The title of Alberta Cross’ new album, Songs of Patience is, in many ways, literal. “It's been three years since we last released a full-length album,” says singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Petter Ericson Stakee, a Swedish-born musician who has spent a big part of his life abroad in London and now Brooklyn, NY. “It was a crazy ride that ended on a positive note. Three band members and five producers later, the record is now ready.” The highs and lows of the band’s journey raised a grander set of ideas, infusing the disc’s title with additional universal meaning.
After touring extensively on their debut, Broken Side Of Time, with bands like Them Crooked Vultures, Oasis, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and stopping at festivals like Bonnaroo and Sasquatch, Alberta Cross headed to an old, abandoned house in the middle of nowhere near Woodstock, NY. There, they braved the freezing winter and embraced a sense of the building’s haunted past to envision ideas for a new record. Initially, the motivation was to get back to the songwriting quality of the band’s 2007 self-produced EP The Thief & the Heartbreaker—a blurry forethought that would later become clearer. “Bringing other guys into the band on the last record changed things,” says London-born bassist Terry Wolfers. “I think we became aware that we wanted to bring back some of our original sound. That was the basis of our intentions.”
The Woodstock session opened the doors for Wolfers and Ericson Stakee, who formed the band seven years ago after they met in a London pub, to craft the songs that would appear on Songs of Patience (ATO Records), but the group needed more inspiration. Petter moved across the country from Brooklyn to LA in early 2011, intending to spend some time writing on his own again and searching out new creative motivations. But after Wolfers and the rest of the band members joined him in LA, where the group went into the studio with producers Joe Chiccarelli (The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket) and Mike Daly (Whiskeytown, Young the Giant), Petter hit a wall.
“I love LA, but the combination of relocating and straight away hitting the studio made me spiral out of control.” Ericson Stakee says. “I needed to let go of everything around me and close to me, so I could discover what I missed and what I really needed. I partied too hard, and I blew my newly earned money. Once I hit rock bottom, I visited home in Sweden and plummeted back down to planet Earth. I knew exactly what I had to do.”
This meant that Ericson Stakee and Wolfers, unhappy with the album they’d finished in LA, had to find their way back to what inspired Alberta Cross in the first place. The two were forced to look their new album in the face and admit that it needed revision, a step that allowed them to open up their creativity, pen additional tracks and re-mix/re-track a few songs from the L.A. sessions once they’d returned to New York. There, they laid down new songs with producer and friend Claudius Mittendorfer (Muse, Interpol), rounding out the original album to be an expansive, thoughtful portrait of their experiences—as a two-piece.