When you close your eyes and listen to 2015’s Untethered Moon from Built to Spill, it’s like nothing’s changed.
The guitars still wail. Singer Doug Martsch still applies layers of distortion to his vocals. The band still writes songs about rock music and the state of Idaho.
By now, Built to Spill has remained active longer than most college students have been alive. But Martsch tells EW it’s mostly “just some kind of luck” mixed with “lack of egos” that is the glue that has kept he band together.
Of course, change is inevitable: Forming in 1992, Built to Spill signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1995 and has played countless festivals (including South By Southwest and Pitchfork), and the band has released eight full-length records.
“There are a lot of things that have changed,” Martsch says. “But it’s been sort of fluid. It still feels like the same thing to me in a lot of ways, too.”
Yet Martsch recalls a time “about 15 years ago” when he thought the band was going to break up because he was worried they wouldn’t be able to keep playing the same old songs. Around that same time, 1997, however, the band released Perfect From Now On. The project was their first release on a major label (and also my personal favorite Built To Spill record).
For a whimsical, clever taste of what the band is up to these days, look no further than the recent videos for “Never Be The Same” and “Living Zoo” produced by musician friends Slam Dunk.
The band’s stop in Eugene unfortunately won’t be alongside Pacific Northwest superstars Death Cab For Cutie (three of their gigs on the upcoming West Coast tour are in support of Ben Gibbard’s band), but their show at WOW Hall has a familiar intimacy for the group.
“It’s a cool, cooperative thing,” Martsch says. “I love those kinds of places — un-corporate clubs where volunteers are running the show.”
Built To Spill performs with Genders at 8 pm Tuesday, July 21, at WOW Hall; $20 adv., $25 door.