Donkey Jaw: Tell me about the upgrade from home recording to big time studio for Hour of the Wolf.
Jason Rueger: Its like sitting in a new car for the first time. The seats are nice, pre-worn, smells of vanilla bean. An unfamiliar but good feeling. Once the new car smell fades, you realize its just a box, ready to capture your music. We wanted a new experience and to see what the other side of the spectrum was like so we decided to try out a studio. Both are equally rewarding in very different ways.
Were there any pain points moving to a larger scale production?
Our producer Doug Boehm did a great job setting up a comfortable space for us. It was a different city/vibe, which required some settling in. We were lucky though to have so many good people involved and tons of great equipment to experiment with, so it didn’t take long. The first day we set up some 10 amps and just played with tones, that was a great time.
There’s tale of your night owl writing habits. Is this the reason for the album’s name or are you just a big Ingmar Bergman fan?
Both. I love what he accomplishes through his films. When I saw Hour of the Wolf I had a familiar feeling while watching it, the feeling I would get the many nights I couldn’t sleep. It fit.
You’ve said that there was a lot of growth songwriting-wise on this album. Were there any particular influences?
The first album dealt a lot with my past. This album more with the present. I dug into my inner, for lack of a better term, demons/personal struggles and let them out. Growth for me is letting go of what I was holding in.
What do you miss most about rural, Kansas living?
Family. The people. The Milo Festival. The old cars. Our beautifully humble 1930s farmhouse. The food. Being able to see the stars at night. The barn. Driving around on the dirt roads with no destination in mind. Red beers. My rusted old pickup truck. My friends. I miss it all…love that place more than most.
What have you gained personally and artistically from living in the big city for the past few years?
Personally, I’ve learned to be flexible. The city requires that of you. New York can be a tough place, but if you roll with it, it’ll reward you in ways you never expected. Artistically, the constant energy you feel from other musicians/new sounds.
Your live shows blow people away. Do you guys stick to a fairly tight setlist nightly or wing it?
Why, thank you. There are a few mainstays in our set, but we like to switch it up as much as we can. It keeps us on our toes, plus our catalog has grown enough to substitute songs in and out. I don’t like our set to be too comfortable because the best shit comes from when your on your toes and traversing the unknown.
What’s the last show you saw that really blew you away as a fan?
Ty Segall at Webster Hall, May 16th, 2012. Talk about a show. Blew me away.
Are there any bands you are excited to check out at Savannah Stopover?
This years lineup is stacked. Always stoked to see our buds in The Whigs, Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, Filligar and Vietnam play. I love the new Mac DeMarco and Naomi Punk albums, definitely want to see them. And I really don’t want to miss Chelsea Light Moving, Ducktails, Turbo Fruits, Cheyenne Mize, Young Buffalo and William Tyler. The Savannah Stopover is one of the best fests around. We have so much love for that city, and everyone involved with the
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for Country Mice?
We’re working on setting up a show with friends in the barn back at my parents house in Beattie, Kansas. That will be a very special night. Also, writing/working on a new album.
Country Mice play the Savannah Stopover on March 8 at The Jinx at at 12:00am and again on March 9 at
B & D Burgers on Congress (Patio) at 5:00pm.