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Blind Pilot near Astoria, Oregon. Photo: Ben Moon.
Ben Moon
Blind Pilot near Astoria, Oregon. Photo: Ben Moon.
If you go
What: Blind Pilot
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Chatauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder, 303-413-7200
Cost: $22.50-$42.50
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Mishawaka Auditorium, 13714 Poudre Canyon Highway, Bellvue, 970-482-4420
Cost: $22-$40

Blind Pilot has been touring, touring, touring in its famous blue school bus since the September 2011 release of the indie folk band’s sophomore record, We Are The Tide. In about a week, they’ll finally head home to Portland for a while, but first they’ll play Chatauqua Auditorium and Mishawaka Amphitheatre this weekend. We talked with frontman Isreal Nebeker about summer festivals, songwriting and letting it all happen organically.

We talked last time you were coming to Boulder back in January. What have you been up to since then?
We’ve just kind of been touring for quite a while. This is our last tour on this album, so we’re heading home for a break until the next album. Most recently we were at the Newport Folk Festival and Lollapalooza, and there’s a new festival called Firefly Festival, and let’s see, there was Bonnaroo, too.

Do you enjoy the festivals? They seem like they’d be right up your alley.

Yeah for sure. I always like it more when we get a day off. Like Bonnaroo, we had a day to just explore and listen to music. To me, that’s equally fun as playing a show at a festival because there’s a ton of bands there you like.

It’s been almost a year since We Are The Tide, are you working on anything new?

No, not yet, but that’s what we’re going home for.

Have you started writing anything yet, or do you know what it might sound like?

I’m not sure yet. I have, but when songs are new it’s always harder for me to tell what they’ll become once we work on them.

You’re the primary songwriter, but what happens after you bring the songs to the band?
What our process has been — and it’s changed too, since the beginning — but what it has been most recently is, I’ll bring a new song to the band on guitar and then we all kind of listen to it and think of parts together. We try to keep it as natural and organic as possible, so we just play through that and have people make up parts as we go.

You’re working with more instruments now than when the band started, does that change the way you think about songs?
For sure that’s changed the process for me, just because it used to be that if it didn’t sound quite right with just me on guitar, then that’s not what the song would be and I would change it. Now, like the songs for the last album, I knew that everybody would be playing on it, so I imagined different instruments filling the parts out.

So how much time are you taking off?
Man, I don’t know. I’m just trying to leave it open and let it happen as naturally as can be.

I imagine you’re looking forward to going home.
Yeah I am, but I’m also really looking forward to playing at Chatauqua. I’ve been kind of thinking about that show all tour. Last time we were there opening a show — it’s just such an amazing place.