Broody country group Murder by Death are coming to Australia to play their album Good Morning, Magpie and to road-test new material. Lead singer and guitarist Adam Turla spoke to Time Out ahead of the tour.
We only saw you guys this time last year... will we see any new material in the show? How has the show evolved?
Yes, we will be playing some new songs from our forthcoming album! It should come out this summer, but we will be road-testing them on this Australian tour. The show has been ramped up a lot by the addition of Scott Brackett to the band (formerly of Okkerville River). He is playing trumpet, accordion, piano, percussion, mandolin, backup vox and theramin. It rules.
You’ve spoken about going into the woods to write Good Morning, Magpie. Will you do something similar when writing a follow-up?
The new album is done! Recorded earlier this winter. I didn't go out in the woods this time though, instead we holed up in my basement for eight months and just wrote and wrote and wrote. I will be headed out to do some camping and rock climbing this spring though so hopefully some songs will come out of it.
On that note, the magpie's a very Aussie reference for a band from Indiana – why that particular bird for the title?
The name comes from Welsh lore we heard while on tour in Wales. The story goes like this: If you don't greet a magpie before they see you, they can steal a piece of your soul. We thought that was pretty ominous and interesting.
Speaking of birds again... what was it like to write the soundtrack to the book Finch? And how did that come about?
Yeah, the Finch soundtrack. It’s a soundtrack to a sci-fi noir book. The author, Jeff Vandermeer, approached us and said that he listened almost exclusively to MBD while writing it and wondered if we would compose a song to go with the special editions. We read the book, liked it, and then composed instrumental songs to try and capture certain pivotal scenes from the book. It was a fun experiment!
What was the benefit of recording at home in Indiana?
Comfort, I suppose. We recorded in a place we have been many times, and getting to stay at home is a rare and lovely experience.
What has the addition of Scott as a permanent member brought to the group?
Way more flexibility in what we can achieve sonically. He plays so many instruments we can create many more moods.
Are there some Australian bands/singers that you will be going to see when you're here? Or any that you are particularly fans of?
Haven’t checked the tour dates for other shows there yet. We do love us some Nick Cave though.