The members of Architecture in Helsinki wrote their latest effort, Places Like This, via instant messages. Late last year, Cameron Bird, the band's singer and founder, moved to Brooklyn, while his bandmates, who are now scattered across the globe, stayed behind in Melbourne, Australia. The six sent demos back and forth over the Internet and then fleshed out the new material on the road before hitting the studio, where they recorded the album in a mere twelve days. Despite the players' initial separation, Places does a great job of capturing the frenetic energy of the group's live shows in all its quirky glory. We spoke with Bird about the new disc and how it differs from the act's past efforts.
Westword: It sounds like living in Brooklyn really affected your songwriting on this record. Would you agree with that?
Cameron Bird: Yeah, I'm sure it has, totally. The music we made in the past was a reflection of living in a certain place and the experiences of that. But in a way, the amount of touring we've been doing kind of affected the way the record came out, too. It wasn't just the living in New York thing; it was a combination of those different things.
It took a lot less time to record Places Like This than the previous two albums. Why was that?
It was definitely a different scenario than how we've recorded in the past. We got together with an engineer, and it was the first time we'd been engineered by someone who wasn't in the group, and that certainly made it kind of different. That freed up our hands a lot so we were able to think more about the music — the actual performance of the music as opposed to the stuff we've been obsessed with in the past. Either way, it was the first time we'd really become a band.
So why were you able to get it done a lot faster?
Because of the engineer, and because we can play a lot better than we used to be able to play, technically. Before, it would take us a week to record one guitar part.
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And you were playing the new material on tour before you went into the studio, right?
Yeah, that's right. We pretty much wanted it to be a reflection of us as a live band as opposed to trying to create a more alternate universe again.
Did you record it live in the studio?
Yeah, a large percentage of the stuff was recorded live. There are a few songs, except for vocals, that were recorded live; a couple of the songs had live vocals, as well. We just wanted to make it really un-premeditated and spontaneous.