Kurt Wagner on Lambchop’s New Album – ‘I Don’t Write Fiction’

Americana band “Lambchop” and mastermind Kurt Wagner have released a new album called “The Bible”. There couldn’t be a more sacred title for the album, and in fact Wagner talks in an interview about a kind of realization that was the basis for working on this album: “My life has changed, I’ve gotten older and you never knew if this would be the last record you’d do.”

Kurt Wagner is not safe

“He was actually just trying to figure out what would happen next” and what he wanted to do, Wagner says: “Besides, I wasn’t sure if I could really record a new album because there’s so much going on in the world.”

The work didn’t start after that, he says, “I talked to a friend, he sent me a song and he said, ‘I think this is the last song I’ll ever write in my life’.” And I think: Shouldn’t every song be like this? “

This is the way you should be with everything you do. You always want to do your best.

Wagner’s justification for choosing the title is also more practical: “It’s a memorable title. As far as I know, no one has ever called their album that name. It surprised me. I think it’s a really great album and should be given a proper name.”

Find Bible references

Only after choosing the title does he then ask new questions and – apparently – establish references and connections from the Bible, as he says: “Sometimes you have to work backwards after titling – meaning: it sounds like the right title, but you’re not Well, I don’t know why. In this case I had to find out why this album is called “The Bible”.

But Wagner also stresses that this album and his work in general are not about religiosity: “It’s more about spirituality to me. I wanted to explore that drive and filter it out of the songs. But I didn’t want to explain to anyone that it was about that. I just wanted you to feel it.” He adds, laughing: “Then I misnamed the album “The Bible.”

During the epidemic, Wagner cared for his seriously ill father. And a lot of things from that time and these circumstances are also related to songs: “When I was writing songs, I got calls from the hospital. This has happened in my life now. And I always try to share in my songs what is happening in my life or in the lives of my friends and family.” It shows in his words.” I don’t write novels,” Wagner says.

Thoreau and Corona Loneliness

Wagner also draws clear links to classics of American literature: Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” from the mid-19th century. Thoreau moved into the solitude of the woods away from civilization to work and wrote about this escape from the world, philosophizing on the basis of life.

And for Wagner it was similar – the work on the “Bible” came at the time of the renunciation of the Corona virus: “We were completely isolated at that time, we did not see many other people. I focused a lot on nature. And then I started reading The Master of Nature Observation – and I learned a lot of things that seemed important at the time.”

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He made the album with two producers and wrote songs with them, according to Wagner: “Each of us combined our own points in some songs. My biggest contribution was my voice and lyrical content. Her contribution was more musical.”

New things are only possible by working with others

This type of production is the band’s principle: “Lambchop is known for the fact that every album looks very different, and if you look at the albums in chronological order, you’ll see diversity.” This is the only way for him to invent something new, says Wagner:

“You have to be able to have someone else produce or co-write the music. And that’s exactly why I’m open to other possibilities: When you look into the future, you should keep trying to remain an interesting musician.”

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