Thursday, June 25, 2009

2008-10-20 - Pitchfork

by Tyler Grisham

October 20, 2008

Kevin Barnes isn't himself these days. Or at least, that's the impression you get listening to the lyrics from Of Montreal's ninth album, Skeletal Lamping. Since the band's earliest days, their output has often been a repository of his own diaristic compositions-- all the way back to Barnes' time spent as a loner teen making four-track recordings at home. On the band's last album, 2007's Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, Barnes broadcast his personal battles with anxiety, his use of antidepressants, and some brutally revealing musings on his marital troubles. Now, as if emerging from a musically induced catharsis, Skeletal Lamping finds the eccentric performer shedding his skin and taking on the alter ego of a middle-aged, sharp-tongued, transgender black man-- about as far as you can get from a reserved high schooler making his own tapes at home-- and dressing it up with equally schizophrenic arrangements. But Barnes claims to have more in common with his outsize stage characters than it seems, and now he's trying to help his audience connect with their inner Georgie Fruits.

It seems as if electronic and dance elements are becoming more prevalent in indie music these days, and your work is no exception. To what do you attribute this shift?

Kevin Barnes: I don't know, maybe there's more exciting technology out there. Back in the 1970s and early 80s, synthesizers were very expensive. Now they're so affordable-- you can get a really good one for just a couple hundred dollars. Most people are recording on computer software. Every computer recording program comes with a bunch of software synthesizers and drum machines. So I think even with GarageBand or whatever, you can probably make a pretty decent record.

Pitchfork: Are these disco and funk elements things you always wanted to work into your music?

KB: [On] the early records, I was into a completely different thing-- really creative, psychedelic pop music from the 60s. That's all I really listened to, and really the only kind of music I really wanted to make, and eventually I realized I was tired of making that kind of stuff. I wanted to make something new. As a kid I was really into Kool and the Gang and stuff like that. I always had an interest in that stuff, but I went through different phases and I have kind of come back around to stuff like that again. I just sort of rediscovered Prince. When I was in high school I was a big Prince fan, and then I sort of lost it and got into other things, and then I came back to Sign O' the Times and realized what a masterpiece it was. Then I got into some Curtis Mayfield, Sly & the Family Stone, and Stevie Wonder, and also there's definitely a hip-hop influence as well. I really like Kanye West, the Neptunes, Timbaland. All sorts of modern, really great producers in that genre inspire me. I really like André 3000 and Cee-Lo and everything that Danger Mouse touches seems pretty, pretty golden.

Pitchfork: There's also a lot of dance-inspired material on Skeletal Lamping, but the record is not exactly made for the dancefloor. Do you ever consider pursuing a more dance-oriented approach in the future?

KB: I like dance music a lot, but I find it to be way too repetitive. And lyrically it's usually not that exciting. I've sort of created a new form of dance music. It's a bit heady and slightly more dense and complicated lyrically, but still has the immediacy that great pop music has. I geared further away from the pop template that a lot of people work within. It's really fun to try to craft the perfect pop song, but [on] this record I've definitely been trying to create something that is more fragmented-- elements of pop music and dance music and soul and funk-- and throw them all together in a really chaotic collage.

Pitchfork: You said that you think in contemporary songs "you can finish the artists' sentences musically and lyrically." Were you thinking about yourself, or are there artists that you specifically have in mind there?

KB: When you're trying to create a song, there's a natural path you take and you're definitely influenced by the things you've listened to and the music that you like. So I was trying to, in a way, defy that natural instinct. When something seemed like it might go in [a] direction that seemed kind of obvious and natural, it sort of intentionally forced us to go in another direction-- to create something unpredictable.

