No band exemplifies the word-of-mouth buzz that the Internet facilitates better than Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Forming in 2004, the Indie Rock quintet created an online frenzy even before it released its debut album. But the band has proven to be more than an Internet flash and has maintained staying power in a capricious industry. On Saturday, June 9, the band will return to Birmingham for a performance at Bottletree Cafe. The Grenadines open the 9 p.m. show. Currently, CYHSY is touring in support of its latest release, Hysterical. Recently, Weld caught up with frontman Alec Ounsworth by phone on the day his band opened its tour in San Diego.
Brent Thompson: Alec, thanks for your time today. What has your schedule been like so far this year?
Alec Ounsworth: We’ve been doing some runs, but we haven’t run all the way around the country. We’ve done the Midwest and up to Canada and some shows on the East Coast.
BT: If you will, talk about the writing process for Hysterical. Were these mostly newer songs or songs that had been around for a while?
AO: Some of them had been around and seemed to fit with the overall concept of the record and some of them had been written during the process. I think “Same Mistake” was written during the process and “Hysterical” was written when we got back together to work on the record. “Maniac” went through a lot of different forms and its earliest form was 10 to 15 years old.
BT: Do songs continue to evolve even after you take them into the studio?
AO: Yeah, because you never entirely know what to expect going into the studio. Sometimes you have a vision for it in your head and you get in the studio and it does not sound that way, so you have to change it.
BT: If you will, talk about the role of technology in music. It seems there is a give-and-take between accessibility and the amount of content listeners must pour through these days.
AO: I think we are lucky because we got there before the cutoff and – believe it or not – I guess we’re a veteran band at this point. Things have changed so much since 2005 and the accessibility online is helpful to a degree. I just hope it doesn’t dumb people’s opinions of music as a whole – it seems to be like fast food for a lot of people. Maybe that was the case in the past, but that’s me – I’m filled with worry (laughs). People seem to latch onto something and the next week they’re onto something else and it’s a little disconcerting. I grew up getting records. I embraced certain bands and projects that made sense to me and I held onto them for dear life. We’ve been lucky – we have a pretty solid and understanding fan base.
BT: Do you continue to write songs when you’re on the road?
AO: It’s hard for me to concentrate on the road. I do bring a lot of demos with me and I try to sift through them to see what might work out when I get back. But to say that I can really finish anything on the road – I don’t know if I’ve ever done that. I’ve tried, but it’s difficult with everything swirling around.
Tickets to the 18+ show are $13 and can be purchased at www.thebottletree.com.