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Needtobreathe Interview

Exclusive Needtobreathe Interview


Needtobreathe is...

Bear Rinehart - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Bo Rinehart - Guitar, BGVs
Seth Bolt - Bass, BGVs
Joe Stillwell - Drums

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Needtobreathe Interview

Ariel Body of Music Faith: Can you tell me about how you guys started as a band?

Joe Stillwell: We all grew up in the same town. Basically, that's how we originally met. Bear met Bo whenever Bo was born.

Seth Bolt: 'Cause they're brothers.

Bear Rinehart: We were saying earlier that we went out and bought clothes first, and then decided what person we were going to be in the band, based on what kind of clothes we liked... Also, the style of music we would be.

Seth Bolt: Bo, Bo's clothes he bought, I mean, obviously, dictated that he needed to be a guitar player.

Bo Rinehart: So I was like, well, now I gotta buy a guitar.

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, and learn guitar.

Seth Bolt: The only problem was, like, we were ready to start the band, we had our clothes, but the guitar was on backorder for like 9 months. So we had to wait...

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, so for 9 months we were in a band, but we weren't playing or anything.

Ariel Body: Where did your name come from?

Joe Stillwell: It came from a story that I heard at a youth retreat whenever I was growing up. It was about Socrates teaching some students beside a pond. One of the students asked "how do I truly know when I'm seeking my purpose in life, and like seeking after God". Instead of answering, Socrates goes over and dunks the guy's head under the water and holds him down there for a few minutes. When he lets him back up he's you know gasping because he's on the verge of drowning. And he says, "when you need that purpose as much as you need to breathe, that's when you know that you're truly seeking after Him."

Ariel Body: How would you describe your new album, "The Heat"?

Joe Stillwell: Hot.

Bo Rinehart: It's awesome!

Seth Bolt: Um.. Fresh.

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, fresh. It's us. It's the most us that we've ever been able to put on tape. It's hard to capture what you do live - all that range - we're from the South, so there's some Southern stuff, some British, and then some... I don't know. I think this record - it's got a ton of songs on it, which is cool - it gives you a lot of diversity on the record. We listened to it again last night, and we're still excited about it after a couple of weeks not hearing it.

Ariel Body: Were there any major influences on the album? Other musical influences?

Bear Rinehart: Yeah. I don't know... probably not. When we actually went towards the songs this time, but I think there are influences who've made us who we are. I think this time, it was the first time we got to put like our own imprint on those influences. We felt like those influences made us up to a point; now it's us being what we took from that, without necessarily borrowing from that as much. So this is like the first time I think we were able to play the music that we were influenced by without it sounding like those people. So we're very proud of that. We really feel like it's our own record and we hope people will like it!

Ariel Body: Can you tell me a little about the meaning behind "Looks Like Love"?

Bear Rinehart: We don't get asked that song that much. Yeah, that's good.

Seth Bolt: I won't run when it looks like love...

Bear Rinehart: We wrote this thing about it, but um. I think people who've been hurt too many times in a row and not really having the courage to get into a relationship where they can be loved. I think that's true in our relationship with God, but also you know, in your relationship with people. People just clam up after they've been hurt in those ways. That's a song that we wrote about that idea. Really, you have to be willing to sacrifice a little bit and be hurt a little in order to fully experience love.

Ariel Body: "Washed by the Water" is one of my favorites off the album; can you tell me about the meaning behind it?

Bear Rinehart: It's a song about my dad. He's a pastor. He just uh, he went through - if you know anything about preachers are, they just... You know, there's a lot of stuff that gets said in the church. There was some stuff that got said at our church that actually turned out to not be true when it all came out, or whatever. I just thought it was a cool thing that my dad kept his integrity throughout that whole situation. Yeah, and we put sort of a gospel feel to it. There's a gospel choir on the record that we recorded. And yeah. It's one of my favorites too.

Ariel Body: The intro to "Second Chances" has an organ in it, right?

Bear Rinehart: Yep.
How did that come about and why did you choose that song for it?

Bear Rinehart: It's a umm...

Bo Rinehart: It's a cool story.

