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The Men gather around the campfire


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  • The Men
The Men have a secret weapon in Ben Greenberg.

Greenberg, who joined the Brooklyn-born rock and roll band in 2011, doesn't just simply lay down bass lines for the group. The long-time engineer provides the band with a versatility to record any time and on any platform.

"Whenever we feel like we're ready to start recording, we can just do it whenever we feel like it. We don't really have to coordinate with a bunch of people or try to find someone to do it or try and find a place to do it at," Greenberg said. "Then, whenever we wind up with an album's worth of material, we put it together and bring it to Sacred.

On Oct. 16, The Men will visit the Bloomington's The Bishop, along with Purling Hiss, a fuzzed-out trio from Philadelphia.

It's an especially prolific year for the group: with the March 5 release of New Moon, marking The Men's fourth album in four years, the group will also be releasing an EP of acoustic tracks on Oct. 15.

Recorded around the campfire of a rural home in upstate New York (the same home where New Moon was recorded), the Campfire Songs EP will mark the group's fifth release in four years.

"It isn't like we're trying to put out records really fast or anything like that," Greenberg said. "It's actually really natural for us."

Greenberg remembers recording cover songs on his very own four-track at the age of 10. His passion has only skyrocketed from there as he has gained years of experience with audio, even running his own studio space at one time.

After recording The Men's 2011 album, Leave Home, Greenberg was asked to join the group. He went on to record their next three releases, including 2012's Open Your Heart and both 2013 releases. Greenberg tells me he's appreciative of the respect he has been given as a newer addition to the band.

"They're great musicians and they're open," he said. "They wanted me to come in, not just to fill in as a bass player, but as a songwriter and someone who can bring musical ideas to the table and come up with guitar parts and play drums too."

As for their EP, to be released the day before their appearance in Bloomington, Greenberg explained that the album was literally recorded around a campfire, located in the yard outside of the house where New Moon was recorded.

For the sessions, the band strung together nearly every mic cable they had in order to reach the campfire, about 100 feet out from the house.

"We actually put the mics on the other side of the fire from where we were playing. So with all of the crackling and popping noises, it's not just the vinyl - it's actually the fire," he said.

As for Campfire Songs, the band's rustic recording methods are an example of their flexible approach to exploring new ways of capturing sound- an openness that creates a limitless realm of possibilities according to Greenberg.

"I think a lot of people make records, these days, the only way that they know how, whether that's on GarageBand in their bedroom or going to the one recording engineer that they already know personally who has a studio," Greenberg said. "People don't tend to sort out their options, but there are actually more options for record making now than ever before in the history of recorded music. It's cool to be able to explore that and see how far we can push it and see how our songs sit in different scenarios." 


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