Big Thief is an indie rock band based in Brooklyn, New York. The band features frontwoman Adrianne Lenker on guitar and vocals, guitarist Buck Meek, bassist Max Oleartchik and drummer James Krivchenia. Their first album, Masterpiece (2016), was met with high praise. Big Thief’s newest album, Capacity, is out now via Saddle Creek.
“There is a darker darkness and a lighter light,” says Big Thief singer and guitarist Adrianne Lenker of the band’s newest album, Capacity. The album, their second release on the tail of last year’s debut Masterpiece, is a riveting examination of what Lenker calls “the world within,” the process of self-acceptance and the feminine side.
Where are you from?
Adrianne Lenker: Brooklyn, New York.
When did you start making music?
AL: Well, we all started making music individually at different times. We all started pretty young when we were kids, and started making music together in 2015 after we all gathered in New York and met there.
And who did you listen to growing up?
Buck Meek: I listened to a lot of Django Reinhardt and Lightnin Hopkins. Radiohead.
James Krivchenia: Jazz.
Max Oleartchik Keith Jarrett.
AL: Michael Hedges, Pat Metheny.
JK: Limp Bizkit.
How and when did you decide this is what you wanted to do?
AL: I don’t know if there was ever a moment of decision. It just kind of always felt like the only thing that I could see myself or feel myself doing.
JK: It wasn’t a specific time. We were just playing a lot of music, and I felt good about focusing most of my time on that and seeing what happens.
Born in Egypt, Raffi Cavoukian, better known by the mononym Raffi, is a Canadian singer-lyricist and author best known best for his children’s music, which was popular in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
BM: I was obsessed with Raffi as a young boy, and from age 16 on I wanted to be a children’s musician. And that transformed.
AL: It would be cool to be a children’s musician but as a child.
“The only thing that I know to do if I do want to write is to sort of get myself out of the way. Be silent and still and hopefully connect to myself. I feel writing is more about listening.”
— Adrianne Lenker
What life event has affected you the most and what role has that played in your music?
MO: For me, it’s life as an event.
AL: That’s a really good answer because life is the thing that makes itself through the music all the time. Just every single moment of life shapes multiple, infinite facets of the layers of everything, musical or nonmusical. It all makes its way in.
What is the inspiration for the name of your recent album, Capacity?
AL: I wrote the song “Capacity” after a dream. I woke up at my sister’s house in the woods and basically just wrote down the dream. Every verse is a part of the dream. I took the word from the chorus, “Capacity.” And it just felt right to call the record that.