Despite coming together in Houston, Khruangbin, the trio made up of bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer and drummer DJ Johnson, found their sound in an isolated barn in the tiny town of Burton, Texas. Whatever the former cowshed lacks in modern recording amenities, the pristine place has an atmosphere for the band  to create their sound. 

 “I think one of our biggest strengths as a band is we always try and play to the room, or in a sense, play to our environment” Johnson said. “And I think the barn … is a very big part of why the records sound like they do, because that’s the room that we’re in.”  

In the barn that belongs to Johnson’s family farm, the trio takes homegrown to new lengths. Each recording session requires setting up from scratch, so Khruangbin is old school when it comes to producing new tunes. They record it all live in the same room together. They play a few takes of each song and then take the best one, with minimal editing done at its core.

This simple structure allows for more of a natural feel, and has attracted artists like Leon Bridges for collaborations. Bridges is featured on their EP “Texas Sun.” While recording with Bridges the band was in the midst of creating their new album Mordechai. Coincidentally or not, this newest release features elevated vocals from the almost exclusively instrumental group on past albums.  

 The new album features songs like “Time (You and I),” which has an immense amount of positive energy. While no one could predict this current uncertain time, the song is oddly fitting for what is happening.

“It was sort of exactly what we had been singing about, was happening around us” Lee said. “We definitely imagined that song being heard in a more social context, but I actually feel like it’s been sort of healing to have it during this time.”

Khruangbin is all about the collective, and their latest album represents that. Mordechai is out now and available for listening. 

By Madison McNamee