By Cam LindsayThanks to the wonders of technology (read: wiretaps that cut out without warning), only some of this conversation with Bradford Cox was salvaged, but for your reading pleasure, here is the transcript that survived the murderous phone connection.
I read that "Small HorrorĒ was meant to be the blemish on the record. What attracts you to ensuring your music is flawless? Itís just my personal taste. Iím not criticising other artists, but I get really sick of albums that are just so calculated. To me, calculation breathes mediocrity, and a lot of people would likely say, "Youíre a dumbass, why donít you just try harder?Ē I mean, if I wanted to I could make a fucking New Pornographers record Ė I donít even really know what they sound like Ė but if I wanted to, I could imitate all of these different styles. Iím not a really creative guitar player, but Iím a pretty good imitator. For instance, I could learn all of these styles, but itís not me.
When I write my own songs theyíre usually awkward and flawed. A lot of people try to get past that and develop their sound, but to me it just ends up making them sound the same. When you say youíre trying to make an album sound perfect, what you mean by perfect is that youíre judging it by someone elseís output. Like this album isnít gonna be perfect unless I try to make it sound like a Led Zeppelin record, or something more modern like a Pavement record. There are certain albums that I consider to be perfect, but itís not like I just sit there and try to imitate them.
Your blog is quite impressive, considering you give away new music almost every dayÖ Yeah. And I put up a song the other day that everyone hated. I donít really care if everyone hates it, but if I like it I put it up and thatís that. But itís free music, yíknow, and theyíre complaining. Why does everything have to be perfect? If I like it I put it up and thatís that. I knew people werenít gonna like it because it isnít catchyÖ Everybody wants everything to be so fucking and so easy, like Vampire Weekend and that stuff, which I donít have a problem with, Iím not criticising them. I just think it makes it more difficult for people to think about music in weirder terms. People look at whatís successful, and whatís successful is whatís easy on the ears, things that arenít challenging. Nobody wants to listen to something that sounds awkward and makes you cringe because itís real personal or idiosyncratic. People just want to hear things that sounds familiar already to them.
Itís funny because your music is very melodic, but also very unsettling at times. I make really accessible pop stuff, but at the same time I have no problem making something creepy or just odd.
So what separates Atlas Sound from Deerhunter? Do you write differently for both? I just keep the real rockiní songs for Deerhunter. I like Deerhunter to be more of a band. People ask me that question all of the time and I didnít really have an answer but Iíve finally figured that out.
And youíre working on a new Deerhunter album called Microcastle? Weíve been writing our new record for the past few daysÖ Well, the songs are already written, weíre just teaching them to each other now. And weíre not using any effects so far. We actually donít use any of that stuff anymore, believe it or not. We might use some on the record but in the rehearsals weíve just been plugging the guitars straight into the amps.
How would you say it sounds? [It sounds] better. I donít really like using effects that much. I like them only because sometimes you need them to get a certain desired feeling or sound, but I donít like for a song to depend on a metal box working and having fresh batteries in it. I guess I just get tired of depending on technology. The root of the song should be there already and I think you should be able to play these songs whether you have these things or not.
When can we expect it? Itís gonna be out on Halloween.