If you had asked Built to Spill (BTS) founder Doug Martsch what music he was listening to a year ago, when he was DJing a show on community radio in Boise, Idaho, he would have rattled off a list of his favorite music: old soul, reggae, maybe some Delta blues.
But recently he’s been listening to bands like Slam Dunk and The Warm Hair, the latter of which shared a couple of dates with BTS earlier this year.
Another band that has caught Martsch’s attention is Seattle’s La Luz, whose lo-fi surfer-rock vibe charmed him so much he invited them to share a stint at Neumos next week. For Built to Spill, it will cap what Martsch calls the busiest year in his seminal indie-rock band’s history, as BTS added a new rhythm section before touring relentlessly.
Not bad for a rock band easing into its third decade.
“The other rhythm-section guys [drummer Scott Plouf and bassist Brett Nelson] quit last year around September,” Martsch said. “They just both were burned out. So immediately we got a couple guys who were part of our crew to take over and we started working right away.”
The retooled lineup, featuring Steve Gere on drums and bassist Jason Albertini, spent a few weeks in January practicing and getting the new members up to speed before hitting the road. Through it all, Martsch said the band has found time to work on some new material and has about 15 songs ready to tinker with and many more jams that “need to be turned into songs soon.”
They’ll use January to practice new material, with Martsch hoping to get into the studio by no later than summertime. However, he said he won’t rush the process, something that he revealed contributed to the decision to scrap material Built to Spill was working on before the rhythm section quit last year.
“It really could be a year from now that we get in the studio, just because for some reason we don’t feel comfortable going in,” he said. “I like to think we’ll do something in a hurry but my experience is that these things take longer than they should.”
Despite the time commitment, after 21 years, Martsch said he still finds plenty of motivation to keep making music.
“I figure if I’ve been given this opportunity to make music and there’s actually some people out there that still care and want to hear something, that’s a motivator,” he said. “It’s the closest thing to something I know how to do in my life.”
Built to Spill
Thursday, Dec. 26, with Erik Blood, Apostrophes and Bankrobber; Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27-28, with La Luz, Apostrophes and Bankrobber.
Doors open at 7 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $25 advance (206-709-9467 or neumos.com).