Bears Den, British folk rock duo from London are due to play Manchester’s Apollo Thursday 30th March. Bears Den are touring their recent album Red Earth & Pouring Rain, with just a week before the gig we had a chat with Kev Jones (Vocals, drums, bass, guitar) he tells us how last year’s Manchester Albert Hall was one of their best ever gigs!
Your earlier material ‘Islands’ such as ‘Agape’ had a more softer folk sound, while tracks from ‘Red Earth & Pouring Rain’ are slightly more heavier with electric syths. Was this always the intention, or did it develop naturally as you went along?
I think it was mainly a natural progression – the live show had been evolving for some time and we were using more and more electric guitars and synths so it seemed the right way to go for the record. We had quite a clear idea of how we wanted the record to sound and feel before we went into the studio as we’d spent a lot of time sketching things out demoing and taking about possible directions.
What kind of musical influences have gone into the recent album?
Instead of using particular sounds or albums as reference points, we talked about how we wanted the record to evoke a feeling of driving at night, something that made you feel a certain way. It was an interesting way of approaching the album, if it made you feel like you were on a night drive, it made it and if it didn’t, it didn’t!
How’s life on the road been for you guys?
It’s good thanks! Touring has always been part of our DNA as a band so to be honest it feels strange when we’re at home a lot of the time. We’re super excited about this run – we are trying some songs from Red Earth & Pouring Rain out that have yet to be played live, and also some really old songs that we have re-imagined which is pretty exciting.
What have you been listening to recently?
We really like a band called Pinegrove from the US at the moment, we can’t stop listening to them. Really enjoying Sampha’s music too and Banfi who are supporting us are amazing as well.
You have played most venues in Manchester now, has there been a favourite?
We love playing Manchester, it’s such a great city. Hard to pick a favourite but the Albert Hall is pretty unique and we had the show of our lives there last year so probably that one.
Do you keep in touch with Joey? How’s he doing? (Joey (vocals, banjo, guitar) left the band in early 2016)
We do although not as regularly as we’d like, partly because we are on the road so often – he’s doing well though, we saw him just before Christmas for beers.
You are known for your intimate unplugged performance in the middle of the crowd, are venues becoming too big for this?
They are on occasion – I think one of the reasons we like doing it is to break down the barrier there can be between band and audience and create a sense of intimacy, but there are other ways to do that if the venues are too large. We still like to do it whenever we can though.
What should fans expect from the show coming up?
Aside from some re-imagined songs mentioned earlier, I’d say we put a lot into our live shows, we love playing and I hope that comes across in the performance. There’s a real sense of camaraderie on stage.
First gig, best gig?
I think our first show was supporting a Nashville artist called Sarah Jaroz at Bush Hall in West London, 2011 but it’s a bit tricky to pin down the first show as we were figuring things out at the time and playing small shows here and there. It was my birthday, July 20th so the date is easy to remember. As for best show – we are so lucky and there are so many shows that have blown our minds. Playing Shepherd’s Bush Empire was a big milestone for us as it was on home ground, but aside from that, quite honestly the Albert Hall in Manchester last year was the best thing ever.
Would you guys ever collaborate with another artist, if so who?
We’d love to and talk about it all the time, we often try to collaborate with support artists on tour. If it could be anyone I think we’d pick either someone we’d learn from and who was out of our comfort zone like Drake, or maybe Bon Iver just because he’s such a dude.
What are your plans for summer 2017?
Festivals mainly, we are excited to be playing quite a few in the UK and Europe.
Have you guy’s been writing any new material lately?
No……..but we are thinking about doing some writing after this tour. We’re starting to have conversations about ways we could go and that’s normally a good sign…
All dates still to come on their tour listed below. You can pick up tickets to the Manchester gig here.
Exeter 22 Mar
Oxford 23 Mar
Cardiff 24 Mar
Sheffield 26 Mar
Newcastle 27 Mar
Glasgow 29 March
Manchester 30 March
Nottingham 31 March
Leeds 2 April
Southampton 3 April
London 5 April