The music I really like is unpredictable. Deerhoof, for example. You're listening to a Deerhoof song, you don't really know where it's going to take you and that's really exciting. There's other bands like that too: Animal Collective... and Ariel Pink is one of my favorites in that way, too. You know, I really love the Beatles, and I really love like everybody from like Gwen Stefani to like whoever [laughs]. I love hot music. And I love a "good-time" type of song. But I think the stuff that I find the most interesting and the stuff I go back to the most-- or for longer periods of time-- have a lot of twists and turns and you can't memorize everything. And so things still surprise you even though you've listened to them 10 times. There's definitely these moments in time-- the Beach Boys' Smile is a great example of one of the first records that I discovered that was like that. You never really know, like, "Is this the same song?" They have three or four different versions and you don't really know if you're still listening to the same song or if you've moved onto a new song.

Pitchfork: I got that same feeling when I went to a listening party for Skeletal Lamping and couldn't tell if I was hearing a 12-minute epic disco song à la "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal", or just a string of four songs somewhere in the middle of the record. I wonder how the process was to assemble those. Did you just have fragments of songs and just kind of cut and paste them?

KB: I'm sure that, for a lot of people, it might just be completely random where the sections are pieced together. But I did record a bunch of pieces and then somehow said, "Okay, well, these kind of go together." I worked on them in sections, so I wasn't really thinking in terms of making a song that had a natural flow. Or even a song that had-- I mean, some of the songs do have repeating verses and choruses, but we were trying to shy away from that as much possible and just tried to work in different sections and piece them together in a way that would be interesting. I actually recorded probably another 40 minutes of material that had to be cut away from the finished record. Just because I wanted to make something that people could listen to in one sitting. I didn't want it to be like, "Yeah, I never even heard like the last six songs on that record."

It might be something really dense that hurts some people's heads at some points. But at least it's definitely not for mass consumption, I don't think. I read the Spin review that came out recently, and the writer clearly did not enjoy the experience. He's obviously very frustrated and confused by the way I put it together. But then, there are so many people like that, that are going to be like hoping for really easily compartmentalized songs. Like, "Okay, this is this kind of song. And these are the references to the point here. Okay, that makes sense." It's really for people who like creative pop music, who are searching for things that are interesting. There are a lot of people out there.

Pitchfork: You are now writing for probably the biggest audience you've ever had, and yet your lyrics seem to be more personal than before. Does the size or composition of your audience affect your songwriting?

KB: Luckily, it didn't factor into it at all. I purposely tried not to read anything about me, or written about my music or anything like that, 'cause I didn't want to be influenced by people's perceptions of what I am or what I should do. I think it's very damaging for an artist to do that. If you have that voice in you're head, like, "are they going to like this?" There's nothing that kills your buzz more than that. I definitely try to just get lost in my own little world, my own little bubble, and sort of exist outside of the critical world when I'm making music, and try not to allow that to enter in at all. I think it could be paralyzing, and it would just make you really confused and worried all the time-- second guessing everything. I wanted to take a lot of chances with this record and really do something more out there and more interesting. And if I was worrying about what people would think, then god only knows what kind of record I'd make.

Pitchfork: You said in a recent interview that you were writing this in response to the perceived backlash about the Outback commercial. You said you wanted to show them that "I am not a sellout and show them how talented I am." Were you trying to make something that sounded immediately less accessible to sound less commercial?

KB: I didn't really think about it till later, but I think I was definitely influenced subconsciously by that. I think it motivated me in a good way. It gives me fire. Like, okay, some people are going to say I'm a sellout. No one is actually coming to my house, knocking on my door, and calling me a sellout or anything. It's just a perceived sense of the world criticizing me over something, but it still affected me and filled me with this new desire to create something really interesting. And it's cool, because I've been wanting to make this sort of record for a really long time. But because, as you said, the band had become a bit more successful, maybe you become a bit more conservative because you don't want to lose that popularity that you've worked so hard for. At the same time, luckily, that did not really factor into it. It was kind of the reverse-- I was like, "Okay, well, I'm gonna show that I can make a really creative record, a really thought-out record, and produce it. And prove that I'm not only motivated by record sales." I think that was just one aspect of the motivation.

