Filkins (guitar), Drew Brown (guitar), Brent Kutzle (bass, cello), and Eddie Fisher (drums). “On one hand we tiptoed into the EDM world and brought in that energy, drive, and tempo, but on the other it’s got a lot of acoustic guitar and a much more organic feel than what we’ve done before.” For help in achieving that supercharged but soulful sound, OneRepublic collaborated with leading-edge producers like Philippe Zdar (the French composer known for his work with artists like Phoenix, The Beastie Boys, Cat Power, and Depeche Mode), Jeff Bhasker (Kanye west, Jay Z, the Rolling Stones, Fun.) and Benny Blanco (Maroon 5, Rihanna, Gym Class Heroes). Native also features some guest artists, such as Adele backup singer Bobbie Gordon, as well as Grecian harpist HarpEri, (recruited while OneRepublic was recording at the famed Black Rock Studios in Santorini).
Though the album’s built on deftly crafted beats and intricately textured arrangements, a spirit of simplicity stands at the heart of Native. “Our goal is always to put out the most honest record possible. So even though we’re very much inspired by EDM, I also love what’s happening with folk music today. It’s cool to see that the world doesn’t always need 300 beats per minute, that just an acoustic guitar and a voice can connect with people,” says Tedder, who also points out that “the swampy, stompy feel of Southern Delta blues” played a major role in helping OneRepublic to instill Native with a certain raw energy. OneRepublic also looked to the folk and blues movements in teasing out the emotional content of Native. “These new songs are about mortality, love, hope, desperation, faith, failure—the whole gamut of human emotion,” Tedder says. “We try to give the lyrics a certain gravity without being preachy, and make the kind of music that music that connects with people not just at a party or a club on Saturday night.”