It’s easy to get swept away by time, leaving behind just a mere trace you were there — especially in the music industry, where time passes and new acts consistently fill in the space old ones left. Five years since their last record, Seattle rock band Minus the Bear haven’t fallen into this trap, set to return Friday (March 3) with their new album VOIDS.
“We have been kind of working on starting the record for a long time. Kind of on the typical Minus the Bear schedule, every couple years, two or three years,” lead vocalist Jake Snider tells Billboard. “But then we lost our drummer due to some medical issues, basically, he could no longer perform with us and that really set us back.”
However, this setback didn’t keep them down, and enlisting a new drummer, Kiefer Matthias, added a new energy to the group without drastically changing their sound.
Returning to Suicide Squeeze Records for their latest record, VOIDS easily relays that their signature math rock and grunge vibes have not been lost.
The track “Robotic Heart” features a beguiling melody and bucking rhythm, while heavier songs like “Tame Beasts” boasts raucous guitar licks and an explosive momentum that drives it from start to finish.
But the album isn’t only comprised of heavy hitters. Discussing the song “Invisible,” Snider says, “It’s really elemental, it’s just very simple chord structures like two chords structured for the verse and then kind of a more playful four chord thing for the chorus. It just doesn’t have a lot of flash I think like some of the more, flashy guitar stuff. This one’s really kind of meditative and droney for the verses.”
Working on the album after 16 years as a band wasn’t always the easiest though, as even veteran rockers internally struggle for balance: to continue to evolve while simultaneously staying true to the band as a cohesive whole.
“It’s like, how much as a collective of people do we have to say? It’s always a problem when you see the emptiness of having no music written, and then you start working again and figure out we can still make another song. So let’s make another song. And it kinda starts over,” explains Snider. “And every moment I’m always questioning that stuff, like am I repeating myself? Am I just simply regurgitating? Is this the same song I’ve already written but painted a different shade? It’s like the irony of being an artist means being completely self-conscious of what you do.”
Thankfully, Minus the Bear appear to have found that balance, creating a record that converges older tendencies — like on “Give & Take” — songs like “What About The Boat?” evoke a lighter, resonant yearning not often expressed by the band. And Minus the Bear are so eager to share it with you, they’re premiering the new track below.
While the conception and construction of VOIDS was a good experience, the guys are most looking forward to sharing it with the fans. “I think the main thing what we want to do is get out on the road and performing the songs it’s going to be the most fun aspect of this whole process, Snider tells Billboard. “We have people that we’ve come to know over the years and consider friends just from seeing them at shows when we come to town. It’s always incredibly heartwarming to hear someone say, ‘I’ve seen you guys 25 times.’ That’s really amazing. I never thought that I’d be 40 doing this stuff still, so it’s amazing to have a longevity like this.”
Minus the Bear’s record VOIDS will be released Friday, Mar. 3. And is available for pre-order here. Listen to the premiere of their new track “What About The Boat?” below.