I also have this sense that there is this movement going on right now-- really great artists putting out these amazing records. I'd really like to be a part of that world of taking back music and making it an art form. It's a really interesting art form, and it doesn't have to be something that people are just putting in their iPod Shuffles. You don't have to think about it in that way, "Oh, I just want to make a song that like gets used in a car commercial, or gets used in a hit movie, or gets used in an iPod commercial." I want to make art, something that's really interesting and bizarre. You don't have to dumb it down. You don't have to worry about people not understanding it because it's too complicated.

Pitchfork: I wonder who exactly you have in mind, as far as recent albums that you consider truly artistic.

KB: My favorite artists right now-- Deerhoof, Animal Collective, Fiery Furnaces, Caribou, Gang Gang Dance... I think HEALTH are great. There are just so many great bands. I feel like it's an amazing period of time. I think this is a time period we'll be looking back on in 10, 15 years from now and being like, "There were so many great records being made at that time." It's kind of hard to have a sense of the moment, but I'm trying to not take it for granted and realize there's so much great stuff out there. There are so many talented people out there.

Pitchfork: Are you still enjoying working completely on your own, apart from the Elephant 6 Collective? Are there any aspects of like a more collaborative style that you find that you miss?

KB: Let's just say that there's this perception of the Elephant 6 manifesto, or whatever.... You know, it's not like Jeff Mangum would ever in a million years discourage me from exploring different forms of music. It was just in my mind at that time. I had just kind of created restrictions for myself, like, it's only real if it's recorded on a tape or if there's analog or something, and we gotta do everything in an organic way. I thought that somehow that was legitimate. But then I realized that was very close-minded of me, and that there are so many awesome tools out there for you to use creatively, and there's no reason to stick yourself and say, "Okay, I am only going to do it like this." You become sort of a self-fascist in a way. But, um... I can't really remember the question.

Pitchfork: Well do you still find it easiest to work by yourself?

KB: When I first started making music, when I was in high school, I didn't really have any friends. My parents had moved from Michigan down to Florida, and it's really hard when you move in the middle of high school-- it took me a really long time to meet people. I was really fortunate to discover a good four-track recorder and a cheap microphone. I did everything myself-- I'd write everything and record, arrange, and engineer by myself. I made hundreds of songs that way. The process of making music like that was so fulfilling, putting on the headphones and escaping from the outside world. You are sort of living within this inner world, and it becomes almost this meditative process where the outside world-- things that might bother you-- dissolve, and you're able to transform the problems or anxieties you might have, or the emptiness you feel is out there, into something more beautiful and more romantic.

And that's something that, when you work in a collaboration with a bunch of people, becomes slightly less personal, because you all have to compromise a bit. After making a couple records with a full band, that I really missed the process of working by myself. I missed that escapism that you get when you're by yourself, taking everything piece by piece, one instrument at a time, putting it all together and thinking about it at night when people are going to bed. It becomes such a powerful force in my life-- it's so important and exciting. And of course when it's done, then it's not as fulfilling, I forget about it. I never listen to my old records. I just get bored with them after a couple of months. I realize it's the process that I really love. It's not as much about the end result, if your thing is good or if people like it-- that's not as important as the actual experience of creation.

Pitchfork: So it seems like you're making this music at least as much for yourself as for anyone else?

KB: Yeah, definitely. What I thought about other people's reactions would be never really factored in, because it is just very pure and organic. Just making new things. I can't really say what motivated one song or another song or this or that. I just get it in my mind, "Okay, I want to make it like this." And then I do it and it's really fun, and then I forget about it and do something else.

Pitchfork: Since Hissing Fauna, you've been experimenting with the quasi-fictional characters Georgie Fruit and List Christie-- are there any other alter egos you're developing right now?

KB: Every once in a while I fool around with different ideas. I thought that maybe there'd be a character named "Chandeliera." I don't really know, like, List Christie... it's kind of just wordplay. It's just fun. Georgie Fruit, he's definitely a fun character to think about, but I try not to propagate the myth too much, just because I don't want people thinking that Skeletal Lamping is some sort of concept album and that I wrote it from the persona of some fictional character. It's not like that at all. I created Georgie, or I thought of him as this sort of device that would enable me to explore different aspects of my personality.

