Though I was hoping to be the one reporter who didn’t bring it up, it’s hard to talk about Lost in the Trees‘ newest record, A Church That Fits Our Needs, without making mention of the enormous tragedy that spurred its creation. In 2009, shortly after their first release with Anti-, frontman Ari Picker lost his mother to suicide. Though he’s said in interviews that, as his mother had struggled with depression during his lifetime, her passing wasn’t as great a shock to him as death usually is, he wrote Church in response: a swelling, surging depiction of the grieving process.
Lost in the Trees will be coming to Bottom of the Hill this week, 10/24/12. I caught up with Picker by phone for a brief Q&A.
TBB: How have things changed for you since the release of this last record?
AP: Well, things have definitely changed. We’ve had a lot of opportunities that we wouldn’t have had a shot at before. We had what was probably our best tour yet. Definitely our best tour yet. As far as presence goes, that’s definitively evolved.
TBB: What has the fan response to the new record been like?
AP: I think it’s been good. The turnout has grown. There’s been a more upbeat flair to a lot of the shows.
TBB: The songs on Church are so full of grief, and it’s pretty obvious lyrically. Writing a song like that is one thing, but was performing them for the first time scary to you at all?
AP: I think I’m scared every time I get onstage. We’re trying to play complicated songs, then there’s the emotional element. I don’t really feel that it’s my natural habitat, being a performer. But songwriting definitely is.
I’m actually writing the next record, which is exciting for me. The most poignant personal experience is writing, then they become other peoples’ songs.
TBB: This album, and also the album before it, have gotten so much attention for fearlessly staring death in the face. Are you ever afraid of becoming ‘the death band’?
AP: I don’t know – I don’t think so. I’m one record ahead, in my mind. The record before this one came from sort of a domestic place as well, I wasn’t really planning on writing the last record but it became sort of a sequel to (the second to last one).
The next record is much brighter. I look forward to moving on, I guess.