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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Greetings From Beirut! An Interview with Zach Condon

posted by on May 8 at 18:00 PM

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A month ago, Beirut abruptly cancelled their upcoming European summer tour, leaving them with just a half dozen West Coast dates, including Sasquatch!, to fulfill. The band posted a letter from bandleader Zach Condon expressing his surprise and appreciation for the bandís success (ďthe past two years have been a mindblowing experienceĒ), his desire ďto do everything as big as possibleĒ with the band heíd begun in his bedroom, and his subsequent exhaustion with his own outsized ambition. He concluded, ďIt’s come time to change some things, reinvent some others, and come back at some point with a fresh perspective and batch of songs. Please accept my apologies. I promise we’ll be back, in some form.Ē

This afternoon, Condon gave the Stranger his first interview since that announcement. It’ll appear in its entirety in our upcoming guide to the Sasquatch Music Festival, but a couple things seemed worth sharing now. Like, just what has Condon been up to for the last month?

So youíre working on a new record?

Yeah, a new one, one that Iím actually working on right now as we speak. I went down to Mexico to do that, and Iím going back soon, after this tourófinishing what Iíve started.

Have you been hearing a lot of, like, Mariachi or Norteno there?

Actually, itís not Mariachi or NorteŮo that Iíve been listening to. The story is: I was going to do this soundtrack, but I ended up not doing it, because they wanted more of a string quartet kind of feel, and I couldnít do that. But the reference material they sent me was all from the far south of Mexico, Oaxaca. It was all these bands that consisted entirely of Zapotec natives, and they were all doing these kind of dirgey funeral marches with 17 piece brass bands. There was something so naÔve and martial in that music that I really fell in love with. It had nothing to do, actually, with Mariachi or Norte Ůo. To be honest, it sounded more like what Klezmer music is supposed to be or something. The raw exposed nerve of the music really struck a chord with me, maybe that will do it some justice.

Do you have any plans for a title or a date for a release? Will you be debuting some songs at Sasquatch?

Yeah. Iíve come back with a small batch of songs that weíre going to start performing right away. Iím going back for more, but at the moment, thereís at least an EPs worth. I expect to release it maybe in the fall, but I to be honest I donít know. You can put that down, Iím going to try for the fall.

There’s much more. Look for the complete interview in the Stranger’s Sasquatch guide, out next week.

RSS icon Comments

1

Beirut is the most compelling reason to go to Sasquatch on Saturday.

Posted by josh | May 8, 2008 6:36 PM
2

thanks -- you've now made put on beirut and i can't say it's anything less than amazing, per usual.

Posted by parker | May 8, 2008 8:48 PM
3

Beirut is filthy. Singing songs from Gulag Orkestar in my car has garnered more than a few awkward stares from passing cars...

Posted by Thig | May 8, 2008 9:30 PM
4

"There was something so naÔve and martial in that music that I really fell in love with."

Really?

Nothing like rich, white, high school dropouts dabbling in ethnomusicology. Shit's deep, yo!

Not.

Posted by ugh | May 9, 2008 9:59 AM
5

i fux w/beirut because he has SONGS

a lot of the eastern-euro minor-key jaunty-ass accordian waltz ish is just a style, but beirut has songs

tried to rage against this machine, but ended up on the flipside

Posted by ndrwmtsn | May 9, 2008 2:42 PM

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