At least at first, I would feel a little too vulnerable if I said, "Well okay, this is me." At first it gave me a weapon or a defense against criticism. But then I realized that there's no real way to create something that is not you. There's no way to really defy who you are, even though who you are is very fluid. Georgie is just kind of an aspect of my personality. It's not really a character outside of myself. I don't want people to feel like I've divorced myself from the songs in any way. It definitely feels Kevin Barnes. It sort of enabled me to go to a place outside of my personal experience. But it's kind of just more a fantasy then.

Pitchfork: Do you consider Georgie Fruit to be more a caricature of yourself or does his personality simply stem from you as a writer?

KB: I think, to some degree, it's sort of an exaggeration of this image I have. You know, when I think or when I write something it's, like, more sexual and it's almost more like R&B or something. You know like something you would find in an Ohio Players record or something. I think that there are so many weird cultural restrictions are placed on us. Like, "You're a white person, this is who you are, and you can't really do this because that's for black people." And vice-versa-- "You're a black person, you can't make techno... or British folk music," whatever. There's some stupid, prissy restrictions that limit what we do, or maybe put borders around our minds in a way that is very limiting. When I think of this Georgie Fruit character, I try to think of him as a middle-aged black man, probably in his fifties. And somehow-- even though it sounds totally absurd and ridiculous-- there is a middle-aged black man inside of me. But there's also an adolescent Chinese girl inside of me, or whatever.

The things that you see-- movies where you identify with certain characters even though they come from different walks of life-- I think there are these universal themes that everyone can identify with, and even though someone comes from a different culture or a different part of the world, or a different gender, there are so many universal feelings that everyone shares. The human experience is very complex, but at the same time we all can identify with anything that anyone goes through for the most part. Or at least, if we have an imagination, we can go there. In a way, I think that means we house the potential to be all these different kinds of people. So I'm a middle-aged black man, and I am a Chinese girl. I don't really feel like I need to be what my human vessel tells the world that I am. I don't feel like I need to be a 34-year-old caucasian man. Just because the human vessel sends out that message to people, that doesn't mean that's who I am, that that's the limit to who I can be.

Pitchfork: Do you think that a character like that helps you sort of communicate through a live performance? How much do you plan to involve Georgie Fruit in the live show?

KB: That is something that sprung up during the Hissing Fauna tour. I was definitely in a funny state of mind that I'd never really been in before. And I really enjoyed wearing the most outrageous and unflattering outfits I could find, just piecing together the craziest things-- you realize how much fun it is when you have no real hang ups about that. Performing gives me the ability to do things like that. In my daily life, I wouldn't want to wear a bright green thong and a muscle shirt to the grocery store.

Pitchfork: Oh, really?

KB: [laughs] But I'm serious-- it's fun to do that. And everyone laughs. It's just playfulness. It's fun, you know. That's what I love about performing now, it really is just like dress-up time. It's a fun game, and everyone can get into it. I see that a bit at our shows-- people dressing up and wearing outrageous things. I think it's healthy for people to do that sort of gender bending, to escape from these gender roles that are enforced upon us, or that we perceive are enforced upon us. I really hope that the live performance gives people the opportunity to let their hair down and just say, "Okay, fuck it, I'm going to be someone nobody thinks I am tonight." Just for one night. I don't think you have to do it all the time.

And that's kind of the thing, too. It's interesting-- in my daily life, I just want to be anonymous. I just want to be invisible. But when I am on stage, I don't want to be invisible at all. I want to be a peacock, because I'm on stage and that's the point. If people are going to pay to see you on stage, you have the opportunity to do something in front of all these people and help them escape from the limiting aspects of public existence.

Pitchfork: I am particularly curious about that idea of gender-bending. Does that play into the universalism of having experiences that other people do, or is that coming out of a more literal place in your psyche?

