Kansas Citians have heard the Walkmen but may not know it. The city's latest exposure was on top of a parking garage at the Standard Social fashion show two weeks ago, when the New York band's sprawling anthems echoed over the Plaza. Now the Walkmen are back in support of a new album, Lisbon. Bassist and organist Peter Bauer talked about the process of creating the record.
The Pitch: Hamilton Leithauser, the band's frontman, has spoken about the importance of sequencing songs. Were there any battles with Lisbon?
Peter Bauer: You & Me was a lot worse. We talked about that for week after week after week. It just went on forever. But on Lisbon, we wanted a 10-song record that was pretty short. Once we decided that, it was somewhat easy.
What's attractive about a succinct, 10-song album?
We really like the way You & Me came together as this big, sprawling set. But [with] this one, we were conscious of that, and we didn't want to make the same thing.
When creating an album, do you have something in mind?
You can't really plan things out too far in advance. For instance, this time we really stayed away from reverb. In the grand scheme of things, it [Lisbon] is still very reverb-y compared to a lot of records. But for us, it has the least reverb and the least instruments being fed at all times. Beyond that, it's really hard to come up with 10 songs, record them and [figure out] whether they're going to be good. So you can't limit things too much.
You worked with several different producers on Lisbon. What was different about each producer's approach?
We didn't know really what to expect 'cause we don't know really what a producer does — we're still not sure. But John [Congleton] did a really great job changing the sounds of things that we'd been struggling with for a little while. Nothing against Chris [Zane] — he was doing a great job, too. We need a change of pace. We've done a record and a half with him. So, you know, you go to a different studio, a different room — everything sounds different.