Guster is still that fun and exciting college band that refuses to let time or industry trends change how they write upbeat and catchy tunes and throwing a fun concert. Currently on tour in support of their seventh full-length studio album Evermotion, the band played a fun and exciting set on the second afternoon at Bonnaroo, leading fans of all ages through a fun dance party from a song catalog spanning two decades. We sat down with singer/guitarist Ryan Miller and drummer/percussionist Brian Rosenworcel on playing an event like Bonnaroo and moving forward with the new album.
P&W: Really love that you busted out plenty of the older songs in the set yesterday. Also loved how a few of the new songs sounded too, how’s the reception been overall to the new songs off Evermotion?
Brian: It’s good, people seem to like the new songs, they don’t just tolerate them, and they actively enjoy them.
Ryan: You can always tell as soon as you come out with a record how it’s going to play and there can be a palpable dip with the new stuff, but we didn’t feel that way this round, at least with the new songs that we’ve been playing.
Brian: We try to mix it up in the set list, to play the songs we’re excited about to show people but also to play the older ones we’re proud of.
P&W: With this being the seventh studio album, has the process going into a new project changed at all or do you still do into each album with the same creative process?
Brian: Each album is its own adventure. In 2010 when we made Easy Wonderful, we were working with this producer named David Kahne who was a bit of a tyrant and had all sorts of tension. We took a hiatus in the middle then rescued the record at our bandmate’s studio in Nashville.
Ryan: That took us a year, and this one we did in three and a half weeks. We’ve made every kind of record I feel like at this point, from super fast and furious, super expensive ones, we’ve kind of done it every way.
Brian: I think it’s a testament to us having an open mind. We don’t have a certain way we do things, we just want the end result to be something we’re proud of, and however we get there.
P&W: From an artist perspective and a fan perspective, what’s the best part of playing an event like Bonnaroo?
Brian: Seeing phones like yours makes me appreciate that the little crack on my phone is not such a big deal (Laughs).
P&W: You know I don’t see it as too big of a deal, I mean it still works
Ryan: I like the way you’re living.
Brian: I’m about to Instagram your phone onto FuseTV
Brian proceeded to post a picture of my ‘aged’ phone on the FuseTV Instagram Page. Hilarity certainly ensued.
Ryan: The biggest thing is that we’re excited to see a bunch of music and even today I said we have to stop interviews by 4p because Bahamas is playing at 4:00 and there are probably twelve bands I want to see. Last night was super good, I saw Flying Lotus, which was just incredible. I checked out Ben Folds and saw Tears For Fears, which was really great. It was a fun night of music.
P&W: Did you get a chance to see Earth Wind & Fire?
Ryan: A little bit.
P&W: Was it just me, or was their house sound kind of low?
Ryan: I had just come from Flying Lotus and I was really close, and really inside the performance, and just tripping out on like “WHOA this is the jazz of the future!” Then seeing Earth Wind & Fire felt like I wasn’t ready to go back into the past, I wanted to live in the future a little longer.
Brian: Every one of those guys could grab a tambourine and play it with such perfect pocket, they’re such pro musicians. I got bored after a while but I was glad they were there.
P&W: Something that was fun for me in the audience, was seeing how much fun you guys have up on stage. You guys have been doing this for fifteen to twenty years now and it seems like you’re playing them for the first time live, there’s just that excitement you have. Is that tough to do?
Ryan: We’re good fakers. Just kidding. Well, I mean sort of. When I’m playing “Barrel Of A Gun” from 1999, I don’t know if I’m necessarily enjoying the musical experience, but we can play those songs because it does something for people and again a lot of our decisions come from the fact that we’re fans of music so when I go see bands I like and have them not play the old but favorite songs, I’d be super pissed. I understand what it does for the crowd. I don’t think we take it for granted that people still want to come see us and have a relationship with these songs.
P&W: What’s the plan going forward through the rest of 2015?
Brian: We’ve got Central Park SummerStage, some big summer shows, some November tour dates and I’d love to start writing a few more songs at some point but we’re still in the year that we released an album so we’ll probably go back to Europe at some point too.
Ryan: For me, I just started writing songs again the other day, and I think we’re just looking for the next thing to inspire us musically. Our band is never about “Okay we’ve made a record, now let’s make the next one.” The past few albums the band has almost broken up then reformed around a new idea, so for me my radar is out there trying to see how we’re going to fuck up the system and make things scary, interesting, and exciting for us as a band or individually.
Brian: Beyond that, it’s Evermotion, Evermotion.
P&W: Quick final question is Ramona about anyone specifically?
Ryan: Uh, no.
Ryan: Although we do drop Brian’s childhood street in the song. Hickory Lane.
Article: Tom Shackleford
Photos: Merissa Blitz