KB: I don't really think of it as gender-bending. It's funny because a lot of people think that if you put on makeup and you put on a dress, then you're cross-dressing. But I don't think that just because-- I mean it sounds kinda stupid and teenager whatever-- just because women wear dresses and men typically don't wear dresses; it's not like dresses are only for women. It's not like there are certain clothes that are really exclusively for a certain gender. So I don't really think of it as really role playing. But in a way it is kind of fun, because it is like, yeah naturally men don't wear dresses. But, there is no reason you can't wear dresses. But, at the same time if you do wear a dress and you live in like Cheyenne, Wyoming or whatever, you might like get dragged from behind a pick-up-truck and murdered. Or whatever, you know. So it kinda gives people like a safe venue to do something more interesting and sort of breaking out of the norm of like what is acceptable and what's not acceptable. It's kind of a friendly environment to just experiment and just do something that's out of the ordinary.

Pitchfork: In an interview with Pitchfork last year, you talked about reliving your personal life on stage and said that there's a communal aspect of sharing something with other people and receiving feedback from the audience. Putting your personal lyrics on display for people, does it help you explore these things going on in your mind?

KB: Well the weird thing is, when you're performing the same songs every night for months at a time, they tend to transform in a way that you didn't really expect them to. I noticed with the Hissing Fauna tour, these songs, which at the time were very personal-- when I created them I was in a really bad state of mind-- when we performed them they became almost like these anthemic celebrations. People are pumping their fists, because it's like an anthem to anxiety and paranoia. Which might seem a bit bizarre. I mean, it was definitely bizarre at first, but then I realized it's kind of natural, and it isn't something I should be freaked out about.

I don't really go there for every song. For example, with "The Past is a Grotesque Animal", it's almost like it has taken on this new meaning. I'm not transported back to the time of me and Nina breaking up, to all of the horrible anxiety and depression and paranoia that was going on at that time. Somehow it sort of formed into something different, it's like a different animal now; it's hard to put into words what that means to me. It doesn't really have less value, it just has different value-- you know, it's a different thing. And so, when you perform it every night, and you associate it with this glam, crazy, colorful, avant-garde circus or whatever the hell we're doing now, those songs still fit into it in a weird way. Because the density of the songs or the subject matter is definitely in touch with the complexity of the human spirit.

I don't want it just to be a completely vacuous party all the time. I like the fact that there are these deeper elements that speak to the complexities of the human mind and the human experience. So that's the thing I really wanted to do: make music that's dancey, fun, and infectious and has immediacy, but also speaks to the darker side of the psyche-- things that maybe we're not that comfortable, forcing ourselves to accept things that everyone tries to push under the surface, and trying to bring them up to the surface and realize that they are interesting and magical just like everything else.

Pitchfork: You said that this album was your attempt at lamping, or hunting, your proverbial skeletons. What part of your thought life exactly did you want to explore through this record, and how has the process of making it helped you do so?

KB: The record is very sexual-- the thing about sex that I find so interesting is that it's never boring. It doesn't matter how many times you have it, or how many times you've seen it on television, or how many times you have conversations about it, it never gets boring. And that's kind of fascinating. It's one of the few subjects that is like that. Most things, the more you do it, it sort of loses its appeal and becomes mundane. But sex never becomes mundane. And the way it plays off our psyche, there are so many different levels, it's so complex. So I think with this record, I was definitely exploring more of my concept of my sexuality and the role that sexuality plays socially in our lives-- how it sort of creates our own identity. Like, "This is who I am, a heterosexual man, and these are the attributes of a heterosexual male. And I subscribe to all of these things." And I realize how political it is, and it's just really interesting to me, like on "Womens Studies Victims".

