It was a busy first album cycle for the Brooklyn via London and Sweden duo known as Alberta Cross. Their debut, Broken Side of Time, racked up lots of praise from rock critics and the band toured extensively on their own as well as sharing the stage with bands like The Shins, Oasis and Mumford and Sons. With their follow-up, Songs of Patience, released earlier this month, the band will do a month-long run of U.S. dates before heading off to Europe to play the festival circuit. We caught up with bassist and co-founder Terry Wolfers, who told us more about the new record, why he was so excited to visit Seattle his very first time and how the band is frequently mistaken for being Canadian. Alberta Cross play The Crocodile on July 28th. They'll also do a free in-store performance at the Silver Platters in Queen Anne at 3 p.m.
Is the title of the record literal then? Yeah. We were toying around with some names when we were in the studio and that came up and it was just perfect.
Did you and Petter talk at all about a vision for what you wanted the record to be? Not really. I think we always think more about the songs rather than the album as a whole.
Is it awkward to play songs from a new record on tour that audiences won't necessarily be immediately familiar with? I find the opposite really. You want to present songs to those people in the best possible light so they can really get behind them. It's very exciting for us to be playing new material live because we toured the last record so much. People have been coming up and saying that they really love the new material, which is amazing when they come down to hear the previous record and then they're over the moon with this one. That really means a lot.
Do you have a favorite song on the record? I think "I Believe in Everything" is one of my favorites because we had a lot of fun recording that one. We had a bunch of our friends down to the studio for the stomps and the claps. Everyone got in there at like two in the morning and had a bit of fun. And they were hanging out while we recorded that track. It's got a shoegaze element to it too and I love all that stuff. It's what I grew up listening to.
Can you tell me about the cover art and how it came about? It's a striking image. We wanted a picture this time, a great image. It was a shoot that was done by a friend of our singer Petter. We ran into a bit of time crunch and we were running out of time for someone to do it and that was some art that Petter stumbled across and really just felt that it fit his version of the album.
So it's not you guys in the picture?
So it's not you guys in the picture?No, it's not us. It was shot for a campaign two years back. There's a few more and they are all striking.
Was there something about it that you thought summed up the album, with the two subjects' heads inside these other objects -- or was it just an arresting image? I just imagined it being the cover, and the additional artwork and pictures working well in the rest of the package. It reminded me of early Verve artwork, which was done by a company called Microdot.
Do people ever think you are Canadian based on your band name? Yeah, we get asked that all the time. We played Canada once and we get reviewed the next day and someone said it was really great to see Canadian bands out there doing it.
How did you guys decide on Brooklyn when you moved abroad? There are a lot of bands there, but it doesn't exactly ooze Americana. The only place we had been in the States was the CMJ Festival about four years ago in New York. We met up with a lot of bands there and the scene in London was at a little bit of a low at that point, especially for a band like us. We'd get on a bill with bands that sounded like Joy Division and it was just a bit weird. And then we came to New York and we were playing with bands that weren't exactly like us, but it worked. It was an interesting night of music rather than us sticking out like a sore thumb. It was an energy thing. It was so new for us. Plus, we had eight months left on a visa so we thought we might not get the opportunity to do it so we might as well do it now.
How many times did you guys come to Seattle on your first LP? We played Chop Suey about three years ago and that's the only time we've ever been to Seattle. Unfortunately it was one of one those nights where you play and you have to get on your way pretty quick, which was too bad because we'd all been looking forward to it. Frasier was one of my favorite programs. I absolutely love it, so the first time I went to Seattle I was a very happy man. And Petter was ecstatic to go into the very first Starbucks. Before the show we went down to the little market and ended up going to one of the best tobacco shops in America. I could finally find everything I'd been searching for for about three weeks.