If everybody’s break-up album were as rocking and joyous as Langhorne Slim & the Law’s The Way We Move, getting dumped would be a much better experience. Recorded live in the studio up in the Catskills, Move features songs that range from the tenderly defiant to the outright celebratory. It was also one of an increasing number of crowd-funded records put out by indie bands this year, where the perks ranged from a basic pre-order ($10) to the chance to go out for a beer with the whole band before a show ($50) to a private gig in your living room ($1500). Hive caught up with Slim to talk about The Way We Move, his attempt at writing “Eye of the Tiger,” and why his mom thinks Langhorne Slim fans might be out for blood.
The album sounds really joyful, even when the lyrics are sad. It comes after the breakup of a long-term relationship, and there are a lot of “the world is kind of awful, but the sun is shining today” themes on the album. Is that your perspective on life?
That’s kind of my thing. There is a lot of awful and pain in the world, but the sun is also shining. That’ a theme that I’ve had for a long time in my music. Like they say, you gotta laugh to keep from crying.
Even the sadder songs, like “On the Attack,” which is strained and heartbreaking, has a defiance to it.
I don’t think that song is sad. That song is about coming into your own, and being like, “It’s time to love my ass, or leave my ass, but I deserve it so give it to me, or I’m gonna go and get it somewhere else.” That kind of theme is born out of sadness, but I was trying to convey more of a strength in that. It’s like the Rocky theme song. That’s what I was going for: I was going for my version of “Eye of the Tiger.” I might have been a little bit off.
Is that why there are boxers on the album cover?
Exactly. Yeah, exactly! There you go. We can tie this one together.
You crowd-funded The Way We Move on PledgeMusic. Had you done that before?
No, first time doing anything remotely like that. For the last month and a half, I’ve been writing lyric sheets. We played our first house show that we auctioned off last night in Brooklyn. The people who give a shit about your music are right there with you, so it’s definitely been a cool process so far. I think there are ten house shows total — we have two or three more on this leg of the tour, then we have a few weeks off, and we’re up and down the West Coast, and we’ll do some then. That’s kind of a return to form for us; we used to play house shows coming up. It’s kind of fun being back in people’s living rooms. It had been a while. Hopefully none of the people who’ve paid for it are gonna, like, take us into the basement and kill us, but if last night was any indication, it’s just people who are really into our music, and are really excited to have us in their living room with twenty of their closest friends. That, for us, is pretty incredible, too.
You offered a lot of access to personal stuff at pretty low rates. Personalized postcards from the tour for $15, or the chance to go out for a beer with the band before the show for $50. Did you ever worry that the beer people might turn out to be douchey?
[Laughs.] No, I didn’t worry about it. I like a lot of different types of people, so as long as they’re not assholes, you know, it’s cool. My mom was really worried — not that people would be douchey, but that people would be, like, serial killers. “Someone’s hiring you to go to Texas and play at their house, how do you know that they’re not going to cut your head off and mount it on their wall?” I think you just have to take that leap of faith that they just want to hear you play some songs that they like. So far, so good. Our heads are still on our shoulders.
It sounds like fulfilling the perks is kind of a bonus for you, then.
We definitely get down with the people who come to see us. That’s a big part of why we do it. That kind of connection is my main draw to being a performer for my whole life.
The prices make it reasonable, too. It’s not like paying an extra thousand bucks for a backstage meet-and-greet with Def Leppard.
I would feel very uncomfortable charging people to meet me. This is charging to meet the band and hang out with the band, but it’s not like money that’s going into our beer fund. It’s not our drinking money — we’re making and promoting this record which hopefully everybody will love as much as we do. Then again, I’ve never been offered thousands of dollars for somebody to shake my hand. Maybe I would take it. Maybe I’m full of shit.
The Way We Move is out June 5 on Ramseur Records. Stream it here: