As Wilco prepare to release their sixth studio album, NME.COM caught up with guitarist Nels Cline before they embark on an extensive world tour.
‘Sky Blue Sky’ – which is due out on May 14 in the UK and a day later in the US – harkens back to traditional rock and roll, said Cline, and is more upbeat than some previous Wilco outings.
“The songs on this album are more positive and uplifting if not romantic in nature,” Cline told NME.COM.
“People are used to hearing a lot of imploding angst from Jeff (Tweedy), but a lot of these songs are love songs to his wife. I think it’s also about not collapsing under the weight of one’s own psyche.”
Cline said that the album was recorded at a leisurely pace in the band’s Chicago loft studio. “There was no clock to worry about since we were recording in our own space, so we worked at a pretty relaxed pace,” the guitarist explained.
“We played in a circle without any headphones or barriers between us. We spent time eating and sleeping in the loft. We cooked a lot so I gained some weight!” he laughed.
Cline said that the loft experience was so positive that he expects it will be the site of future Wilco recordings. “Jeff upgraded a lot of equipment for this album so we’ll probably record there in the future,” he said.
“I often wonder if you listen to the album closely if you can hear traffic going by because there was no soundproofing,” he laughed.
The band self-produced the follow-up to 2004’s ‘A Ghost Is Born’ – a process that seemed entirely natural, admitted Cline.
“I realized that there was no one directing us, but I didn’t realize until reading it in print that it was produced by Wilco,” he said. “Jeff is the final arbiter of what happens. But the songs are pretty straightforward – there’s not a lot of treatment or artifice involved in what you hear.”
The band’s recent Australian tour dates got the band “back into the groove,” Cline said, and helped prepare them for their forthcoming world tour.
Cline revealed that he’s particularly excited about playing their North American dates with supporting band Low beginning in June.
“I’m extremely thrilled to be touring with Low – they’re one of my favourite bands of all time,” gushed the guitarist.
–By our Los Angeles staff.