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Friday, February 23, 2007

Dirty Projectors On Dead Oceans

posted by on February 23 at 9:31 AM

This guy always manages to bring a smile to my face – whether through his music or his good-natured wit, David Longstreth of the Dirty Projectors always entertains. I recently reached out to him to glean some insight on the new leg of what seems to be a two-year-long tour (you can read our other interview here, and check out some samples of his previous work through the Western Vinyl site here). His forthcoming album, Rise Above (which he previewed when DP played here last fall with Xiu Xiu), is set to be released this summer on the brand new Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar imprint, Dead Oceans (breaking news!). According to Longstreth, the album is a kind-of rote cover of the Black Flag album Damaged, and features Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear. As far as a setlist goes, Longstreth says his upcoming performance at Neumos on March 5 won’t be as much of a surprise as his last (where he debuted all new stuff), as content from New Attitude and Rise Above will all be visited. And for all you artcore beefcakes out there, sorry, no XL t-shirts

Hella, Dirty Projectors, Guests, Neumos, March 5, $10 advance, all ages, bar with ID,

Interview after the jump

What's the deal with Rise Above? Does this have a label/home yet? Did you record with Chris of
Grizzly Bear? Are you happy with it?

Rise Above is the new Dirty Projectors album. It is my attempt to rewrite Black Flag's album Damaged from memory – not listening to the music or looking up the words on the internet, just trying to access the memory crystals stored from when I loved it back in middle school.

It is basically done; we just need to mix it. Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear and I recorded it. It is a pretty "live" record. We made it with the touring band from last fall. Chris himself playing some weird feedback on the album, and also Chris Bear, who plays the drums in Grizzly Bear, played percussion.

It is going to come out on the new Secretly Canadian label Dead Oceans in August of this year. They started this new label with the billions and billions of dollars the Antony record brought them, and they seemed really psyched to have Dirty Projectors be a part of it, so I am pleased to join them . . .

I think I am happy with the album. I am never really happy with anything, and I don't even really know what this one sounds like, since we haven't mixed it yet, but I remember liking what was happening as we recorded it, so I think it will be good. It is very different from all of my previous sounds.

I believe you performed a few tunes from the forthcoming album last time you came by with Xiu Xiu (I distinctly recall the chorus to "Rise Above"). Are you going to perform all new material this go ‘round? If so, any new musical interests informing your approach/technique?

Last time we played all songs from Rise Above. The band actually didn't know any of my other songs. That was on purpose, so we could be getting in the zone with these ones before we recorded them. This time, though, unlike the last three tours, we aren't just playing all new material. We are doing some stuff from New Attitude, some stuff from Rise Above, some other unrecorded stuff.

What's it like touring with the guys from Hella? Hella crazy?

Portland, night before Seattle, will actually be our first show with Hella. We toured across the country with Grizzly Bear, and now are chilling out in deep remote coastal Oregon between tours. So I don't know what it's like to tour with Hella, but Amber and Angel [of Dirty Projectors] both know those dudes from living in the Central Valley, so we're really psyched.

After seeing you perform live, you seem like quite the consummate band leader – prior to your set, there was an extended sound check and lots of special directions for your bandmates. I'm wondering how your live players perceive you and your vision? And in turn, how do you perceive your live players within the scope of your vision?

Well, they always accuse me of having no empathy, so I'll honor them by saying I have no idea how they think of it! No! Just kidding!! I'm really grateful to them for helping make it happen. Everyone comes into this band because they love the music. Several of my players are people I didn't know beforehand who came to me after a show or whatever and said, I want to be a part of this. And that is amazing.

The band that's with me right now – a regular rock band, four parts – is going to be the constant lineup for the foreseeable future. Brian McOmber on drums, Angel Deradoorian on bass and singing, Amber Coffman on guitar and singing, and me.

Your last performance here was quite rock oriented, utilizing very traditional "rock" instrumentation (incredibly skillfully I might add). Any intention to mix it up like on your previous albums? Any intention of returning to a sound similar to the Getty Address?

Grunge music is the music of my people.

Any thoughts on the passing of Anna Nicole Smith (it's okay not to comment, I understand)?

I had no idea who Anna Nicole Smith was (I sort of thought OJ killed her back in '94). Tom Tomorrow's blog reproduced the homepages of CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN and FOX news, all carrying Anna Nicole Smith's death as the main news item, and then listed what else happened that day, including North Korea possibly stopping its nukes program, Hamas and Fatah reaching an accord giving the Palestinians a unified front, Iran testing a missile that can strike US ships in the Persian Gulf, and promising to retaliate any US attack, and some shit regarding NATO in Afghanistan. The juxtaposition made me feel like we are already living in Mike Judge's Idiocracy.

Any general thoughts on the cult of personality?

The 1988 Living Color hit single??

David, thank you again for doing this; you are the bomb. If you bring any merch down, I wanna buy an XL t-shirt, so please save me one. I'm a fatass and the large I bought last time doesn't fit. Thanks!

Hey Steven, I don't have any XL tees – I think L is maybe all we got! Next time dude!

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