With a sorrowful title, the stunning tune is sure to have people wondering about the future of Okkervil River as a whole. Writing the songs and recording them alongside new backing band members, front man Will Sheff has spoken about the process he went through when creating the album.
“I didn’t plan to make it and initially wasn’t sure if it was going to be an Okkervil River album or if I’d ever put it out. I wrote the songs during a confusing time of transition in my personal and professional life and recorded them quickly with a brand new group of musicians.
I got together the best New York players I could think of, people whose playing and personalities I was fans of and who came more out of a jazz or avant garde background, and we cut the songs live in one or two takes – trying to keep things as natural and immediate as possible – over three days in a studio on Long Island that hosts the Neve 8068 console which recorded Steely Dan’s Aja and John Lennon’s Double Fantasy.
2013-2015 had been a strange time for me. I lost some connections in a music industry that was visibly falling apart. Some members of the Okkervil River backing band left, moving on to family life or to their own projects. I spent a good deal of time sitting in hospice with my grandfather, who was my idol, while he died. I felt like I didn’t know where I belonged.
When there was trouble at home, a friend offered me her empty house in the Catskills where I could go and clear my head. New songs were coming fast up there, so I set myself the challenge of trying to write as many as possible as quickly as possible. I wasn’t think about any kind of end product; the idea was just to write through what I was feeling, quickly and directly. Eventually, I realised I was writing a death story for a part of my life that had, buried inside of it, a path I could follow that might let me go somewhere new.” – Will Sheff
If the stunning artwork attached to the single isn’t enough to emphasize the autumn themes running throughout the September release, the single’s acoustic melody sure is. As if only just touching his guitar strings, Sheff’s performance on the single is as captivating as it is curious.
Whether this is the last of Okkervil River or just another beginning, the upcoming record is sure to be an emotive tale after what seems like a lifetime of a three-year wait.
Away is out September 9. For more information, click here.