DiS's features of 2007
We’ve had our albums of the year and our tracks of the year, and here DiS bids you adieu for 2007 with some of our favourite features of the past twelve months, for your instant-click consumption and eye-aching reading pleasure.
From Gallows to Björk, The Shins to Panda Bear, PJ Harvey to The Dillinger Escape Plan, LCD Soundsystem to Kate Nash and El-P to David Shrigley, DiS has chin-wagged with the great and the good and everyone in between. Click the headlines for links. See you in 2008.
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Sticky Fingers: Animal Collective (pictured) discuss Strawberry Jam
“We're all fairly different kinds of people so an Animal Collective song isn't really an Animal Collective song until we've all put our combined personality and character into a song.”
Arcade Fire on the festival circuit: "It's kinda crazy"
"It’s, for me, the final straw in driving the point home that this band is actually quite well known! Which I’m admitting only one hair at a time, but last night in Portugal it was sooo… the crowd was so great, and the crowd was so big… I just had this moment: Ooooh, I’m in a famous rock band!"
For one night only: a day with Band of Horses
“Take that music snobbery and shove it up your butt. We’ll take the people who don’t give a shit, who are out there to have a good time and can see the forest from the trees and not pick every leaf apart.”
Battles' Tyondai Braxton talks Mirrored, and the "neutrality" of his band's music
“I’ve heard that we sound like Fela Kuti, I’ve heard that we sound like more abstract bands and hip-hop groups, and it’s great to hear all that because what people are saying is that they hear an element of something and they’re trying to reduce it to something understandable. Here’s what I think: I feel that the way we make music, there’s a neutrality to it. The music is not telling you how to feel, it’s really just reflective of yourself.”
Beirut: inspiration is an old piano
"It took me a long time to accept the Gulag Orkestar album for what it was – I was shooting for the stars and fell pretty short."
"I’m just doing my best to escape boredom": DiS questions Björk about Volta and beyond
“Ten or twenty years ago it was more presumed that if you went on stage you were up for being available to strangers 24/7. Not anymore – now you have all kinds of celebrities, on all different levels of interest from the paparazzi. They leave the ones who don’t want it alone.”
Deerhunter: troubled Atlantan souls brighten 2007's album horizons
“We never thought we’d get as many people coming to the shows, so it’s well beyond what we thought. They’ve been really fun, and we’ve managed to meet loads of new people.”
The Dillinger Escape Plan: calculating aggression vs multiplying melody
“I think the bands that will continue to go on and produce something special are those unafraid to adjust the mechanics. The point is to not do something simply because you can, but to do something because it furthers your vision and gives you another tool to create this vision.”
El-P: "When I run out of my magic pills, I’ll lose my sh*t"
“If I was to get caught up in the gut impression, in the immediate interpretations people have of the lyrics, I would get frustrated. But I really only have myself to blame for that.”
Gallows: the Shape of Punk in 2007
"Christmas last year, we were playing a show in Norwich in the back of a bar to, like, 50 kids. And it got cut short after three songs, and it was freezing cold. And now, a year later, here we are sitting at Brixton Academy, and we’ve toured the world, basically, in a year. So, it’s been good!"
A blindsiding project, not a 'side project': DiS meets Grinderman
“It’s not a new band – people know Nick, y’know. It seems like a continuation of a musical quest, of a musical development and that. The day you feel like you’re not bettering what you’ve done, maybe it’s time to stop… that, or you’re satisfied doing the same old crap over and over.”
PJ Harvey: "There are no rules, and you can make anything up you want"
“The song is much more to do with the thought that’s gone behind it, the words I’ve slowly collected, the atmosphere and visuals that I have. Songs are very visual for me, almost like little films that I see, and characters that I see in them. I want to make this atmosphere happen; I’m very filmic in that way.”
French Touch: chain smoking in the church of Justice
“Club music is something we discovered really late, when we started to DJ really. It was never open to us before. We are just trying to make pop music but with the tools of today – because the tools of today make it sound modern and also allows you to make everything from beginning to the end. There are reasons why it sounds electronic but our main concern is just to make music you can listen to at home or in the car.”
