Exclusive: Needtobreathe talks about ‘Caves’

The band’s new album is available now

The day has come when the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum rock band Needtobreathe shares its new album Caves. The album, available now via Virgin Music, is a collection of awe-inspiring melodies, breathtaking instrumentation, and epic-scale energy, giving the band’s soul-probing approach a bigger, more expansive new scope. The project also features Carly Pearce, Old Dominion, Foy Vance, and Judah & The Lion, the latter who will be touring with Needtobreathe this fall.

The project was written in two post-pandemic phases – first during a getaway in Utah where the group was finally able to get together again, and then again after they returned to the road, re-acclimating to massive crowds alongside OneRepublic.

The band recently chatted with members of the media to discuss the project and what fans can expect on their upcoming fall tour.

“When we first went to Utah, we didn’t know what part of the record we were making. We thought we were making demos for an album. And it just turned out a lot better than we thought when we got back,” frontman Bear Rinehart shares. “We knew it was going to be a long process making the record. We spent about a year and a half making this one. And we kind of all put hands in like this is what we want to do. Like to make this ambitious record. And it does take a while.”

He continues, “And so I think the big beauty of it for us like getting away like that is that you know, we started as a band in a band and, you know, playing songs in our garage. You’re around each other all the time. And we miss that now. We all have families and we kind of go several ways and get off to where we fit. So having that place where we can just like literally like a camp, you know what I mean? We never leave. We go there and make music all day long. And then we watch the same movies at night and that kind of thing. That we just found that that’s incredibly important, you know, with the band thing. Because we really believe it’s like the band is only as good as all the parks, you know what I mean? If this was a solo thing, it’d be a totally different idea. But this thing really is like an old-school band.”

“I think the other thing to separate this record, though, is there was a little bit more of a ‘This is what we want to do going into it.’ This is kind of being intentional about, you know, trying to make the songs kind of streamlined where the songs are going and not try to force them,” adds guitarist Tyler Burkum. “I don’t think we ever tried to force them, but I think it was much more try to, like we were saying, like walk straight through the doorway. Let’s not get hung up on maybe, you know, just try to make it as simple as we can, make it connected in a simple way like that. And that’s actually really hard to try to overthink it. And so we try to kind of maybe in some ways kind of act like we were watching our own show and just having fun and letting that kind of speak.”

The title Caves was inspired by the Utah house where the group conceived the album.

“I think the idea [of the title] was kind of like this house in Utah felt like a cave, but all these sorts of experiences where we go away for a while,” Rinehart explains. “It seems like to me, you know, the job of an artist is to kind of live in that subconscious place a little bit more than most people. You know what I mean? It’s like most people want to do those negative things or heavy things or whatever it is, kind of you want to move on as quickly as you can. I think artists and writers, you know, it’s our job to kind of like sift through that a little bit. And then, you know, the record really, the [title track] ‘Caves’ song is about coming out of there. You know, I don’t think people should stay there forever, certainly. But it was like our little exploration project. I think I think when we start talking about the things that are going to be on the record and what we’re going through as people. So it made a lot of sense to us. And it just sounds cool.”

“It’s also like the heavy, probably the heaviest song on the record, probably the heaviest one that we’ve done in a little while,” keyboardist Josh Lovelace adds about the title track. “But we wrote it in a hotel room with an acoustic guitar and a mini keyboard.”

“I guess you know, we were out on tour with OneRepublic and came back [to the hotel room] after we played our set and [the song ‘Caves’] was born,” Rinehart asserts.

The making of the album was captured in a two-part documentary A World Without A Mirror: The Making of Caves. The group stated they were unsure about creating it at first.

“I mean, I think I think when you first start, you don’t know if it’s going to be good. You’re like, ‘Let’s just let’s take and see if that’s cool.’ I used to have a theory like any time you do a documentary, some band member leaves, you know, and so I’ve always been like, ‘I don’t know about that’,” Rinehart states. “But we were just in a good place and the biography came with us through a friend of ours and really sweet and actually adds to the process in that way. I think we just want to document the things that people don’t get to see about making a record.”

He continues, “We live in a time where I’d say cheap is the new expensive and a lot of people are making records on their laptops and whatever, which is not bad. It’s fine. It just but this was a different process. And we felt like for the fans who were really going to fall in love with this record, to be able to go back and see how it was made and sort of the intention and how much we care about it was it was important to us. And it feels like that’s my favorite part, too, about the records that I love being able to go back and see like some of these classic albums made and stuff like that. That always was a little bit nerdy. But I think I’m proud that we were able to do it and do it in a way that it didn’t get in the way of the process.

“We’re a pretty nerdy band in that regard,” comments bassist Seth Bolt. “We all care a lot about the science that goes into making music.”

“I think it’s also cool because like the fan gets to like if you’re a fan of Needtobreathe,” adds Lovelace. “It’s cool to actually be able to see the people that make up Needtobreathe and like see what they, you know, how they speak into a room or how they play their instrument or whatever. And you may not get to see that. So if you’re a fan of a band, like you’re a fan of The Beatles and you watch like the Let It Be things like, oh, I get to see the band be creative together and the dynamic. And it just kind of makes you hopefully like the band more, hopefully bands like us more, but maybe they don’t.”

The band will support the new album with The Caves World Tour this fall, featuring Judah & The Lion as special guests. The first leg is set to kick off October 13th in Savannah, GA with the trek set to wrap on November 18th in Atlanta. The band confirms that fans can expect to hear “seven or eight songs to start” on the five-week trek.

“It’s always interesting to us to find out what people react to on the record,” Rinehart says. “We’re trying to change it up each night. We’re going to have a sort of slot in the set that rotates. So we’re going to probably end up playing all the songs on the record at some point during this tour… Everybody wants to hear the songs that they love. You know, it’s like if I go and see The Black Crowes. I want hear ‘Hard to Handle,’ and that stuff. Like I get that, so we try to balance that the best we can.”

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com