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Brooklyn duo She Keeps Bees return with their fourth album Eight Houses and dates in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield this month. Frontwoman Jessica Larrabee talks about abandoning their DIY approach and taking lyrical inspiration from American history.

How has your sound developed on Eight Houses?
We took our time and really carved these songs. Most of them have a slow burn. We tried to make each song speak to one another as a whole – that’s how we wanted the album to unfold.

How has working with a producer changed your experience of making an album, given that your previous output has been DIY?
We were allowed to focus on mood and performance instead of running around checking mics and making sure things were recording properly. Nicolas, our producer, could make sounds and atmosphere with ease. We could play with different instruments and break down songs and build them back up with more than just our own opinions. It was beautiful to collaborate and be surprised by the happy accidents.

What inspiration do you take from history?
While driving across the US on tour we spent many days on long, straight roads which can put you into a contemplative state. I began reading about the true history of America and was struck by the stories. I was moved so deeply and began to see that this was a universal story of progress. The western world surrounding indigenous people – taking natural resources, destroying their sense of self through assimilation, cut your hair, speak our language, believe in our god, stay put, be quiet.

How do you make those stories sound so personal and emotional?
I feel sensitive to them because I feel it is important the stories are told. We must remember the past and confront it, no matter how dark or ugly.

What is the creative dynamic and process between the two of you?
I write the songs and Andy brings in the elements that makes them live – drums are the heartbeat. We try to be supportive without changing the other’s intention. We feel lucky to have this connection and hope it continues to nurture us and our art.


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