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, it is a cool story. The producer we used for most of the record was this guy Rick Miato, and in the studio he had a pump organ from the 1800s. So it's one of those that you work with your feet. If you listen to the record, at the end it kind of goes hwuah, it makes this like kind of noise. You hear this sort of air noise, and we just left that noise on there because we thought it was kind of cool. We did that as a really sort of live thing, so you're sitting there playing the keys and pushing the pedals at the same time -

Bo Rinehart: *shwoo, shwoo, shwoo...*

Bear Rinehart: So, that's what they used to do, and I don't know how they do it, because it's exhausting.

Seth Bolt: It's a great workout

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, it is a great workout! It's not easy to push it while *shwoch, schwoch*

Joe Stillwell: Calves of steal!

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, what's really hard about it, is making your feet not too loud, because it's rickity wood, like *eh-ahw, eh-ahw*. So you've gotta be really smooth and like perfectly in time. So anyway, that's why... We just thought the tone of it was amazing. And then Bo had this guitar thing - kind of the theme, I guess, the vibe - of the song already. Then as soon as we heard the pump organ, we went on and wrote the words.

Bo Rinehart: Yeah, it came out really quick.

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, and that's another one of our favorites on there.

Ariel Body: I was just about to ask what you're favorite songs on the album were...

Bear Rinehart: I think "Washed by the Water" is mine. Just - I think it goes back to the point before - being able to do soulful music without sounding like one of the soulful bands, I think, is something that's difficult to do. So we're very proud that we're able to do that. I don't feel like, as different as it is on the record, I don't feel like it sounds like it's out of place. Like, "who is that band?" or you know, "how'd that happen??". Because I think we sort of reference it from time to time on the record, the Southern elements. Like slide-guitars and harmonicas and stuff like that. It's almost like, "I know these guys might be capable of this..." and then having it on there.

Joe Stillwell: Mine's "More Time". I just, I love that song. The vibe of it is really great whenever it starts off acoustic and then builds. Then it's got the little breakdown bridge in the middle of it.

Bo Rinehart: Yeah, when I listened to it last night, the one thing that I thought was that it feels very sincere. It's something that the band really wants - not necessarily that they want the audience to know - but I guess us, in our personal lives, want our family to know. And the people who we know. We want to share that with them. So that's kind of why it sticks out to me.

Bear Rinehart: Basically everything you do in the music business is promised, and then it may or may not come true. And if it does, it's like, years later. You know, because it's so slow how it moves. Just trying to get signed, because we're from a small town, some 6 or 7 years it took us to get signed. Then to make your first record and to get the record out... Just all those kinds of things. So you're constantly promising to everybody in your family and all you're friends, "Just a little more time. Let me hit the road for another year - or two, or three, or four, or five..." So anyways, that's what that song is about.

Seth Bolt: There's a song, "Moving On", we were kind of almost done with the record. These guys [Bear and Bo] write tons of songs and we were like "We've gotta put this on there!" Because it's just got a really nice, light, fun, kind of feeling. One cool thing that happened, was when we were in Chicago. We had like two days off, so that's where we had to record the song, because we were on the road at the time when we wrote it. We had said from the beginning - like, the week before or whatever - it would be so cool if we could have horns, like some trumpets, saxophones, and stuff like that on it. Then, when we go to the studio, that day it just so happened the best little "horn section" in Chicago was at the studio right next door. I think we ended up paying them with pizza. But, they heard the song and they were like "We really like it", you know, "We'll stick around for an hour and track it."

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, everyone was in the studio when we tracked it. So when you listen to the song, at the end, you can hear it - well, you can't hear it, but we can all feel that sort of vibe. Most of the time when you're in the studio, it's late an night, and you've got four people in there. Which is also cool. But this was like forty people in there, and everybody's eating pizza and like cheering them on.

Bo Rinehart: And we're like trying to be conductors of what we're thinking. We're like *ba-buh-ba-buh-ba-buh*, you know, "Can you do that? Because I can't write it down for you... So, if you could try to play that..."

Seth Bolt: Yeah, we were kind of like dancing around; it was hard to sit still.

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, it was a lot of fun.

