Butchers Blind Talk Shop, and “A Place in America”
Butchers Blind is a band that has been on my radar for quite some time now. Most recently the group has released their record, “A Place in America” via Electric Giant Records. Based in New York City, the group offers up more than your run-of-the-mill New York sound. “A Place in America” is an Americana dream, filled with vibrant instrumentation and howling vocals. Their knack for writing accessible Americana tunes carriers over into each piece on the record; making it equally as captivating. No Depression has had the chance to chat with Pete Mancini from the group as he helps us dig deeper into the world of Butchers Blind. Be sure to read below!
What is the meaning behind the name Butchers Blind?
Butchers Blind is a reference to a Wilco song called ‘The Late Greats’. It’s a song about a fictional band called the Kay Settes, and Butchers Blind seem to be their special guest. There are many interpretations of that song. Mine is that the Kay Settes represent the little songs we sing to ourselves throughout our day. Everyone enjoys music in their own way, and that is just as valid as bands that are super successful. Also, being the guest to a fictional band is kinda funny.
How did the band meet?
Paul and I started off playing blues rock covers about 10 years ago after meeting Brian through mutual friends. We had a few different names and incarnations over the years, but it has always been the three of us to some extent. Smitty joined up with us a few years ago and rounded everything out. Most bands don’t have this kind of dynamic, and I think we all acknowledge that.
How do you combine your influences and musical stylings when creating music in Butchers Blind?
I will write the songs and get them to a place where I feel ready to present them to the band. Once I bring them in, the songs get filtered through the influences of the rest of the band. Eventually you get a Butchers Blind song. We enjoy the process, and it’s something we have gotten good at over the years.
What artists would you cite as musical influences in your songwriting?
We are all huge record collectors, and we have a ton of influences. We love Uncle Tupelo, The Replacements, The Jayhawks, The Band, Gram Parsons. Between the four of us there are far too many influences to list. A lot of bands today are afraid to admit this, but we wear our influences on our sleeve proudly. We make music we would like to listen to.
How would you describe your songwriting process?
Songs can come out of anywhere – ideas, stories, feelings. The trick is to be able to capture them when they appear. I have learned there is no secret process to writing songs. It’s all about figuring out what works for you.
What is your recording process like?
Recording is a lot of fun. We like to get live takes down and then add to those tracks. The end result is always more organic that way. Working with the Gevaza Brothers at Continental Studios was great for that reason. We got to be a band for a few days and they captured it all on tape. Working with Eric Ambel on the mix was great as well. We are very happy with how the recordings came out.
Where does your lyrical inspiration come from?
Three of the songs on the new EP deal with my generation and the challenges we face. Other songs came out of stories or things I felt. The chorus for ‘Only Love’ came out of a conversation I had with a friend. Lyrics can come from anywhere. The Notepad app is GREAT for jotting down ideas.
What was the inspiration behind the new single for the tracks on the new record, “A Place in America”?
Black & White Dreams was written while I was commuting from a temp job in Manhattan. I was taking an express bus back to Queens, passing all these different streets, each with their own name and story. I started thinking about the people who named those streets, and what an interesting contribution that would be to leave behind. A few minutes later, I had a chorus.
What are Butcher Blind’s future plans?
We want to keep things going. Keep making records, playing shows and touring wherever we can. We like what we do and we aren’t stopping anytime soon!