The Knife: Swedish purveyors of alien synergy
“It's hard to say what will happen next time, if there will be any next time. I see everything we have done as different projects, where we wanted to try new things. The live thing was a project, and I am not sure we will do it once again, since we now know what it's like.”
DiS meets LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy; asks about Daft Punk; gets the brush off
“I come from this punk rock background where every major label was the same and you kind of have these Machiavellian ideas about these things. But you get in to the way labels work and you realise that it’s not actually organised enough for it to be Machiavellian. There’s something Keystone Cops-ish about it.”
Les Savy Fav: more quality, less quantity
“We play shows to surprise ourselves, and we have no control over the audience. We hope they are having a blast because we are. I think this recording shares similarities with our live shows. Our shows can be chaotic and exciting and so was the process of recording Let's Stay Friends. It was like a roller coaster: big ups and downs, jostling, but we were strapped in.”
Jeffrey Lewis answers your questions... with crayons
“What is the best way to wear an octopus?”
Milk tooth tales: Liars discover their inner-child
“Things are based on very personal experiences to generate songs that have universal connections, and you draw from what you know and it becomes something people connect to more, maybe removing your source of connecting to that experience.”
M.I.A.: "I'm not gonna stay on my couch in Norwood 'til George Bush works out how to beat Bin Laden"
“What pisses me off in music is that ultimately you do have to work within the format, y’know you go on MTV and they’ll ask if my video can be played between Beyoncé and Rihanna which pisses me off, then I go, ‘Fuck you, I don’t wanna go on MTV then’... now you can check it up on Youtube and on MySpace and you’re not so dependent on those formats but there is one all the same, you know...”
Dear hearts, precious time: Maccabees awkward in an ironic present
“Thamesbeat – the only ridiculous thing with that was when people tried to give it a name. Mystery Jets, Jamie T – some of the best bands in the land came from that, but it wasn’t that together, more just a bunch of people we met along the way.”
Get into the spirit: DiS enjoys a nice pre-Christmas chat with Múm
“I haven’t had a TV for five years because I don’t like the idea of being fed but I love feeding myself. I love what I do and I keep on doing it. So a good way for me to relax is to lose myself in a hypothetical world where I have no say in anything.”
Why you being a dickhead for: Kate Nash hits out at her critics
“I’ve been hurt but I think you should wear your heart on your sleeve. I’m not afraid of being stupid or of someone seeing me at my weakest and then leaving me or whatever, I think human beings will do that to each other, you know you hurt the people you love the most. But I’m very optimistic and I love people, I just acknowledge there’s gonna be bumps along the way.”
The National: "We nearly lost our minds making Boxer"
“I don’t think we’d do it again, the way we did Boxer, because it was nearly a disaster. We came very close to giving up.”
DiS meets Panda Bear: "I feel like the music I like the best is exclusively pop stuff"
“What really excites me about making music: to try and make something that really surprises me and maybe doesn’t make sense to me at first, but makes sense to me later if you know what I’m saying. So, I’m not too interested in using formulas and blueprints… I like to try and fuck things up and see what happens. That’s more fun to me.”
Drinking the Knights Away: DiS meets The Shins' James Mercer
“We’re not worried if we don’t sell as many records as we could have done, but more about the people who really give a crap about the music still being with us and buying it. I figure that will happen. Nobody wants those noisy jocks you get shouting at Modest Mouse gigs.”
“No Wands”: David Shrigley dissects Worried Noodles
“My criteria is that as long as what I am doing is good then it’s fine to do it. As long as I’m having a good time and I feel what I am doing is interesting and not shite then that’s good and I’m going to continue. I supposed there is a fashion aspect to what I am doing, and perhaps I will go out of fashion at some point. But, again, there’s not a lot I can really do about that.”
The Twilight Sad: bright horizons follow fifteen winters
"I’ve always kinda felt that, if we went out and played a gig that sounded exactly like the album, you may as well have just stayed at home and listened to the album. We don’t find it interesting to perform that way, so when we do play live, we usually make everything noisier – it’s a big wall of noise for an hour, and then we walk off."
Coming in January: Magnetic Fields, The Mountain Goats, The Mars Volta, White Denim and more. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and all that jazz.