When most people think of dance music, they think of pulsating synths and electronic beats. Pete Bernhard of roots music trio The Devil Makes Three wants to remind people it wasn’t always that way.
“There was a time when music with guitar and banjo was the only kind of music around, and people certainly danced,” he said. “In a way, we’re trying to bring that back.”
The Devil Makes Three has done exactly that with raucous concerts powered by acoustic instruments.
amNewYork spoke with Bernhard about the band.
You grew up loving punk music. How did that influence the band?
We didn’t understand why acoustic shows weren’t very fun to attend. We wanted our live show to have the energy of a punk show more than an Americana show. ? It’s also in the writing. Punk songs are often autobiographical and tend to be hard-luck songs and political songs. Someone like Woody Guthrie also wrote hard-luck songs and political songs. There’s a parallel.
You recorded your latest album, “I’m a Stranger Here,” live in the studio. Is it hard to capture the live feel?
It’s hard because you have to live with it, and it’s not going to be perfect. But in my opinion, that’s ruining music, trying to make everything perfect. Sometimes the imperfections are the best part.
You’ve said the album is based on your time on the road. What did you learn during your travels?
We started DIY booking our own tours when we were about 22. Now I’m 35. I’d say I’ve learned most things in my life on the road.
Did you pick up any life lessons from touring with people like Willie Nelson?
Everyone in his band and crew was so relaxed and seemed to be having such a good time. If you can make it to his age and still be putting on a good show and still have humility … I’ll have accomplished something.
If you go: The Devil Makes Three is at Irving Plaza on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., 17 Irving Place, $22.50.