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By Dave Schutz
Denver quartet The Knew had a prolific year, releasing their first full-length record Pulpería and subsequent Before It Ends EP, and landing spots in commercials and TV shows. They once elicited comparisons to Kings Of Leon, but as that band has morphed into a glossy arena rock act, The Knew has refined its minimalist sound in a more nuanced way. The band will play at Hodi’s Half Note on March 12 with Common Anomaly. Scene recently caught up with guitarist Tyler Breuer and drummer Pat Bowden.
Scene: I hear you spent a long time on Pulpería and popped out the Before It Ends EP in just a few days. Tell me about the impetus for doing that – what are the differences in the two approaches?
The Knew: In an effort to not record the same material over and over, we’re always looking for new methods and recording mediums. After spending the better part of five months on Pulpería, we thought it would make for a nice contrast to strip things down, get a little more raw, and record three tracks over a weekend, immediately after Pulpería. It just provides for a different feel, and you have to make sure the scenery is always changing, in every aspect of life really. We love how both records turned out, but you’ve got to mix up approaches every now and then or it will all sound the same. This is true for a lot of bands. Not U2 though – they always change up how they make albums and they are always dumb sounding.
Scene: How did the Victory Motorcycles commercial come about? Are you guys actively pursuing licensing for TV and the like as part of your strategy for getting your music out?
The Knew: We’ve never actively sought out much commercial success, including any licensing. It just has kind of happened a few times. For the motorcycles, we were approached by the ad agency making that commercial, simply because an employee on the campaign knew a guy who knew [guitarist/singer] Jacob Hansen…it’s amazing how often “who you know” actually makes a difference. We’re really excited about it, and it’s fun to hear our music on TV and show it to our families back home. Obviously Kings of Leon can still make millions by putting out albums, but for little guys like us this is our best chance to get people to hear our music and get paid.
Scene: What’s coming up in the future for you guys? Are you looking forward to the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in March?
The Knew: We are really looking forward to SXSW. Excited for some sun, beer, and music. Not excited for sunburns, hangovers and not getting into venues to see good music, though. We went last year and realized that anybody that goes down to Austin that week trying to “network” or whatever is bound to have a disastrous trip – it’s a zoo. Other than that, we are doing a Midwest tour this summer and will be releasing music throughout the year. We are going to have a good time all the time.