Few bands can truly create a sound that is unique to them. Louisville's Young Widows are an exception to the rule. Throughout their career, they've diverged from their roots as a Jesus Lizard replicant into a band that is actually hard to label. The sound that Young Widows has sculpted is a sort of gothic shoegaze. It's not the sense of Gothicism associated with bands like the Cure or Bauhaus, but referring to the dark, lyrical imagery that would make Ambrose Bierce jealous.
The trio of lead singer/guitarist Evan Patterson, bassist/vocalist Nick Thieneman, and drummer Jeremy McMonigle produces a sound that is pummeling at times and eerily gentle at others, all while conveying a lot of power. Their newest effort, Easy Pain, is the fourth studio album from the band and another step further into innovation and raw expression.
Thieneman took a beat to speak with us about the band's creative process.
Metro Times: Young Widows has an experimental sound that works on record but also translates very well to a live setting.
Nick Thieneman: That's the way we write: kind of feel it out and let it marinate in a sense that sometimes it can take a little time. We just come out of it, let it flow until it makes the most sense, and what works best for the thought — and ultimately what works best for the record. There's definitely a dark contrast between all of our records, particularly the last two: Easy Pain and In and Out of Youth and Lightness. There's definitely a big difference between the two of those records.
MT: Between the last two albums, In and Out of Youth and Lightness and Easy Pain, what was different in terms of what influenced the writing?
Thieneman: A lot of what drives us to write music is what's happening at that moment for us. That definitely affects the mood of the record. In and Out of Youth and Lightness was pretty heavy times for a couple of us. A lot of these songs that we have written — in that particular case, we had about 16 songs and only nine made it on the record because they went for a particular mood and made sense as a cohesive record.
MT: On Easy Pain, it sounds like you took a lot of time to explore the songs. What was that process like?
Thieneman: With Easy Pain, it was more like we wanted to write a really heavy record that we would enjoy playing and not so much have to worry about playing every single part — just being able to play it without thinking and having really complex, polyrhythm stuff going on. We had all the music done for that record in two days, so it went very well.
MT: On the last two albums you've put out, it's evident that the songs have come out of jam sessions. In the future, will you continue to write that way?
Thieneman: With every record, you come into more and more of your own sound. I feel like we do that. We're all about reinventing ourselves and trying something new. We'll definitely be jamming and figuring out what goes with what. Sometimes we'll sit down and practice; sometimes we'll take weeks. It just depends on what the song is doing for us and makes sense.— mt
Young Widows will open for Minus the Bear at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 22, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Avenue, Detroit. majesticdetroit.com.