“Oh, there’s a river that winds on forever, I’m gonna see where it leads. Oh, there’s a mountain that no man has mounted, I’m gonna stand on the peak.” Listeners immediately encounter this adventurous spirit as they’re pulled into Lonesome Dreams, the first full-length journey from Lord Huron. Elaborate waves of vocals joined with anticipatory layers of percussion, guitars, shakers, strings, and chimes complement the venturesome story lines. It’s easy to be instantly enraptured by the momentous vivacity and enormous sound clearly inspired by founder Ben Schneider’s youthful Western novel readings.

Delving deeper, much of the album touches on yearning, chasing, and the kind of devotion that any girl could only hope to inspire in a loved one (see: “She Lit A Fire“). Each song boasts a subtle beauty and understated energy that builds with every verse and additional instrument. Schneider’s creativity and artistry supplement his already immense musical talents, and the visual artist carries the beauty of the illustrative aesthetic and storytelling themes into the band project with cinematic music videos.

With the upcoming Coachella Music Festival sandwiching an April 18th show at the Glass House and a sturdy lineup of tour dates, Ben took a few minutes to chat with me about inspirations, artistic outlets, and plans for the future.

How was your South By Southwest?

It was good. Busy as always. Not so bad as the last time we went there, but it’s always a little bit hectic. It gets a little annoying every time having ten minutes to set up and a half an hour to play. You know, just a little bit hectic.

I haven’t been fortunate enough to see Lord Huron perform live, but your album hasn’t left my record player since I got it. You have such an expansive and large sound. Do you find that there are challenges in transitioning everything to your live show or is it pretty seamless?

It’s definitely something different. If we could, we’d have 12 people playing with us every night and just do it right and big and expansive, but that’s obviously not happening as far as budget or logistics go. We do our best, and I’m lucky to have great guys playing with me who understand what we’re trying to do. They’re pretty good at opening up the sound as much as possible.

There are certain things that you can’t do live, but at the same time, there’s an urgency and immediacy to live shows that you can’t cut a record to. You just consider them different experiences, and I think that’s a healthy way to approach it.

You have some of the most visually stunning music videos I’ve ever seen. What inspires your backdrop and themes when creating these?

We always have an aesthetic that goes along with the songs. I guess I don’t really know where that comes from, but what we’re trying to do with the videos is extend that aesthetic as much as possible with a limited budget. Living out here [in LA], you’ve got access to a lot of great landscapes, and we just go out looking for a good place to shoot. For “Time to Run,” it was out in the middle of the desert. We’ve got a new one coming out for “Lonesome Dreams” in a couple weeks that we’re really excited about, and that one uses a lot of great natural places around town here.

Photo credit: Ben Schneider

You moved to Los Angeles after growing up in Michigan, and I know you spent some time in New York and France, but how do you find that LA compares to your hometown?

It’s different. It’s a big city for one thing, which my hometown was not. There’s no snow and not much of a fall, so it’s definitely different, but I love it. It’s really grown on me. When I first got here I wasn’t so sure; it took me some time. I consider it less of one huge city and sort of a string of small towns. I decided to find a part of it that suited me, which I did eventually. The great part for me is, unlike New York, I can just jump in my car and get out to the mountains in twenty minutes, or the desert, or the ocean. You can really get anywhere.

One of my favorite things about your album is that you really capture a sense of journey and searching or yearning. Is your context autobiographical, observed, or a little bit of both?

I’d say it’s a little bit of both. That feeling has definitely been a big part of my life. I like to keep on the move, trying to see a little bit of this world and experience different things before my time is up. All the stories on the album are either about my life or the lives of people who are close to me. I look at them through a fictional lens, but they all come from stuff that’s happened to us.