“We went from being a band that was doing 150-200 shows a year. We did that seven years in a row, and that just killed us because there’s no perspective when you don’t rest. That’s the key that we’ve learned,” Bear offers. “We started to realize working from 10 a.m. to 5 a.m. every day, you get into this wormhole. You have no idea what you’re doing anymore. You have no 30,000-foot perspective, and so I think that’s something we feel like we had to have.”

Rest has become imperative for the band, as has time with their growing families at home in Charleston. That’s also caused a shift in the recording process. For Rivers, the band found themselves recording in the usual creative hubs, spending two months in Los Angeles, two months in Nashville and another two months in New York. That rounded out to six months away from home, in addition to extensive touring.

This time, they made their own Plantation Studios home base. “We just made the schedule conducive to our lives,” Bear shares. “We made 95 percent of this record in Charleston because we wanted to be around family at night. We needed to go home to our own beds.”

Producers Jon Levine (Melissa Etheridge, Cher Lloyd) and Dave Tozer (John Legend, Kimbra)—who co-produced H A R D L O V E with the band—both traveled to Charleston to work on the project.

When the band’s on the road, their wives and kids travel with them as their schedules allow. Yet, Bear says it’s different for every family—depending on their wives’ personal preferences and their kids’ various ages.

As for the band members themselves, camaraderie on and off the road has become something to be treasured and enjoyed. “I definitely have faith and trust in the rest of the band. I’m not concerned about what’s going to happen as long as we’re working together,” Bear says, adding that they’ve emphasized the importance of giving every member of the band a voice in the creative process.


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