Seth Bolt: And for us, kind of starting out as a rock band, it was the first time we'd had a horn section. So it was kind of just like, "whoa."

Ariel Body: You guys have been touring a lot; do you have a favorite memory as a band?

Joe Stillwell: we saw a rocket take off when we were in...

Bear Rinehart: Ah, good memory man!

Bo Rinehart: I forgot about that!

Joe Stillwell: We were on the beach - where was that?

Bear Rinehart: Cocoa Beach.

Joe Stillwell: Yeah, Cocoa Beach in Florida. We saw all these people walking to the beach, and then like getting to the beach and looking off in this direction.

Bear Rinehart: We were just playing around. Just out there lounging around.

Joe Stillwell: Yeah, we were just throwing the football. So we're like, "what are they doing?"

Seth Bolt: It's kind of like a scene from the end of the world.

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, we're like still playing and everybody's like, standing there, still looking in one direction.

Joe Stillwell: Like City of Angels, that movie. Where they're all on the beach and they're just looking in one direction. Then all of a sudden we hear like *makes rocket noise*.

Bear Rinehart: So we turn around, and we just happened to be there the day and the time of the rocket launch thing. It was like *makes another rocket noise*.

Ariel Body: That's crazy!

Bo Rinehart: It was awesome.

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, so that was kinda' cool. Oh, and when Hulk Hogan introduced us at a show. At a radio show, and he says "NEEDTOBREATHE's brother..." and all that.

Bo Rinehart: Scaring our tour manager, too.

Seth Bolt: Yeah, there's a video on our MySpace right now.

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, that was really funny. We've been doing this for a really long time. Our first tour, too, is a good memory to me, just thinking about it. It was the first time we got away from the South and played the Mid-west.

Seth Bolt: Our first show was in Chicago. For some of us it was the first time we'd been outside of our little Southern area.

Bear Rinehart: And it was so exciting because we had a van that would barely run, and I remember we'd get one hotel room for the six guys.

Bo Rinehart: ...They won't let you do that.

Bear Rinehart: It's not exactly legal. So we would have to roll down the windows and everybody like ducked down in the van when we drove up to the hotel. Then somebody had to let us in. Forty dollars was our limit - forty dollars or less - so the guy who was helping us then, he would go in and he would go "I've got $40." and like lay the cash on the table, "This is what we've got."

Bo Rinehart: "We don't care what kind of room it is..."

Seth Bolt: Yeah, a lot of bartering for hotel rooms at 4am.

Ariel Body: If you could have someone listen to one song of either of your albums, which would it be and why?

Seth Bolt: Well, we made this sampler. I don't know if that counts.

Bear Rinehart: *laughs* Yeah, it has all the songs in a row really fast.

Seth Bolt: Like, 15 seconds of them.

Bear Rinehart: That's a really hard question. I think we try to answer that live. Because sometimes you have to play shorter sets, so we've got to figure out what songs we want to play. You know, what songs can we get into? I think live, songs like "Washed by the Water", anything with some substance is obviously something we want to get to. We want to start putting music out there more. We've got a new record coming out, but we've already written songs since, that we want to put on records. We would like to do some things where we just put records out online or just online and at shows. So I think our deal is that we really want the fans to get what we do - like, all the shades of what we do. They like the band, they like the vibe, you know. They don't really care what style it is, they just like music. That, for us, would be nice. If we could put out a hundred songs a year, that's the way the Beatles did it, they just pumped out music. It was really fresh, because every time you saw them on tour they were playing new songs. I think for us that would be good. Even putting EPs out for certain tours, because we just write that much. I think having our fans get into as much music of ours as possible is what we're going for.

Ariel Body: The music video for "Shine On", you guys made that yourself. How did that come about?

Seth Bolt: The first time around we went to California. They had us fly out there and make this big production video. Record labels have a way of spending way too much money. We had this idea to do the video and at the time, I guess it's been about 9 months or so ago, we thought, why don't we do this ourselves. So we decided to put it on Youtube and go that kind of route.

Bear Rinehart: We just borrowed cameras and borrowed friends and stuff.

