“Shall we try a music experiment?” asks Calexico front man Joey Burns down the phone line.
What follows is a six-second piano figure, a shimmering riff that would not be out of place on any of Calexico's nine studio albums.
“Does that sound normal or beautifully weird?" asks Burns.
Sitting at home in Tuscon, Arizona, Burns is relaxing but looking forward to bringing his band and their brand of 'Desert Noir' to Tasmania for the first time.
“I've heard the Mona museum is something worth us checking out, and I just like the idea of being further south,” he says.
Calexico's brand of alternative music is deeply rooted in the American south: Their genre-hopping pulls in Latin influences from Central America, moments of pure folk bliss, a touch of country and western and a healthy dose of Americana.
Their music is as close as you’ll find to an auditory trip through the desert, with haunting lap steel guitars, horn sections, accordion, and violin all featuring prominently alongside a more typical rock and roll instrumentation.
“I'm totally inspired by the landscape, the people, the communities, the energy,” Burns says.
“Those things are kernels of inspiration that you tuck inside your pocket and take with you.”
With a live show that has been compared to ‘watching a film in Technicolor for the first time’ Burns believes the band’s strength is what each individual can bring to the performance on any given date.
“I think that's one of the takeaways people get.” he says.
“They see the band live and how much talent each and every one of the band members has and brings to the stage.”
Fans of Calexico’s recorded works wondering how they pull off their complex tracks live need not worry.
“Bringing seven musicians makes it easy to give back that same arrangement you hear in the studio, and all those musical parts,” Burns said.
“Although if checking luggage at the airport wasn’t so expensive we'd probably bring a lot more gear with us,” Burns adds with a laugh.
Even after two decades touring, travel remains the fuel that fires their live shows.
“When you're travelling and playing live you're picking up on nuances and aesthetics,” Burns said.
“Everything influences the dynamics of each and every nights show.”
An American band playing on Australia Day mightn’t be everyone’s idea of a patriotic way to party, but Burns isn’t so sure.
“If there's ever a band to play your private party, we would be a great band to help you celebrate in whatever occasion,” Burns said
“Be it a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary, or a national holiday such as Australia Day.”
Calexico play the Odeon Theatre, Hobart at 7pm on January 26.