Michael Feuerstack Discusses the Collaborative Spirit of 'Tambourine Death Bed'

Michael Feuerstack Discusses the Collaborative Spirit of 'Tambourine Death Bed'
Michael Feuerstack has dropped his Snailhouse moniker on his latest album, Tambourine Death Bed, but don't let the solo title fool you; this album is still brimming with collaborations. Featuring guest appearances from Colin Stetson, Little Scream's Laurel Sprengelmeyer and Elfin Saddle's Nathan Gage, Feuerstack clearly has an impressive rolodex of friends.

"I know I have a group of friends and potential collaborators who I love and are interested in working with me," Feuerstack tells Exclaim! "I think it ultimately comes down to circumstances. So, you sort of create your plan and see who you can fit into it."

Both logistical and spontaneous, the one common thread that runs with all these collaborations is that these are truly collaborative efforts in which "we usually work on it together and I'll let them compose their own parts and I'll just help direct," Feuerstack explains.

The result is a gorgeously layered album of simple, direct songs that pair Feuerstack's observations with subtle instrumentation bearing the signature sounds of both the creator (Feuerstack's warm lap steel tones) and his collaborators (Stetson's complex saxophone sounds, Sprengelmeyer's complementary vocals).

"If there was just a specific sound or melody that I wanted, I would find a way to do it myself," Feuerstack says. "The people on the record are my friends and people that I creatively admire and want to work with and want to share the experience of creating with; it's very rare that I invite people and tell them what to play."

Take Stetson, for example: "He and I have been talking about doing something together for a long time, and I still want to do something more collaborative with him, but this was a nice way to work together in the meantime."

A crucial, and returning, collaborator is Arcade Fire's Jeremy Gara, who helped produce Tambourine Death Bed. Not only does Feuerstack consider Gara to be "a Snailhouse alumnus," but their friendship and working relationship has elevated it from honourary member to being "a member of myself. He's a part of me!"

"I think I work with Jeremy whenever I can because he's one of my best friends," Feuerstack says. "He's an amazing artist, he's really talented at a lot of instruments and he's eager to work with me, which is awesome."

Tambourine Death Bed is due out today (May 7) through Forward Music Group.