live.
So what was the reasoning behind the three-album series?
I put out a record a while ago, called “Jamboree,” which was the first Echo Bloom album. It was a lot of fun to make, but it was very pixelated. There were definitely a lot of different genre experiments on there. We had a reggae song, there was really hard rock, there was a country song and one that was more jazzy. So, it was a lot of fun to make. But, after giving it a lot of time and returning to it, we figured out what were the best songs on that record. We picked three songs from the album and then wrote albums based on each of the songs.
I think everybody would like to do a little bit of everything. But, the music that you like and the music that you’re good at are not necessarily the same thing. We had a lot of fun playing reggae music, but we’re not a reggae band. When we went back and listened to it, we were like, this is kind of a shitty record.
So we came up with these three different songs. The first album was all character studies so it was very interesting. “Blue” was based off of the song “The Prostitute.” “Red” was based off of “The Business Man.” We just had the first recording session for “Green” and it’s based off of a song called “The English Teacher.”
What will “Green” be about?
“Green” is like, if you could imagine, Lynyrd Skynyrd playing Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) songs maybe, or maybe more vice versa. It’s definitely more pop. A lot of members of the band are from the south so that seeps into what we do. It will be classic pop with a southern rock influence maybe.
Do you find that fans like the way you guys switch it up every album?
We end up playing Europe a lot. A lot of our European audiences are more of a sit-down audience. We’ll play at these big concert halls and people will sit down and listen to the next concert. That’s opposed to American audiences, where we are playing at Rockwood [Music Hall] or The Living Room, places where people are standing, getting drinks, doing stuff like that.
In general, people dig it. I think. As much as I like doing different things, it’s all coming from the same group of people, so there’s a thread of continuity. We write songs in a similar way from project to project.
There’s enough of a point of similarity for people to latch on to; it follows through the different genres.
How much of a southern influence is injected into your songs?
Well, I grew up in the south, in Northwest Florida, and it’s like a bunch of hicks on the beach. It’s beautiful, just totally gorgeous. Grew up with a lot of religious influence in that area; it’s very conservative politically.
Even if you want to write something else, or kind of be somebody else, the place where you’re from is based into your core at some level that you’re never going to get away from, for better or for worse. It kind of pops out in these weird, unexpected ways.
When we wrote this record, I didn’t really expect to write songs about the south, but as I looked back at them, a lot of them ended up taking place there. It wasn’t intentional, it just kind of happened.
I really like “Leaving Charleston.” Did it really happen? Where do you come up with inspiration?
I’m sure it happened to somebody, but unfortunately, it never happened to me. Inspiration comes from a lot of different places. In the new Kendrick Lamar record, he acts and role-plays through all of it almost. Each song has a different character interacting with a different group of people. He’s an alcoholic or he’s a child or he’s a homeless person. I think if you only rely on personal experiences for songwriting, you’re offering a pretty limited palette.
I try to think of stories that are interesting and put myself in different perspectives. I try to tell the stories from different angles.
We’ve got a bunch of songs from the perspective of women, which is also strange. It’s different to write from a different gender perspective. We also have many songs from the perspective of men too.
Are you excited about the exposure at the Earth Day New York Celebration?
Absolutely. It’s so different playing during the day as opposed to playing at night. It’s a different type of crowd and a completely different feeling playing outside. It’s a different type of energy.
There’s a burden of showmanship kind of. Like, you get people at a bar and you get a captive audience to a certain extent but with a big, open air space, we’ve got to be like ‘alright, you walking by, we’re going to rock you, you are going to stay.’