American Aquarium has a lot in store for their fans this year. One is a live CD recorded at The Pour House, which will be available February 11. We caught up with the band’s Bill Corbin in Muscle Shoals as he was recording their new album, which will be out later this year. And yeah, it’s being produced by some guy named Jason Isbell.
INDEPENDENT WEEKLY: What lead to the decision of doing a live album at this point in the band’s history?
BILL CORBIN: We’ve always wanted to do a live record and people always ask us to put one out, but the timing was just never quite right. Finally, the stars kind of aligned for it. We’ve been playing really great and are tighter than we have ever been thanks to a lighter touring schedule that actually allows us time to rehearse.
Combine that with the fact that we haven’t released anything in almost two years, and a live record seemed like a no-brainer. We play some of the songs a lot differently live and recently had worked out a new arrangement for an old song, “Anne Marie.” We wanted to capture these with the energy and intensity of our live show. Overall, I think AA fans will really dig it.
Do you have any thoughts on The Pour House crowd and how it’s developed over the past several years?
We love playing The Pour House. Our Raleigh crowd has always been really great to us, and it’s been such a joy to see how it’s grown since 2007. It seemed like the most fitting place to record our live show.
How about past memories from Pour House shows?
There weren’t any specific memories for me in particular. It was more or less just a feeling of being “home” for us. Between The Pour House staff, Shovels and Rope and the crowd, it just felt like we were
playing to our closest friends. Everyone had such a good energy and there was just something in the air that night that came across great on the record.
Jac Cain mixed the show live after having been a part of American Aquarium’s development from the beginning?
American Aquarium owes Jac Cain a great deal. Having him in our corner has been a huge help over the years. He does such a good job of dialing in our sound that we had to have him mix the night of the live album. Plus, he is just so much damn fun! You haven’t really lived until you’ve partied with Jac Cain. I remember, it was the night of what would have been my one year anniversary, had my marriage lasted that long, and Jac, BJ [Barham, frontman] and I did so many double shots of tequila in Slims that I was drunk the whole next day. It was an awesome night, actually.
Was it part of the initial plan to record and release the show in such a short amount of time, around three months?
Yeah, we really don’t have a reason to sit on it. So we just figured we would put it out. It’s going to be at least the Fall until our new studio album comes out, so hopefully this will hold everyone over until then.
Were you nervous about planning a live release with only one evening’s worth of material?
No. We haven’t ever been a band that plays three hours of material at a time so we weren’t worried about that. We definitely stressed about playing well and still putting on a good performance, but honestly any
and all stress disappears once we walk onstage.
When will the live CD be available?
We will be releasing it digitally and in hard copies in early February, starting at the CD release party Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Pour House.
American Aquarium has released a video clip from the show in question. Please note that the audio is not the mixed and mastered version. The song, “Good Fight,” features Cary Ann Hearst on guest vocals.