5 bloggers, 5 questions, 1 band, hand-picked by the MWA writers. Welcome to FIVE x FIVE. This week: Indianapolis surf pop quartet, Bonesetters.

Bonesetters and their brand of surf/pop/rock are no strangers to MWA – we’ve been seriously digging their latest LP, Figure It Out since it’s release. A follow-up to their Kickstarter-funded 2011 debut, SAVAGES, Figure It Out was released January 31st on vinyl and cassette through In Store Recordings and Red Rholl Recordings. Guitarist and lead vocalist, Dan Snodgrass was kind enough to answer a few of our questions for this week’s FIVE x FIVE.


How did you get hooked up with In Store Recordings and Rhed Rholl Recordings for the release of Figure It Out? How did the process differ from the self-release of SAVAGES? | Eric Slager

We’ve been friends with both labels for awhile, now. Derek used to run a music blog called InStore which I did a few videos of acoustic songs for, and he started a label with the same name (check out S.M. Wolf and Sun Country). Thomas has released several of our friends albums and projects through Rhed Rholl (check out Shiloh and Bears of Blue River). Releasing it with a couple labels in partnership has been an easier process than SAVAGES was. We all send out to blogs and book things where we can. It’s really great being partnered with a couple of guys that believe in something, and see value in the work, and who help each other mutually.

What does the writing process look like for an average Bonesetter’s song? | Alyssa Welch

Usually Sam or I, or Sam and I, come up with a basic idea or whole song and bring it to the group. From there we get the beats for it down, make comments and change things. We’re a pretty open group. We’ve known and worked with each other for a while, so we trust one another to do what’s best for the song.

Lately, we’ve been taking a few months to hone the songs down to their best structures and parts, but in the past we’ve taken less time. When a song is what it wants to be you have to respect it!

Where does your surf/rock influence come from? Are there any specific acts, new or old, that you draw from? | Dan Jarvis

I’d say Sam is kind of the impetus for the surf influence, dating back to the track SAVAGES. Everyone comes from various backgrounds when it comes to what we listen to, though. Weezer and Beach Boys are probably the best through lines when it comes to that, with pepperings of Wilco and Broken Social Scene for good measure ( at least for Sam and I). I’ve been listening to a ton of Duane Eddy, lately. I’m trying to get better with those guitar-line melodies.

You’ve released records on just about every major format: digital, CD, vinyl & cassette. Do you have a preference or favorite format when it comes to listening to or releasing music? | Dan Fiorio

I love vinyl! The first format I’d ever listened to and the dearest to my heart. All of the formats are just as good as another, but I feel with vinyl you have the best artifact. Maybe one day we’ll release limited edition figurines with download codes, or perhaps just feed it into our brains. Until then if we can afford to press it in vinyl, we will! 🙂

How does your surf/pop/blues sound separate you from some of the pop rock music that is out there today? | Patrick David

Some pop songs are hooks waiting to happen, as with a lot of music now. I feel like a lot of our tunes rely on patience, and building to an interesting high point. We play the dynamics pretty hard for most, include interesting harmonies to play with the ear, and we’re constantly challenging ourselves to do something more adventurous.

Every good artist strives to differentiate themselves from recording to recording, that’s a given. We’re building the next record now, and it has roots in Figure It Out, but it’s really a different animal. We may take a little more time with where the music travels to in a song, but we want our listeners to enjoy the experience and journey with us!

You can catch Bonesetters live tomorrow night at Starline Gallery in Harvard, IL. They’ll be playing with Urbana-Champaign’s Grandkids as part of Bright Future Band Frenzy. The show kicks off at 7 PM, and you can grab tickets online for just $8.

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