The Dave Matthews Band are giving fans a bird's-eye view of their sessions for their new album.
The group has set up a dedicated site (Dmbnewstudioalbum.com) that will feature video and audio clips from the sessions, as well as periodic messages from the band. "DMB is excited to bring you a site dedicated exclusively to the creative process that is involved with the forthcoming album," reads the introductory note on the recently launched page.
While bands such as U2, Limp Bizkit and Radiohead have previously used their sites to post video and audio from in-progress sessions, DMB decided to take it a step further by devoting an entire site to the sessions, according to a group spokesperson.
The as-yet-untitled album, due in the spring, is being produced by Mark Batson, whom the group met in August at one of its Los Angeles concerts. "After a late night of musical dialogue and shared experiences, it was obvious to all the guys that they had to work with Mark," the note explains. Producer/songwriter Batson has worked with everyone from Eminem and Gwen Stefani to Maroon 5 and 50 Cent, and in the first bit of video on the site, he talks about what he
hopes to achieve with the Dave Matthews Band.
"My goal with Dave Matthews Band was to make an album that was different than any other album they ever made," Batson says, as a repeating riff from an unnamed song plays in the background. The song, which features the lyrics, "Everybody wake up, if you're living with your eyes closed," is built on a soulful track that bubbles along on a hypnotic, funky keyboard groove. Like some of the songs on the band's last album, 2002's Busted Stuff, the new track appears to continue a move toward a more pop-oriented sound, with strong R&B overtones laced with mandolin.
Later in the clip, Dave Matthews breathlessly scats an a cappella track with the lyrics, "Can't catch me, can't catch me/ Ride my bike down the old dirt hill," commenting, "I'm just singing whatever comes to mind, and that's fun because it makes me sing in different places."
The group is seen working in a studio and taking some time out to fish, but above all, the bandmembers appear to be enjoying the new colors that Batson is finding in their sound palette.
"We have never made an album like we're making this album right now," violinist Boyd Tinsley says. "It's really probably the truest sense of the music that comes from the five of us."
Batson is heard giving the band strong direction at one point, suggesting a change in the way a lyric unfolds in a song. "What I wanted to do was to go to each individual in the band and find a piece of each individual's characteristics," he says. "That way everybody in the band gets to look at each other in a different way again than they have been looking for in the past 15 years."
Matthews, for one, seems pleased with the new direction. "Things are unfolding in a real natural way," he says. "The last thing it seems like is work."