POZ Interview: Kevin Devine + Andy Hull (Bad Books, KD, Manchester Orchestra)
Kevin Devine and Andy Hull treat PropertyOfZack better than we could ever ask for, and they always give us incredible interviews. I was able to catch up with the duo at Bad Books' Philadelphia, PA tour stop for one of POZ's best interviews of all time. Kevin, Andy, and I discussed Bad Books' new found cohesiveness and success, all the details you could ask for for Kevin's Kickstarter campaign and two upcoming albums, Manchester Orchestra's reboot with a new split and album, and so much more. We couldn't be more excited about the interview and all the great details within it, so check out all of it below!
So this tour is going really well, it seems. This is the fourth tour for Bad Books right?
Andy Hull: Yeah. We did a few short ones so yeah, four.
How many was it, like a thousand in Ohio?
AH: Yeah its nuts, I think we could have done that easily in New York from what we were told; in New York and Philly and Boston as well. Yeah totally nuts. The reception is really cool. Nobody’s asking for anything other than Bad Books tunes. People are actually enjoying the songs.
You can play a full set now, that’s awesome. No filler.
AH: There’s still plenty of bullshit, but yeah.
Kevin Devine: It feels like the balance is… there is one. It’s definitely more… the bullshit is an accent, as opposed to potentially being the main thing.
AH: Half if not more than half of the show…
I know that for the first record, or even for those first shows, there was always talk of, “This is really cool, but it still feels separated between two parties, rather than one band.”
AH: Dude it is so much different now. It feels like a real thing. It feels exactly like a real band. We’re all developing identities. It’s really cool because it’s going to be sweet to see what happens with the next record now that we have an identity. We all have things that we do in the band now. Rather than, “You do this. You play this.” There are members that are doing things. We can only go up from here.
KD: I think an interesting thing about how that live experience can translate into that next record too is that in carving out those identities, I feel like even though it’s a band it’s been something of a studio project for us in the studio. Like me and you [AH] end up doing a lot.
KD: And I feel like it’s nice to have that as an option. But I also think what this enables us to do in the comfort level we’re reaching here is that the next record can be more like a rock band playing songs; rather than building songs in the studio.
There’s been some satellite radio play too, right?
KD: Amazing response there. Like the number one song the last couple weeks on there.
AH: Yeah, nuts.
Especially because it’s four months out since the release.
KD: Yeah four and a half or so.
AH: There’s two different ways a record can go, you know? You could put a shitload of promotion behind it and then have a really big first week and then everything will trail off, or you can try to do it organically where it will continue to grow and just steady as it goes. It feels like that’s what’s happening with this record. It’s starting to connect more and more the longer it’s been out. It’s cool.
I assume you guys are going to be really busy this year. If the record’s doing well and tours are doing better than well, is that something that you now want to try to carve out more time for Bad Books?
KD: Yeah we were having that conversation last night. Like how it’s kind of…
AH: Short answer, yes we do want to. It’s just about making that decision. And hopefully finding some sort of time for it. It’s a timing thing really. I would love to do it more though, especially since it’s going better.
Have you found that with this touring and the band being more cohesive, that you actually have wanted to do a record sooner rather than later?
KD: We haven’t really talked about that yet. We’ve talked a little bit about doing it, but not about a timeline for it. Because I don’t really know, realistically, what that would look like.
AH: That’s the thing is when we could do it. But yeah, I certianly am in my head, being on this tour like, “Yeah we should be writing and we should go in immediately and go make another record.”
It’s a good problem to have.
KD: Yeah. It’s a luxury problem; it’s awesome.
In terms of Bad Books as a separate entity, do you think there are people now that are just Bad Books fans?
KD: I kind of do. Or I kind of feel like there are people who are more… there are definitely people who like it of it’s own merit. And I think that maybe there are some who even like it more than they like either of our things. Probably not the majority. The majority is probably still kids that are coming from Manchester’s world and my world. But I think it’s built itself into it’s own formidable entity. It’s totally amazing, yeah.
AH: It helps a lot that the second record is just such a… in my opinion, stronger album than the first record. The first record is kind of your perfect stereotypical first album for a band. It’s rough and a lot of loose ends. It’s going in all directions, we hadn’t really found out who we are. I’m stoked that we started with something that, you know, I’d saw was a three star record. I’d say this one is a four star record. Now we’re going to try to make a five star record.
Will Bad Books be going to rest for now until there is more time?
KD: Yeah I guess we’ll figure out what happens.
AH: Hopefully going to try to play as many festivals as we can and get some… We’re down to work. And honestly working with Kevin is a lot easier than working on my own. Not that I’m working on my own with Manchester, but just being the sole front guy, it’s just half the work. It feels nice.
KD: It’s totally noticable. It’s lovely. I feel like Bad Books tour is like… It’s still in a van and a trailer and all that stuff, but the fact that it’s other people doing this stuff sometimes, I’m like, “This is sick. Just hanging out while someone sells the merch… that’s amazing!”
Are we cool to talk about prospecitve projects?
KD: I really wish you wouldn’t… Yeah I don’t care.
AH: What do you mean?
KD: Like Manchester and me.
AH: Oh yeah.
KD: But I have to answer all of the Manchester questions and he has to answer all the the…
AH: That would be cool.