But there are a lot of things that I've just thought about that I haven't really shelled out in a completely linear fashion. I've been thinking about feminism, for example, and homosexuality and bisexuality and how whatever path you feel is your path can really help create this identity that you have. But I realize that identity is not fixed, I could be-- like I was saying before-- a homosexual. And I can be a feminist. And I can be a butch dude. I can be all these things, and I am all these things. There is no reason for me to say I am just one thing. Like, "I am a Republican," "I am an evangelical," and, "These are the things I believe in and subscribe to everything else that everyone else in this group believes in." I don't really feel like I need to make that decision. I don't need to commit to being one thing-- I can allow myself to be everything, even if all these things contradict each other.

Pitchfork: That's interesting. Did the sexual nature of the subject matter directly influence the cover art?

KB: Yeah, it's definitely supposed to be this liberated cast of people. And it's interesting, when you think maybe there is some symbolism with the one character in the foreground, who's pointing out that cancer-- which kind of looks like this beastly vine-- is about to devour everything. I didn't create the artwork, and I didn't even visualize it. I just left it up to [brother] David and [wife] Nina to create. But it's interesting how it does directly connect to the record in a sort of unintentional way. I know that my brother and Nina were listening to the record a lot, so I'm sure it definitely influenced their hands when they were creating the artwork.

Pitchfork: So it was just their response to hearing the album? Nothing more?

KB: Pretty much, I mean, we didn't really sit down and say, "Okay, this is what we want to accomplish." And that's the way it's always been with David and Nina. It's basically just, "You guys do your own thing." It works because I think we are sort of the same animal and we are connected in that way. We really, really appreciate what the other one does. There are certain artists that really seem to speak to you personally and you can't really understand why. I think we just have a really natural, artistic rapport with each other.

Pitchfork: Whose idea was it to release Skeletal Lamping in several packages, and do you think that is a necessary way to combat illegal downloading of the album?

KB: I think it was an idea my brother and I came up with. What we tried to do with the Hissing Fauna packaging was create something that was slightly unconventional, kind of interesting, that wasn't the same thing we had done, because we've already put out like 10 records, 11 records or something. And basically they're just all the same, you know, maybe you get a six-page booklet instead of a three-page booklet this time. But we wanted to make something that had more value as an object, that wasn't just a little booklet that goes into this little plastic rectangle. So we just started talking-- what sort of objects could we create? What would be interesting? And we started thinking that interior design objects would be really great, because then people could incorporate that into their daily lives. And the object would flow with the rest of the things they have in their house, and it wouldn't just be this thing that you would need to put on a shelf or whatever. We wanted to create an exceptional object for the album, and then we were thinking, "Well why stop at one?"

It didn't really take very long, luckily, for us to convince Polyvinyl that this would be really exciting. And luckily, they got super excited about it, too, and they helped do all the legwork-- to [find out] who we had to talk to get all these objects manufactured. 'Cause, you know, we had never made a Chinese lantern before, and they had never made a Chinese lantern before, so it was like, "We know Chinese lanterns exist, and we know they're not that expensive." It couldn't be that hard to put album artwork on one of them, right? So they were like, "Yeah, this shouldn't be that hard." So we went back and forth with them for a couple months, and eventually we found someone that would produce them for us. It was really fun.

I really like finding interesting objects, and I know a lot of people really like finding interesting objects for their living spaces. We wanted to produce these kinds of things that people get excited about and find inspiring and fun, and that are not just disposable. They have a value beyond just transporting the music from your car to your house or whatever. So we created a Chinese lantern, and we created these wall decals. They're sort of-- well not really stickers, because you can unpeal them and move them around in your house. Nina and David designed two wall decal sets. And the CD packaging itself is really, really crazy and really interesting. It folds into the normal shrink wrap you would get at your local record store, but it's all one piece of paper, and when you open it up you realize, "Oh my god, this thing is almost like a paper sculpture in a way."

