“You know, it's funny,” laughs drummer Creighton Barrett, who could never have predicted he or frontman (and longtime friend) Ben Bridwell would find fame and relative fortune with radio-friendly tunes like 'Funeral', 'Is There A Ghost' and 'No One's Gonna Love You'.
“It's this weird thing. I played in hard rock bands until I got the phone call from Ben asking me to play in Band Of Horses. He was always such a big musical influence on me. He just loved music. He would always send me good tapes; he got me into indie rock. But he started listening to country and stuff like that and I was just never around it... I was always into math rock and those kinds of things, just because I'm a drummer.
“But I came to this weird realisation that I had been playing in bands that, almost by design, were not going to be popular. It was a punk thing. But then eventually you start to mature, or at least I did, and I said, 'hey, I do want to be in a band that people actually like'. It meant I had to reinterpret what I thought was 'good music', to a certain degree. So I just think it's so hilarious to look back on that transformation. Especially with Ben! He was always the punk rock singer in all the bands we played in. It's pretty amazing.”
Barrett may not be a punk rock drummer anymore, but he hasn't exactly left his old life behind. In fact, his new one affords him more indulgences than ever. “I always have my skateboard with me just in case,” he admits. “If I have a day off I'll try to find a skate park, and sometimes I even end up skating in the venue. I'll ollie over guitar cases.
“You can't really beat going to Spain [to skate]... LA is always pretty good, the weather's pretty nice. It's always cool if you get here to New York City right when fall starts, or right before summer starts, and you cruise around these streets... it's so insane, to be going with the flow of traffic. One of my favourite things used to be when we'd go to a bar, have a couple of beers, and then we'd go out at about two in the morning in New York and just skate until six in the morning. You can just cover so much ground.
“But besides New York, it'd have to be Barcelona, just because it's so fucking epic. They always have something fun to skate.”
The transition to playing in a “midtempo sadcore band”, as Barrett describes Band Of Horses, wasn't necessarily easy, and he admits playing midtempo is “a huge challenge” for him. That pace has also been a challenge for skate film directors, who have nonetheless found ways to incorporate Band Of Horses into their work.
“The biggest compliment I've had as a drummer in this band was when 'Fully Flared', the Lakai video [directed by Ty Evans, Spike Jonze and Corey Weincheque], came out a few years ago, and it was Guy Mariano's first part back [after struggling with substance addiction], and he skated to two Band Of Horses songs in a row and won Best Video Part Of The Year [at the Transworld Skateboarding Awards]. It's killer.
“Having Ty Evans be a fan of your music doesn't hurt at all. It's really interesting, because I would never think that it'd fit. But Ty did a thing for his website, Skate Fairy, when he first got into hi-def cameras, before the ‘Fully Flared’ video came out. He did this thing with a Daryl Angel skate part to the third song off our first record ['Our Swords'], which is super slow, but he just slowed it down perfectly. He made this gorgeous video part to it.
“So when I first saw that... it opened my mind to music in skate videos. It meant a changing of the guard. It meant anything was possible. It was such a rad way to put a square peg through a circle hole.”
Band Of Horses play Big Day Out at Gold Coast Parklands on Sunday January 20.