You might think an extended period holed up in a gloomy basement studio for much of a record-breaking winter freeze would influence the sound and mood of a band's record - but not so.
"We're already pretty moody!" laughs Pete Hayes, guitarist and co-vocalist with LA noir-rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
Hunkered down for several months last year in a subterranean cubby hole in downtown Philadelphia, the trio created its sixth studio album Beat The Devil's Tattoo, shaped not so much by the big chill around them as by the creative freedom to work at their own pace.
"We hadn't really had that before," reveals Hayes. "And that's nothing to do with the record company, it was just the freedom to wake up, walk downstairs, play a chord and go 'fuck it - today just doesn't feel right!'. We hadn't had that opportunity in a long time, probably since the first record when we all lived in a house together."
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club wrote and rehearsed the new album in five months yet took only four days of basic tracking in Los Angeles to nail most of the thirteen songs. They spent a couple more months back in Philadelphia to "cut all the guitars and overdubs".
Much like 2007's propulsive Baby 81 album, the result elevates the sonic seducers' brooding appropriation of Verve meets Velvets to a new level - and maybe even to a new audience.
"The shows have been full, a lot of people are showing up and I hope they're enjoying it," says Hayes in the midst of a European tour. "The more time that goes by certain songs become, I don't know what the word is but they come across live in a way that connects with people. And sometimes it's surprising which songs do that and which ones don't."
Now an independent act after parting with RCA a couple of years ago, Hayes concedes his major label days are over.
"I don't know a major that would have us," he says. "The only deals I hear that are being done (with majors) now are 360 degree deals where the label owns a piece of everything you do from the touring to the merchandising shirts, everything.
"From my understanding they own you, I mean you work for that company and unless you sell so many records you can't get around that. Funny thing is they don't give you medical benefits! Ha!"
The trio's first indie salvo was 2008's self-funded instrumental record The Effects of 333 released on their own Abstract Dragon label through Vagrant Records.
"That was completely selfish, that's the most honest way to put it," laughs Hayes. "I just like fuckin' around with noise you know - it's that simple. It's like when you're watching a movie and you get this creepy sound that just adds to it. We'd like to be able to do it again because that was our first swipe at it and we're pretty happy with it."
It's worth noting that since BRMC's late 90s inception in San Francisco, they've yet to hire a studio producer. In-house engineering and production are key to their ravaged rock sound.
"It seems to have gotten out there that we're protective and I guess we are a little bit," agrees Hayes. "A couple of times we've had other people do mixes of songs of ours, like Love Burns or Berlin or Ain't No Easy Way but our main problems seems to boil down to the way we record.
"Because we haven't recorded properly ever when we give it to someone to mix they do the thing that they do and it just doesn't work because we didn't record it properly. So they're probably going 'what the fuck is this!'. But they're usually nice enough not to really say that."
Beat The Devil's Tattoo also marks the departure of long-time drummer Nick Jago due not to a history drug abuse, as reported, but rather a desire to step out from behind his kit.
"Yeah that rumour got started somewhere, the whole drug thing and it's a nice rock n' roll story but not all that nice of a story really - and it's not the truth," explains Hayes. "He just wanted to do his own music, it was really that simple. He's been working on his own band for a long time and he felt like he didn't have enough time to do that."
Enter new member Leah Shapiro, formerly of Danish rockers The Raveonettes.
"It's been smoother than I imagined it would be as far as someone stepping in to where someone was sitting for eight years," says Hayes of the new lineup. "It's not gonna happen in a year or in four years but it's pretty amazing what she's done already."