miércoles, 31 de agosto de 2011

Today Okkervil River interview

Circo Price yesterday with The Drums

by: el Hijo de Enoz

You have always had success and you have had the support of the public and media. What has "I Am Very Far" meant for Okkervil River?
I think that every new record gives you a chance you push yourself into a new place artistically. I would feel bored - and boring - if I just tried to do the same thing again and again on every record. With our last record, we had tried to do something really accessible and simple, so it felt more fun on I Am Very Far to try something that felt a little bit more personal and complicated.

I have read you are looking for something more complex for the people. Have you really done exactly what you wanted to with "I am Very Far"?
For me (and maybe it's not this way for everybody) each artwork I work on is in some ways a discovery process. I have a general idea in my mind - it's not even a vision of a finished product, it's more just a very simple seed of an idea - and I just try to unfold that idea into something bigger. Along the way, I might stumble upon something that wasn't part of the original idea but feels even more interesting because it's a living, breathing thing and it's totally working and happening right in front of me. So then I might follow that direction for awhile. Eventually I end up with something that reflects what the original idea was but which is bigger and a lot less academic or simple and cut-and-dried than what I began with.

You have always been praised for the lyrics of your songs, and in the videoclip for "Wake And Be Fine", we can see the lyrics for the entire song. Do you still pay the highest attention to the composition of the lyrics?
I do pay a very high degree of attention to the lyrics, but songs aren't all about lyrics to me. When I'm listening to other peoples' records, I might love the way the snare drum crack sounds as much as or more than I love the lyrics. I might love the tightness of the band as much as I love the lyrics. I think the very best songs in the world are songs where the lyric, the composition, the performance, and the recording quality are all exciting and all seem to be in synch with each other.

Your last record seems very far in time. What have Okkervil River done in the last three years?
I produced a record for Roky Erickson and another record for a band called Bird Of Youth. I wrote a song with Norah Jones and performed on The New Pornographers record Together. I also wrote a very long piece for McSweeney's that was written in the form of an old Norse saga. So I guess a lot happened between The Stand Ins and I Am Very Far, and a lot of that fed into the finished product.

You are going to come to Madrid, Spain, on September 1st with The Drums. What can we expect of your live performances?
They're a lot less careful and precise - I much prefer a more wild and immediate and physical performance style onstage.

What do you think about your tour partners? Do you think The Drums will take part in the future of the music?
I think we will all take part in the immediate future of music, for sure! As far as what happens far out in the future, when we're all middle-aged, or when we're old, or when we're dead, who knows what's going to happen.

You also play in Puerto de Santa Maria and Valencia in November, are you excited about getting recognition from the Spanish public?
I absolutely love Spain. I spent a bit of time in Spain when I was a teenager and it's always been a place I'm incredibly fond of. I love the food and the landscape and the people. And Spanish audiences are wonderful. I've been bugging our booking agent for years about getting back here.

Which are the new bands that attract your attention right now?
I really like that Frank Ocean record Nostalgia/Ultra. I wasn't as into the other Odd Future stuff as I'd hoped I'd be, but there's a lushness and a sadness to that record that appeals to me, as well as a kind of clammy or even creepy feel on some of the songs that I really like. I think the new Destroyer record might be the best of the year (though they're not a new band, per se). We just toured in the states with a singer called Julianna Barwick who just uses all these looped a capella layers of her voice, and I thought she was fantastic.

Which song of "I am Very Far" do you think sounds best live?
They're all pretty fun to play, but I think the one that's the most fun live currently is "Your Past Life as a Blast." We play it a bit differently live, because the original is more built around loops and has less of a "live band" feel.

One of my favourite singles is "Lost Coastlines". Is there any song which is more significant for the band?
I've always been really proud of "Starry Stairs," off of The Stand Ins. I also really like "Seas Too Far to Reach" off of Down the River of Golden Dreams, and "No Hidden Track" off of Sleep and Wake Up Songs. "Walked Out On a Line" was one of my favorite songs off the new record, but in the end I decided to leave it off the new record. It's pretty rare that an audience favorite ends up being my favorite Okkervil River song, actually.

Which albums is Okkervil River listening in the current tour?
Five to eight years ago when we went on tour, we'd all trade off records in the van. In the age of iPods, everybody just listens to their own thing, more or less. That said, there are always some shared jams that everybody's into. On the last American tour we very frequently listened to the Nas record "It Was Written," and there were a lot of specific songs we kept coming back to, like Althea and Donna's "Uptown Top Ranking" and this record by Jim Pepper called "Pepper's Pow-Wow," which is a kind of Jazz-Rock American-Indian angry party record from the early 70s.

Talking about the tour, there are only few days in which Okkervil River are not playing neither in Europe nor the United States. What does a band need to stand on the stage so many consecutive days? Maybe passion?
I love playing live, and I'm more excited about it than I ever have been before. I'm not really sure why. I just think we currently have a wonderful lineup of people I really like and I feel a lot more in control of my own performance as well.

Once again, William Schaff has designed the cover of "I am Very Far". Does it have any special meaning?
Yes, but you'd have to ask Will about that.

And finally, a musical wish for the future...
I would like it if Judee Sill, Laura Nyro, Curtis Mayfield, and Jim Sullivan could all come back to life and make some more music. That would make me happy.

(Gracias a http://www.crazyminds.es/ por permitirnos realizar esta entrevista, que podéis leer en castellano aquí http://www.crazyminds.es/2011/08/25/entrevista-crazyminds-con-okkervil-river/)

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