Fresh off the release off their second album, St. Paul and The Broken Bones have now mastered the art of powerful soul music.
With heavy, emotional lyricism matched only by the grandiosity of their arrangements, the Alabama-born band are the possessors of one of the most moving sounds in contemporary music, soul or otherwise.
The Badger Herald chatted with the band’s frontman Paul Janeway in advance of their show at Freakfest about their latest record, their direction, and their excitement moving forward.
The Badger Herald: First of all, congrats on the new album release. What have you been up to since you released Sea of Noise?
Paul Janeway: Well, touring. That’s just about it. Touring, touring, touring, touring. That’s just what we do (laughs).
BH: Let’s the talk about the album . Were the newer components to this record, the choir and a string section for example, additions y’all have always wanted to incorporate into your sound, and weren’t able to before?
PJ: I think for many it was a situation where we kind of just got to experiment, you know? Strings are something I’ve always wanted to work with. A choir was not something I thought was going to happen, but it did!
BH: For future projects, do you want to go even bigger, and bring in more components?
PJ: I think it’s whatever moves you. I don’t ever want to say, “Oh, we’re going to go do this, this or this.” I think we’re going to experiment. We’re always going to do that. We’re always going to try and expand the palette. One thing I really like about this past record is that it kind of gives us the opportunity to do what we want to do on the next record, without throwing people completely off.
We’re not the type of band that’s going to make the same record over and over again.
BH: It seems like you all take certain influence from soul of the ’60s and ’70s. Have you ever considered delving more experimental neo-soul of the ’90s or anything like that?
PJ: To me, D’Anegelo’s Voodoo is one of the greatest records of all time. So that’s definitely something that’s going to find its way.
It’s so hard right now because there’s so many places we want to go, but that was an even an influence on [Sea of Noise] on something like “Sanctify,” just really slow-moving, kind of molasses. I hope it’s present in our work now, but that’s definitely the direction it’s headed in.
BH: To talk about Freakfest, are you excited? Any special plans?
PJ: I actually am super stoked for Freakfest. With Anderson .Paak playing there, I’m super, super, super excited to see that show. It was actually one of those things where [the organizers] were like, “We’ll offer you a little less money, but you get to play with Anderson .Paak,” and I was like, “Hell yeah, let’s do it!”
Other than that, I’ve heard Madison’s great. We’ll probably just try and enjoy city, I’ve heard it’s crazy though, like insane.
BH: To finish things off, what’s your best halloween costume ever and your worst?
PJ: The best was when I dressed up as a professional wrestler by the name of Big Boss Man. The worst, golly, one time my grandmother made me a homemade Ninja Turtle’s costume. It was really cute, but it was awful. It was just, like, a pillow case, but it was sweet. So sweet.