Published Feb 27, 2008Thanks 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 Horror was meant to be the blemish on the record. What attracts you to ensuring your music is flawless?
Its just my personal taste. Im 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, "Youre a dumbass, why dont you just try harder? I mean, if I wanted to I could make a fucking New Pornographers record I dont even really know what they sound like but if I wanted to, I could imitate all of these different styles. Im not a really creative guitar player, but Im a pretty good imitator. For instance, I could learn all of these styles, but its not me.
When I write my own songs theyre 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 youre trying to make an album sound perfect, what you mean by perfect is that youre judging it by someone elses output. Like this album isnt 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 its not like I just sit there and try to imitate them.
Your blog is quite impressive, considering you give away new music almost every day
Yeah. And I put up a song the other day that everyone hated. I dont really care if everyone hates it, but if I like it I put it up and thats that. But its free music, yknow, and theyre complaining. Why does everything have to be perfect? If I like it I put it up and thats that. I knew people werent gonna like it because it isnt catchy Everybody wants everything to be so fucking and so easy, like Vampire Weekend and that stuff, which I dont have a problem with, Im not criticising them. I just think it makes it more difficult for people to think about music in weirder terms. People look at whats successful, and whats successful is whats easy on the ears, things that arent challenging. Nobody wants to listen to something that sounds awkward and makes you cringe because its real personal or idiosyncratic. People just want to hear things that sounds familiar already to them.
Its 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 rockin songs for Deerhunter. I like Deerhunter to be more of a band. People ask me that question all of the time and I didnt really have an answer but Ive finally figured that out.
And youre working on a new Deerhunter album called Microcastle?
Weve been writing our new record for the past few days Well, the songs are already written, were just teaching them to each other now. And were not using any effects so far. We actually dont use any of that stuff anymore, believe it or not. We might use some on the record but in the rehearsals weve just been plugging the guitars straight into the amps.
How would you say it sounds?
[It sounds] better. I dont 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 dont 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?
Its gonna be out on Halloween.