“The show is over so everything is over, it’s crashing down,” says Big Thief’s vocalist and guitarist Adrianne Lenker, lifting her arms up over her head and propelling them down while having dinner at Oxford Street’s Don Don restaurant. “There’s no more music career, there’s no more fans,” she runs us through her head after an overwhelming show. “Sometimes it all feels so huge in my mind. And [my bandmates] are really good at making it lighter.”

The Brooklyn-based folk-rock act are in Australia to tour Capacity, their second album, which, like its predecessor Masterpiece, was recorded in upstate New York with the help of a dear friend. Bowls of Japanese dishes swirl around our table while they talk band dynamics and notions of gender and human capacity, amid the occasional clumsy drop of food: “Oop, there goes a bean,” says Lenker, watching an Edamame bean roll across the floor.

Lenker was born into a cult that her family fled a couple of years after her birth – her father raised her to be a musician. Texan guitarist Buck Meek met Lenker at a show in which they shared a bill; he was dressed in a tuxedo (shirtless) while donning a Mohawk. Israeli-born bassist Max Oleartchik grew up by the Mediterranean Sea, moving to frequent jazz trios in New York City, while drummer James Krivchenia is an engineer based out of New York who also plays with the jazzy and dreamy Mega Bog.


The bandmembers have a warmth between them that on a first glace appears effortless – but when this is pointed out, they laugh. “We’ve learned what each others’ moods are and like, also what hurts each others feelings,” explains Lenker.