Avett Brothers Discuss Fan Interactions, the ‘Neo-Folk’ Phenomenon at Mountain Jam 2013
The Avett Brothers have been doing this banjo-and-upright-bass thing for a while now. They formed well before recent best-selling folk acts Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers started out, and over the course of six albums -- the most recent of which, 'The Carpenter,' marks their second time working with Rick Rubin -- the band has won throngs of fans all over the country. On Friday (June 7), the fellas stopped in Hunter, N.Y., for Mountain Jam 2013, and before taking the stage, Seth and Scott Avett (banjo/vox and guitar/vox, respectively), Bob Crawford (upright bass) and Joe Kwon (cello) chatted with Diffuser.fm about their music.
What's your favorite album to listen to on a rainy day?
Seth Avett: I like listening to the first full-length Iron & Wine record, ‘The Creek Drank the Cradle.’ I also like listening to some Otis Redding.
We’re big fans of your latest record, ‘The Carpenter.’ What’s it been like road-testing it?
Scott Avett: It’s been really cool having ‘The Carpenter’ out and going out and playing some of these songs and seeing large numbers of folks singing along with us.
What has been your favorite fan interaction so far this tour?
Seth: I had a good one in Vancouver. I was running on a beautiful sunny day, and this guy runs past me, and I’ve got my iPod on, and I’m listening to Mos Def. We kind of converge on the same path, and he had his ear buds in, and the thought crossed my mind: What is that guy listening to? We run along for a mile, a mile and a half, and we both have to stop at a stoplight, and this total stranger just puts his iPod right in front of me, and it’s [Avett Brothers’] ‘Live: Vol. 3.’
I could never be in a band with my brother, because I think we’d probably end up killing each other. What has kept you guys making great music together for so long?
Seth: Some of that chemistry is just sort of built in. Scott’s four years older than me, so it was established when I was born that he was a protective entity. So even though we had rocky times around adolescence, it was always clear that he was the protector. So we knew going into traveling and working together and becoming business partners that we trusted each other, and we’re looking out for each other’s best interest.
Having been playing acoustic music for a lot longer than guys like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, do you look at yourselves as the godfathers of the modern movement?
Scott: The “neo-folk” thing is the word I’ve heard used: the merging of country and rock music, which has been happening since Hank Williams. Alternative country through the ’90s was laying the way; it was all the same sort of thing and everybody just keeps reacting to what they were inspired by, what they were experiencing. So really, I think we’re all just the same. Just different generations.