Seattle-based Hey Marseilles melted hearts in the indie folk scene with their 2010 national release of “To Travel & Trucks,” followed by the warmly received “Lines We Trace” in 2013. And now they’re back — honest and orchestral as ever – with a self-titled LP set to drop Feb. 5 from Shanachie Records. This time the chamber pop band worked with Anthony Kilhoffer — a Grammy-winning hip-hop/R&B producer-engineer whose roster includes the likes of Kanye West, John Legend, Rick Ross and Kid Cudi — an unlikely, but awesome pairing that’s ever-apparent on the upcoming release.
“We wanted him to have a heavy hand on the album,” says 32-year-old lead singer Matt Bishop. “His resume speaks for itself. From a production standpoint [“Hey Marseilles”] has a really different sound.
The band kicked off their North American tour this week and we caught up with Bishop from Seattle before he packed up the van and hit the road.
There are quite a few of you — what’s the plan for not killing each other in the van?
Some of us are going to work from the road. We’re lucky to have jobs that allow us to telecommute. Phillip [Kobernik] is a coder, Jacob [Anderson] works in finance and I read college applications. The new van has a desk that we’ll use as a mobile workstation. It’s good to have something else to stimulate your brain, because after a while the most intellectually engaging thing to do is to drive.
Do you think reading all those applications gets you into the emotional headspace of an 18-20-year-old?
I feel like it certainly helps in terms of understanding what that headspace is.
Do you think they have different concerns than you did when you were that age?
I wish I could say yes, but unfortunately not. [Laughs] The heartbreak and existential life concerns are about the same.
So how did you end up working with Anthony Kilhoffer?
We had been writing in L.A. for about a year and he was a friend of a friend that we had met. We thought nothing would come of it, but then he called us and said he’d like to work with us. For him, it was something he wanted to use to stretch his boundaries
Would you say his influence prominent on this album?
We wanted to work with him because we wanted someone to captain the ship. There are five us in the band and we’re all our own songwriters and sometimes you have too many cooks in the kitchen. We him to tell us what’s working and what’s not — we all totally trusted him.
You cover David Bowie’s “Heroes” on the album.
That was the only song we didn’t record with Anthony. We were playing around in our home studio after we came back from London Bridge [Studio in Seattle] where we recorded the rest of the album, and that song turned out really well so we decided to add it.
It’s super coincidental timing.
The timing is odd. And all I can say is that it’s proof that [Bowie] has been such an influence on songwriters and musicians everywhere, and us putting that song on our album is a reflection of that.
If you go:
Feb. 5 at 8 p.m.
52 Church St., Cambridge
Feb. 9 at 8 p.m.
Rough Trade NYC
64 N 9th St., Brooklyn
Feb. 10 at 8 p.m.
1201 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia