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Yeah, definitely. It’s not in any way, joking. It’s not like LMFAO or anything. It’s music, it’s art. It has more in common with Leonard Cohen probably than with Parliament. I put together a different group of people to help me record it, there’s a different sound. There’s mandolin on some songs, pedal steel guitar and slide guitar. It’s a departure from Paralytic Stalks and a departure from False Priest. Everything I’ve basically been working with for the last five or six years. Musically, it sounds very different. Lyrically, I guess it’s pretty close to Paralytic Stalks, if anyone paid that much attention to the lyrics. It’s much more intimate. We recorded on the 24 track tape machine, so that was different too. When you’re working on the computer, it’s basically unlimited how many tracks you can use.
Initially with my friends recording music, it was always analogue. It was on a set four track and I eventually worked my way up to one inch tape machines. I haven’t used tape machines in a long time. I kinda forgot, it’s funny.
For the last five or six records, I did basically everything in the studio myself and then we had a group of people that would go on tour and play the songs live. It wasn’t really that much of a collaborative thing.
I wanted to get a different sound, so I just kind of picked people that I thought would help me carry out that vision. It is an of Montreal record, and in a way, it’s probably the most collaborative of Montreal record in seven or eight years. The touring personnel will change for the tour in October, but for now it’s still the same group of misfits. It’s not like we’re breaking up the band, basically it’s just for this one tour in October.
We filmed a show on the Hissing Fauna tour, and we hired these people to shoot it. And then we never used it. It just became bigger and bigger and more ambitious. Jason Miller, the director, took it upon his shoulders to create a more engaging and comprehensive document of the band.
It’s funny too, because with the new record coming out, it’s hard to stay current. There’s always new things happening. There’s no real bookends, yet.
For the first basically five, six years of our existence, we were basically unknown. Just touring the circuits, coming back to our crappy jobs. It was a lot of bad memories for me because it was such a struggle. But now that we’re past it, it’s a little insane to look back. And it’s kinda cool, to see all those faces again. It’s not really for me. I hope other people enjoy it, but it’s not like I’m going to be sitting watching it every day.
Yeah, definitely. Neutral Milk Hotel has reunited and they’re going to be playing two nights at the 40 Watt Club, which is a club that everybody still plays. It’s interesting how things kind of come and go. But the scene itself, I’m not really a part of anymore. I was, back in the late 90s. Everybody was into home recording, and discovering 60s psychedelic pop and 70s prog. It was great to be a part of the culture like that, it was really inspiring.
It was also great to see Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control get more popular, play bigger venues and get good write ups, and all that stuff. It could happen for you too.
Most college towns aren’t going to have major bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control, REM and the B-52s come out of them. That’s why we just feel really lucky.
It’s a lot more accessible, people are more approachable. It’s not really ego music, it’s very down to earth, but at the same time, very fantastical, personal and wild.
Michael Stipe’s house is like three doors down from where Jeff Mangum was living. Everyone was kind of living in the same area that I was living, like a block away. If you’re living in Athens, you’re probably like two blocks away from everybody else. There’s not a great divide, really.
The music represents what I wished was happening, and the lyrics represent more what is happening in my life. In a way, it’s kind of like spiritual music, where people who are totally broke, don’t have anything, but if you listen to their music, it’s really uplifting. They’re trying to elevate their lives with their music. I think it’s similar to that.
I think it’s true. There’s nothing wrong with that style of writing, I’m a big Rolling Stones fan. But I think that’s what attracted me to Lou Reed and David Bowie, and maybe to a slightly lesser extent Iggy Pop and Mark Bolan. I think that it just makes it better. If the lyrics aren’t completely trite and vacuous and predictable, it just makes for a more interesting experience. It’s one more thing to throw labor over, and it’s more satisfying than just writing whatever came to my mind.
In the 60s, there was probably only a handful of people that were actually writing good lyrics. But I feel like nowadays, people have cracked the code. Not that it’s necessarily easier writing good lyrics, but it’s easier to avoid writing bad lyrics. It’s kind of a funny thing. To develop your own personal style as a writer is extremely difficult. It’s even harder lyrically, on a certain level, because it’s so rare to come across somebody that is truly gifted in that sense. Also, it’s so awkward to fit within the meter. That’s why with me, poetry can be kind of awkward. I can’t stand bouncing along with the words. I’d rather read it and be surprised by the pace of it. I’m not a big fan of rhyming verse. It’s just a fun challenge.