Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews


The People's Key

Author: Graeme Green
2/17/11 | London Metro | | Feature
Are the rumours true The People's Key is the last Bright Eyes album? We're not saying that officially. We'll keep it open ended. But it will be the last one for a while. Mike [Mogis] and I have been working together for 12 years, and Nate [Walcott] has been with us for five or six. It's been a long time. There's no internal drama situation. Mike and I both have pretty separate lives at this point. We don't really live in the same city and everyone's busy with their own thing. We'll see what happens next. You've been busy since the last Bright Eyes album. Do you ever lose track of how many bands you're playing in? Yes, I do. Often. I've been very lucky to make a lot of albums and work with a lot of people. To work with Jim [James, My Morning Jacket] and M [Ward] last year for the Monsters Of Folk thing was like having a front row seat to two of my favourite modern musicians and how they make a record. I really learned a lot away from that experience. What is The People's Key? It's the key of C. On the piano if you play in the key of C, you can hit all the white notes without hitting a bad note, so it's very easy to play. On the guitar, people say it's the key of E. It's the easiest key to play in. It's also part of the lyrics to one of our songs. The album starts with a man talking about reptilian life forms and the progress of mankind. Are you quite into New Age ideas? There's a very fine line between one person's reality and another person's fantasy. I can be very cynical. But if I was forced to put myself into a category, it's probably agnostic _ I don't claim to know. With science and reason throughout history, what people believed turned out to be false. So I like to keep an open mind to all perspectives and learn and become more fully realised as a person. I just feel we're never going to know what the full picture is. You've been called 'the new Bob Dylan'. What do you make of that? I don't make much of it. You can take it as a compliment, because he's fantastic. But it's not anything that I allude to or think of. Is it tricky to combine music with politics? I've always felt that, just because you're an artist or a musician, you don't surrender your rights as a citizen to be engaged. Not that you have to but if you're compelled to speak out on a subject or to communicate something to your audience, then that's your right. Do you believe music and songs can change things? I think so. Music is unique because you can get behind enemy lines a little bit, get into people's houses and into their heads, on their stereos, and win hearts and minds. If there's a song that ends up making someone more empathetic to another person or makes them think about their own prejudices or ideas, that's a good thing. You were part of the Vote To Change tour with Bruce Springsteen and REM and were vocally anti-Bush. Did you get what you voted for with Obama? I don't know how much to blame on him or the entire government. More than who we elect, if we want dramatic shifts in policies we need to make the government less corporate. It's just serving the interests of a small percentage of the country, the super wealthy. That's the biggest problem with the US, more so than any one candidate. It was foolish to think Obama could change all that. What do you think the likelihood is of Sarah Palin becoming president? That's a very slim possibility. I don't think she could ever win nationwide. She's so incompetent in every way. It would just be unbelievably terrible. Bright Eyes' new album, The People's Key (Polydor), is out now. They play the Royal Albert Hall, London, on June 23. Read more:
The People's Key

The People's Key

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