Nashville-based indie rockers The Weeks are premiering their new track Start It Up exclusively with TeamRock. The track, taken from their new album Easy, blends riotous Southern-tinged rock with the sorts of hooks which would’ve turned a young Springsteen green with envy.
Having spent the last decade putting the hard yards in on tour, supporting everyone from Meat Puppets through to Kings Of Leon, they made such an impression on the latter that the pop-rock megastars started up their own record label, Serpents & Snakes, with the chief intention of being able to release The Weeks’ music. Not bad for four kids from North Mississippi.
We chat with lead guitarist Sam Williams to find out more about the track, and see what else the band have in store.
What’s the story behind Start It Up?
Start It Up was one of the first songs we wrote for Easy. I had the hooky little guitar intro and knew I wanted to keep the chord progression really simple. This song is kind of a microcosm for the whole record and everything we were going through during the process.
Rarely do we not see eye to eye on where a song should go, but Cyle and I had different ideas for the chorus that we each felt very strongly about. In the past we would’ve fought until nothing came of the song because it was a sore subject, but we spent the time between records [trying] to understand being a band isn’t always about forcing an issue; sometimes you defer to the other boys because there’s times when they defer to you. You win some, you lose some, basically. Ultimately Cyle won this one and I’m glad he did. It’s been my favourite song in the set lately.
What sort of themes do you cover on Easy?
This record definitely has a brighter outlook than [last album] Dear Bo Jackson. We wrote that record on tour mostly, and there’s a lot of dark humanity and real life shit on tour. It’s hard to write an uplifting record when you’re touring 250 days a year for three years… We wrote Easy at home during a big gap in touring, so it’s a lot about coming through the other side. We watched a lot of bands break up while we approached our 11th band birthday, so there was a lot of appreciation and reflection on how we got here, why we made it this long and how we get to our 25th birthday.
You were one of the bands who inspired Kings Of Leon to start their own record label, so they could release your stuff. How did that feel?
We definitely grew up listening to their records. They embodied the renaissance of the southern rock that we grew up listening to in our dads’ pickup trucks down county roads. So when they approached us to release a record through their label it was definitely a full-circle moment for us. Touring and working together was also really insightful on what it takes to elevate to and exist on their level of success.
What’s your favourite story or anecdote from recording the album?
If I’m totally honest, the first place my brain goes to is the Fino’s Deli sandwich that I ate almost every single day for two weeks [laughs]. Other than that sandwich, there was a lot of good times in the studio. We booked a house that we thought was going to be a decent-sized apartment, but ended up being a 500 sq ft efficiency apartment. So it was the band, plus the engineer, Josh, in very tight quarters for 14 days.
On another food note, we ate at the same breakfast joint every morning called Barksdales, where we ended up getting our photo on the wall.
What’s the story behind the artwork for Easy?
Our drummer Cain had started a series of paintings that was in a style that I just loved and I suggested to him that he paint the band that way. We had him attach a GoPro above his work desk over the week or so that he was painting – that is really great to watch. Cyle did the paintings on the insert based on little phrases that he loved within the lyrics. We’ve always leaned towards the band having a hand in as much of the process of making records all the way to down art direction and everything in between.
What’s next for The Weeks?
Next week we head out on an eight-week US tour; that’s just part one.
Easy is out April 7th and we’re just going to be touring the world through the end of 2017, then hopping in the studio towards the end of the year to get LP4 in the works so it’s not another four years between albums.
For more information and to pre-order Easy, head to www.pledgemusic.com/projects/theweeks.