Posted On 21 Nov 2017
The Novel Ideas are fresh off the release of their self-titled album, representing a contribution to the country-folk scene that balances love-and-loss melancholy with thoughtful instrumentation and intricate vocal arrangements. Feel free to listen to the full album here.
The Novel Ideas are a four piece band from Boston, MA. Since their formation, they’ve earned a reputation from fans and music critics for their moving four-part harmonies and rich Americana sound— one that provides “a certain level of comfort” according to Baeble.
From rock clubs to living rooms to festival stages, the band strives to convey honesty and intimacy through their music. Interview Magazine notes that, “While their folksy sound falls somewhere in between The Head and The Heart and The Avett Brothers, the band has a unique ability to connect with audiences from their deeply personal songs.”
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Learn more about The Novel Ideas in the following All Access interview:
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? What is it? What is one song that you are all loving right now? What is a song that you disagree about loving right now?
We’re in Seattle, Washington!
Actually, yes! I just put on “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by John Gorka (but the Pedro the Lion version). We’ve been super into Bad Desire off the new Noah Gundersen record. Hmm well, we were just listening to O Holy Night, the Celine Dion version which Sarah loves.
How did this group first come to be? Can you recall the moment where you all thought you could be in a band together? Was it hard to come up with a name that you could all agree on? How did you come up with The Novel Ideas?
We all met in Boston, all in different ways: college, kindergarten, Reddit…
Not sure there was one specific moment, though I remember we played at my college’s battle of the bands and after we soundchecked a guy said “Hey you guys actually don’t suck.” That was a big moment for us.
The name actually predates the band so it was easy because we already had t-shirts made! I used to write about songs about books so the name stems from that.
How do you think this band has been influenced by the city you are from? How did that music scene affect you all?
Definitely as we’re all from the Boston area. Though a lot of the music we listen to doesn’t. Country and western, Americana etc.
There are so many amazing musicians in Boston that we’ve gotten to share bills or the stage with. It’s a small scene so everyone builds each other up in ways that might not happen as much in bigger cities.
How does 2017 compare to last year?
Well, we finally released a new full length record and began touring full time, so quite a bit has changed since then!
What all are you most excited about for 2018?
To keep touring and hopefully play a bunch of festivals!
How do you think this band has changed since you worked on your self-titled album? Do you think that you would make the same album if you went into the studio today to make it?
A lot of the songs on the record were written a while back, so we’ve definitely changed as songwriters. We’re really excited these songs are finally released, but also are already looking forward to recording the next record!
Probably not, we might’ve opted to record more of it live, though we’re still really pleased with how it came out.
What was it like working on your self-titled album? Were there any unexpected challenges or surprises?
We went into the studio with a bunch of songs we’d been playing quite a bit so it was nice to finally have studio recorded versions. But we also had a bunch of half-finished ideas which didn’t quite pan out for this one.
I think getting the harmonies to sound how they do live was the biggest challenge. We wanted each voice to be individual but also create the blend like we do live.
Can you talk about how a few of the songs on this collection came together? How did the songwriting process go?
I’d say I’m Not Waiting changed the most since I wrote it. Originally I sang it and it was a lot more 90s than it is now. Now Sarah sings it and it definitely has a more intimate quality to it. Broken Glass was very different for us when we wrote it. We decided to focus more on the interplay between the two electric guitars instead of acoustic and electric. The Blue Between Us was also important to get right since we had released a version before that people had already heard. We decided to go a little more gospel with it and a little less folk.
We all write songs so differently but we always make sure to collaborate on the arrangements together. That’s super important to us. Lyrics are usually written by one person and then everything else is collaborated on.
I read that your music is described as providing “a certain level of comfort” to listeners. Why do you think that is so? Is this something that you feel while making your music?
Our goal in any show is to connect with the audience, whether they are actually in the room or listening to the album alone in their room. I think connection with music provides comfort because its a reminder that you aren’t alone in the feeling of your feelings. Others have felt those feelings too and know what it is you’re going through.
We all write about what we know. To us, writing a lyric that isn’t true can feel disingenuous. We often use songwriting as a method to understand and process the emotions we feel currently or in the past.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today?
I think using whatever platform we have as artists to speak out against oppression and intolerance is super important. There’s a trend of people wanting artists to silence themselves and speak only about their music which I think is a bizarre and backwards mindset. There’s a distinction between an artist and an entertainer that people fail to see.
Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect this difficult time?
I’d be surprised if it didn’t! But with the age of social media I don’t think its as important for artists to create political art. Used to be that a folk song was the best way to get across news but now everything happens so quickly and info is available immediately.
Who are some of your favorite artists right now? Who would you love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this group?
I love the new Manchester Orchestra album, it’s totally beautiful, Also been listening to the new Honeysuckle album a lot, they are good friends of ours that we’ll be on tour with early next year!
Danny’s dream is to open for Tedeschi Trucks Band, I think that’d be pretty dreamy too.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
We hope that people hear us and feel some connection to what we’re saying. We hope there’s a message in our music that transcends this moment right now. We try and write songs that don’t feel like they belong to one specific period in time and that in 20 years they still have relevance. Definitely a big ask and a big hope so I guess we’ll see!