It's kind of hard to describe, but it folds out to become almost this weird beast with a gaping mouth-- kind of nefarious looking. And on the inside, there's this triangular object that houses the CD. And you can open the object-- the triangle-- and pull out the CD, and then close it up again. So your CD doesn't get scratched or anything, but at the same time you can put it on your table, or you can put it next to your bed, or you can put it on your mantle. Kind of a conversation piece. It's just this weird and interesting object. It goes back to this thought that we had, that it would be so cool if that becomes the norm and no one is creating just jewel cases anymore. Everyone has to create an interesting object and something that's singular from other objects. So you go to a record store, and it's filled with these totally bizarre art objects. It's like, "Hey, I'm looking for the new Panda Bear record, what is it?" "Oh, it's this bonsai tree."

Pitchfork: I hope he doesn't take your idea now.

KB: I think it would be cool! He can have the bonsai tree.

Pitchfork: You must have had a decent response so far. Is that why the album had to be pushed back a little bit?

KB: No, to be honest, it was a printing error. It was really frustrating, especially for the label, because they had been doing all the grunt work, getting everything in line so it could all come out in time. And it's obviously way more complicated than a normal release, so they were under the impression that everything was running smoothly. And then they got the sample from the printing place and they were like, "This looks like shit. What happened?" For some reason they didn't proof it before they created 75,000 copies of it. So they had to start from scratch. That's why it got pushed back. It's really frustrating and annoying, because we had submitted all the artwork on time, and they had done everything they were supposed to do, and then it's just one dude sitting at the printing place who doesn't take the time to look at it and be like, "Oh, you know what, this doesn't look anything like the template that they created for us. But I don't care, let's just make 75,000 of these and see what happens!" Really, really dumb. It sucks, but in a couple months' time, it won't really matter anymore.

Pitchfork: Are there plans to sell the lamp and the decals separately? I want to decorate my room in all Of Montreal stuff, so do I have to buy the album five times?

KB: [laughs] Well that's the thing, you buy the object and then you get the record, you get the download coupon. You get that with every object, so you can basically give them to your friends or give them to homeless people or whatever.

Pitchfork: Are there plans for an EP or other release to feature the 40 minutes of extra material you said you had?

KB: I want to release the stuff, but at the same time I don't want to put out the "Loser EP"-- you know, the EP of songs that weren't good enough to make the record. I think that some of the songs are actually kind of interesting, and I'll probably release two or three of them at some point.

Pitchfork: You have a pretty crazy tour schedule for the rest of the year. Is there any new stuff we should expect on the tour?

KB: This tour is definitely the most ambitious. We're investing more time, energy, and money into this one than we ever have before. We're viewing it as almost a once in a lifetime experience, and we're bringing a lot of people on board. We're going to create this room, and on one side, when it's facing away from the audience, it will have projections screens on it. And then when you turn it around, then you'll expose this new environment, and I'll interact with some performance artists within the room at the same time. It is going to be sort of a meta performance. I'll be performing, and then maybe it will go along with the theme of the song in the background. And then, maybe something completely absurd that will have no connection to anything else will be on the screen. We're going to have, like, five projection screens, and it's just going to be so much crazy visual stuff. And at shows in certain cities we are going to be doing special things, but I can't really give away what they're going to be. But they're going to be really far out, really visual things.

The record itself is so dense with ideas, it's very bizarre and all over the place, so we wanted to make something that is visually representative of that. On some level, it might be a lot. It's going to be a crazy banquet for the senses. It's going to be touching so many different parts of the brain, hopefully. We don't want to make just a party atmosphere. Parties are fun, but what I'd really like to do is make something that is more, you know, with moments of tension and drama. Maybe even you feel scared for a second, or you feel disgusted for a second. You don't really often feel disgusted at like an indie-rock show, you know what I mean?

I kinda want it to be like a great film in that, it's like pretty long and you go through all these different moods and have all these different experiences, and at the end of it you feel a little bit depleted but happy. You know you just have something to talk about on the drive home, as you're still like piecing it together you're like, "Oh, yeah and remember that part?" "Yeah, what the hell was that?" We want it to be along those lines, where people are leaving the venue feeling a little bit nauseous. You know, in a pleasant way. Like, when you're leaving an amusement park.

No comments:

Post a Comment