When most bands decide to record an album, they pick a studio and then spend a few weeks there.
For old-timey folk-rockers the Low Anthem, finding a place to record is more like house-hunting.
Before starting work on their latest album, "Smart Flesh," the band scouted about 10 locations and finally settled on an abandoned pasta factory in Rhode Island, where they lived and worked for five months.
Low Anthem singer and multi-instrumentalist Ben Knox Miller told amNewYork about this unusual venue.
Why did you decide to record in a factory?
It was for the sound experiment. Our last two records were both done in tiny little buildings. This time we wanted to have a big room we could mic in all kinds of different ways to shape the tone.
How did the setting influence the music?
When you live with four other people in that kind of space, there's no outlet. It's like a pressure cooker. It's often tense and exhausting, but at the same time everyone is totally zeroed in.
How did you make it a livable environment?
We had the building maintenance guy who was in charge of the whole complex let us into other buildings in the facility. We scavenged couches and furniture and slept on those.
Is it hard to re-create the vibe of the factory when you play those songs onstage?
We try to play whatever fits the space we're in. We asked our booking agent to put us in the room with the highest ceiling in town as opposed to the hippest club in town. Depending on the place, we may do a straightforward rock set or we'll make use of the architecture to do something that uses scale.
You're known for collecting antique instruments. What's your latest find?
We got a cornet the other day. No one knows how to play it, though. It'll probably sit around until someone hears a song and says, "Wouldn't a cornet be perfect here?" Then they'll try to learn it.
If you go: The Low Anthem is at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday at 8 p.m. 66 N. Sixth St., 718-486-5400, $15