Seth Bolt: Borrowed friends? *laughs*

Bo Rinehart: Yeah, they weren't our friends, we borrowed them.

Bear Rinehart: We had this kid who went to our church that we thought was perfect for it. So we used him as the start.

Seth Bolt: He was the star in all the church Christmas plays.

Bear Rinehart: So now we're working on the music video for "Yahweh", the new single for the new record. It's stop-motion, so it's like a flip book of pictures or something like that. It's completely insane. I can't wait for people to see it. It took us a week to shoot, and we've spent over a week editing it already. We had a photographer come down and an Indie film producer. Still, it was like, well over 5000 pictures - individual pictures.

Bo Rinehart: Then when you squeeze them together it looks like movement. It's kind of herky-jerky.

Bear Rinehart: So anyway, I think it's going to be really cool.

Ariel Body: Sounds awesome! I have some random questions now... Do you prefer Mac or PC?

Bo Rinehart: Mac.

Bear Rinehart: Neither.

Seth Bolt: Mac.

Joe Stillwell: I would say Mac, yeah.

Bear Rinehart: Yeah, they make it easier to record.

Seth Bolt: We've got our own recording studio, so you've got to use a Mac.

Joe Stillwell: I have a PC, and it's terrible.

Ariel Body: The weirdest question you've ever been asked and the answer?

Joe Stillwell: It was probably that time when somebody asked me about the weirdest question I've ever been asked.

Joe Stillwell: How do we like our potatoes cooked.

Bear Rinehart: Yeah. And favorite Backstreet Boys' song.

Bo Rinehart: Like, "Will you sign my face?" I know we've had a lot of really weird ones, but they slip my mind...

Bear Rinehart: Maybe put them in like the back of our minds.

Seth Bolt: For me, it's the "would you mind if I sang a song for you?"

Bear Rinehart: That's what's weird.

Seth Bolt: This happened today! A lady asked me and Bo, she was like "I write songs and I'd love to sing you one."

Bo Rinehart: "Can I do that?" And I was like "Well, uh, ya' got a CD? ...I don't know if I want you to be around when I hear. Maybe it's awesome, I don't know."

Seth Bolt: "But then I could listen to it again!"

Bear Rinehart: Some younger girls will be at the merch table sometimes, and you kind of hear them start to sing a little bit. At first they're whispering, then they get louder and louder, kind of like looking out of the corner of their eye at you to see if you're noticing them. It's like they're trying out for the band, sort of. Like they think if they sing well enough they'll get in.

Bo Rinehart: *starts to sing "Amazing Love"*

Bear Rinehart: It's like, seriously? You're trying out for the band? You think we're going to let you in the band? Even if you're the best singer in the world - I don't know, it's delusional, in a way.

Bo Rinehart: We must have a sign hanging in the back, you know, "Now Employing. We're looking for new background singers."

Bear Rinehart: But that's always awkward, because then if they do sing it and it's really bad, you have to endure, like, awkwardness.

Seth Bolt: Or try not to laugh, which is hard.

Bear Rinehart: Which is really hard.

Bo Rinehart: It's mainly not 'cause they're bad, it's just because it's a weird situation. It's very uncomfortable. I mean, nobody ever performs for one person.

Ariel Body: What's currently playing on your CD player or iPod?

Joe Stillwell: Matt Maize and El Torpedo.

Bear Rinehart: King's Leon, for me.

Bo Rinehart: Elliot Smith.

Seth Bolt: Some old Ray Charles.

Ariel Body: What's one song you wish you'd written?

Bear Rinehart: "Pain in my Heart?" Isn't that the title of it? Yeah, it's by Otis Redding. I'm into that one.

Bo Rinehart: I'm into ones that make a lot of money. Yeah, I was saying like "Jingle Bells"...

Bear Rinehart: "Happy Birthday"...

Bo Rinehart: Yeah.

Seth Bolt: "Father Abraham." Though, that one didn't really see it's financial glory, but...

Bear Rinehart: It's a classic!

Bo Rinehart: "I'm a Little Teapot!"

Ariel Body: Anything else you'd like to add?

Joe Stillwell: August 28th. Our new record!

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