Most people run from melancholy.


Joe Hertler is not one of those people. He likes to celebrate it. And celebrate he and The Rainbow Seekers do on the band’s latest release “Pluto.”


The band will bring their distinctive mix of folk, funk, soul, and indie rock/pop to Club Cafe on May 31.


The Swerve Magazine recently talked with Hertler about this tour, “Pluto,” and celebrating melancholy.

The Swerve Magazine: So, I’m catching you on a break from the current tour.

Joe Hertler: Especially after being around people for a few months straight, it is nice to get some quiet in. We are having a good break from touring, and I’m trying to spend it in the woods (hiking/camping).

SM: So how had to been the first part of the tour?

JH: It has been great. It was really good. It was above, and beyond the most successful tour, we have had, especially as far as numbers. I feel like, especially on tour, being a smaller band, you never really know what you are going to get.

This is the first time we toured that there wasn’t a bad show. And by bad I mean, sometimes, you play a little bit off. Every now and then, you hit that off show. I feel like the band played well and there was a positive energy to all this first run of shows. We had a really good time.

SM: I read that around the time of your last record, “Terra Incognita,” that there was a conscious effort to take the band and whole thing a bit more seriously. Did that have an affect on how this tour is going?

JH: Right around the time of our last record came out; we decided to take it more seriously than just have a bunch of friends from college playing house shows. We just ventured into playing clubs and taking it more seriously.

This time around, it was a job. I think when you start thinking of it that way, you party less. You start taking care of your body. You try to get more sleep. You condition yourself to play your best every night. I think that mindset allowed us to have a better time.

Honestly, this time, I don’t know if it was a conscious effort, we found ourselves hanging out with the people in the different cities more. Maybe it was an effort to start to be a little more social with people.

I’ve never been good at sleeping at hotels. So, this time around, a lot of people opened their doors up to us, and we took the offers. I think that made it fun, too. You don’t always get a lot of time to venture throughout a city, but you do experience the location that you are visiting vicariously through those that you are hanging out with. It made it all the more memorable.

The whole theme of this tour was people being nice and opening their doors to us. It made it more fun that it would have been had we been inclined to stay at hotels.

I think being a small band, you can get away with it more. When you get super big, you can just stay on your tour bus. Plus it forces you out and to meet people. I think the connections that you foster, just go so a long way.

SM: The new attitude how did it pay off with the new album “Pluto?”

JH: We were definitely a lot pickier with this album. It was a difficult record to make. A lot of the stuff, I demoed, or we were putting together in the studio. I think the more you play, the more sensitive you are to the music you are making. I think because of that, it took us a longer time to figure out the record. It came together. It was around the 70-percent complete mark that we thought it was starting to sound good. It was becoming a piece of work that we were happy with.

You get a lot pickier as you are forced to hear your stuff over and over. You just get a little better over time, or at least you hope so.

Our producer Kevin Pritchard has always been good at giving us a cut-off point. He used to play bass for us, and he’s one of my best friends. He has been a long-time collaborator. He stopped playing with us live. It gave him a different view point. He called it when if he felt like we were spending too much time on something—which there were certain songs, I think he was pretty good at saying this song is done.

SM: Again I’ve read that the band likes to celebrate the melancholy. You have this upbeat, danceable music, yet the lyrics can be rather downbeat.

JH: I think this record is going to take you everywhere. It was a certain period of life. I think everyone has their own private struggles. We all dance with melancholy at times. I think it can be celebrated and I think this record attempts that.

We have always been a band where the songs at the core are sad, but we present them a colorful, celebratory fashion. I think there is something unifying about one’s private struggles. It was, sort of, the theme of the records.

Solidarity in melancholy.