Calvin College Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium, Grand Rapids
Sept. 16, 8 p.m.
$23 public, $10 w/ Calvin ID, all ages
Calvin.edu, (616) 526-6282
Even as the legend of his band Lord Huron continues to grow, Okemos-native Ben Schneider will never forget the natural beauty of the state that first inspired him to write music.
“That part of the world will always have this sort of mystical mystery for me,” Schneider said. “I think it will be a well that I can hopefully draw from for many years to come.”
Now based in Los Angeles, Schneider first wrote the songs that would become Lord Huron on the shores of Lake Huron in 2010. Burnt out on his corporate advertising gig, and the impervious L.A. art scene, he returned to the place where he spent so many childhood summers. From there, he felt freshly inspired to create a world entirely his own.
Soon after, he self-released an EP and had to scramble when fans of his carefully crafted indie-folk demanded a widespread tour.
Returning to his Michigan roots once again, he called up the only musicians he actually knew: His childhood friends and fellow Mid-Michigan-natives Mark Barry (drums), Tom Renaud (guitar) and Miguel Briseno (bass).
“I’ve known some of these guys since I was about 12 and we just always kept in touch when we went our separate ways in the world,” Schneider said of turning Lord Huron into a full-fledged band. “Luckily, I was able to convince them to come out west and we’ve just been touring ever since.”
Lord Huron’s 2012 full-length LP, Lonesome Dreams, wrapped listeners in Schneider’s world even more, delving them into a completely fictional realm — inspired by an even more fictional Western novelist — while expanding the scale and scope of the band’s artistic vision.
“Music these days is very single-oriented and that just has to do with how people consume music and that’s fine,” Schneider said of the forgotten art of the album-making. “But I’ve always been one for wider form, broader scope projects and the album is such a beautiful way to express that.”
After touring with the likes of alt-J, and playing major music festivals like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Coachella, Schneider widened his lens even more and approached Lord Huron’s follow-up like a film maker.
“Initially I had this idea because I had this string of short stories and whether they were going to be a movie, or actual prose, or what I didn’t know,” Schneider said of the genesis of Lord Huron’s latest LP, Strange Trails. “It seemed like a deep back story, maybe even excessive, but it really helped us understand the songs and flesh out the vibe.”
Having recently directed the video for Strange Trails’ swinging lead single, “Fool For Love,” Schneider said he’d love to direct a movie one day, but for now his focus is definitely on music as Lord Huron has tour dates lined up for the rest of this year. The band plays Calvin College Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium on Sept. 16.
“(If you’re) coming to a show, expect to hear something different just because there’s all this life being injected it,” Schneider said of his band’s live show. “Hopefully it’s something of a communal experience where we’re all sort of there together. Kind of like the records, we want you to lose yourself in it a little bit and come along on a journey with us."