Cage the Elephant supporting The Black Keys
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids
Sept. 7, 8 p.m.
$75, $55, $35
vanandelarena.com, (616) 742-6600
Cage the Elephant's 2013 album, Melophobia, was approached a bit differently than previous records. As opposed to a strict collaborative effort from the very beginning, each of the band's members started writing music individually.
"We hadn't been apart from each other for the better part of five or six years," said Guitarist Brad Shultz. "We all just needed our personal space for a little bit, and as we were taking that time, we all started on what we wanted this record to be. The ideas weren't drastically different, but we weren't on the same page. In the end, I think it really gave us a better perspective on what each person brings to the band."
This process gave the group not only a greater appreciation of each individual's talents, but also helped in further shaping their own unique sound. On previous albums, Shultz said the band may have unintentionally wore their influences on their sleeve too heavily. But Melophobia was a gigantic leap toward something more distinct.
"I think it's all been a progression from our first record to this record," Shultz said. "We're constantly growing and we've been searching to just experiment and push ourselves past our boundaries. On each record we've made we've taken another step in growing as a band and developing our own sound."
Also unlike previous endeavors, after recording Melophobia, the guys went to work right away writing material for the next album. This was a notable change of course, as the group typically feels creatively drained after putting a record together.
"Usually when I come out of the studio I feel like I don't have anything left," Shultz said. "I feel like I've lost it, like I've used all my ability to write songs. This record was kind of different because I just kept writing. It was such a big growth."
In fact, the band is looking at the possibility of working on the next record right after touring with The Black Keys. Until then, Brad and his brother (and lead vocalist) Matt have their own friendly little competition going.
"[Matt and I] have these idea wars where we'll send each other little clips of stuff on our cell phones with text messages and stuff," Shultz said. "This time there are just so many ideas. I feel really good."