FLYER Q&A: Ought to play at Smoke & Barrel on Oct. 6

Ought / Courtesy photo

Groundbreaking Montreal post-punk band Ought are in Fayetteville this Saturday, Oct. 6 at Smoke & Barrel Tavern.

The band’s sophomore record Sun Coming Down earned critical praise, and honed in on their sound, an effortless and intense take on Mission Of Burma, and The Fall. Earlier this year, Ought released their third record Room Inside The World on Merge Records.

Who: Ought / Ankle Pop
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6
Where: Smoke & Barrel Tavern, 324 W. Dickson St.
Cost: $13.50 at
More: See the Facebook event

Room Inside The World is a departure of sorts. The band still explodes when they want to, but add nuance and depth to their sound with added instrumentation, and a different vocal range from singer/guitarist Tim Darcy.

Everyone in the band seems to stretch out their palette on Room Inside The World, and the proof is in their new remixes of the song “Desire,” as each member contributes a varied take on the standout track. If Ought’s first two records were expanding on the sound of others, Room Inside The World sees the band on solid ground, expanding on their own sound. It’s the sound of a band putting on new skin, and within that, the sound of four voices becoming a song.

I asked Tim Darcy a few questions on a break from tour and here goes…

If the Four Desires EP is an indication of what the writing process was like for Room Inside The World, how did you finish the record? How do you collectively decide which path is the one you want to go down?

This EP was a project born out of the fact that we were scattered all over the globe for a few months before we began touring. Tim Keen, our drummer, had the idea that everyone should take a stab at remixing “Desire”. I’m not really inclined to that world of music making, so I made a cover with different instrumentation and a more intimate vocal approach. I suppose it does, to a degree, illuminate how we all think. We all have different ideas of how a song should go, and often what we end up with is a sort of center point between all of those ideas.

Room Inside The World seems like a departure. Were there obstacles you had to cross to begin making it?

We knew going into it that it would be a very different record from our first two. We spent quite a lot of time beforehand sending around sounds and songs and images to attempt to create a kind of collective unconscious as a basis for our writing. It has always been a democratic process for the most part, and so we write in a strange way, most of what we end up with comes out of long, drawn-out jams that we then go back and edit down. I’ll then go off and write lyrics and vocals over those beds.

So, in short, not really obstacles per se, but we did force our hand a bit but saying from the
outset that we wanted to change up the idea of what an Ought song could sound like. I feel that the skeletons of a lot of the songs share a lot with the first two records, but you can’t deny that they were built out more fully and in some cases there’s a fairly significant shift in energy from the first two. More synths, lots more instrumentation.

What have you been reading and watching lately?

I’ve been reading a book of poetry by Li-Young Lee called Behind My Eyes. His poems are often meditations on family, displacement, and romantic love. I would highly recommend it. As for TV, I’ve been watching the 6-hour version of Pride and Prejudice with my girlfriend.

How does the band spend time in a tour van? What’s the first thing you do in a new city?

Mostly whoever is driving listens to podcasts or an audiobook in the front. Everyone else does their own thing in headphones. I normally listen to a lot of ambient music so I can read, but recently I’ve been getting into listening to comedy specials or David Sedaris books, they really help pass the time. We don’t usually have much extra time in a city, so we’ll focus on finding some good, healthy food. If we do have a bit of time our go-to is definitely a museum.

What was the last great live show you saw?

I saw Jenny Lewis pretty recently which was excellent, she’s such a great performer.

Have you been to Arkansas before? If not, is there anything you plan to do here?

We’ve driven through a handful of times, but have never played there. There are a few places on this tour we’ve never been before, which is always nice. We’re looking forward to it.