Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth Talks the Live Translation of 'Swing Lo Magellan,' 60-plus Album Leftovers

Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth Talks the Live Translation of 'Swing Lo Magellan,' 60-plus Album Leftovers
Next week, genre-blending Brooklyn pop experimentalists Dirty Projectors will put out Swing Lo Magellan, their proper follow-up to 2010's much-praised Bitte Orca. With the release of tracks like "Gun Has No Trigger" and "Dance for You," anticipation for the album is fevered, and Dave Longstreth is hard at work ensuring that their upcoming tour dates capture all of Magellan's parts faithfully.

Says Longstreth to Exclaim!, "We're rehearsing every day now, so we're trying to figure out how the hell to do it live. I think it's fucking great... I am testing the abilities of everybody, because we're doing things in new ways, things we've never done. On our website, I threw up a picture of the bridge for 'Dance for You,' the score of it, because I was thinking about it: How the living fuck are we going to play this thing live? The bridge of 'Dance for You' is all about this kaleidoscopic colour, these colours that just melt into each other, this image of god puking glitter or something. It's a section where I have no idea what we're going to do."

Magellan, contends Longstreth, is "about the space, the negative space in the recording. It's so much about imperfection and the performances as they are," which makes it hard to translate into a live show: How do you perfect imperfection?

Of course, he welcomes the challenge of live translation: "There's so much I love about it. It's a really amazing way to live, playing music and connecting with people around the world, hanging out with your friends -- it's fucking awesome."

And despite "not being able to write music on the road," Longstreth still gets ideas, which accumulate and spill out of him at the end of it, as they did on Swing Lo Magellan.

"It's sort of hard to grow as a person on tour," he says, "even though you're having so many potentially formative experiences, but then I find, once you're off of tour for a while, you have time for them to settle. You wake up, and you're sort of different than the way you are."

Whether this tour will lead to a new Dirty Projectors album remains to be seen, but in the meantime, there are more than 60 tracks lying around that didn't make Magellan.

"We'll probably be putting them out somehow. There are a lot of them that I think are really interesting, but a lot of the recordings aren't as finished as the other ones. But yeah, we're going to work on those."

He enthusiastically adds, "There's so much coming up. Right now I'm holding in my hands a test pressing of the lyrics of 'Gun Has No Trigger' translated into Akkadian, the world's first non-pictographic written language, and engraved onto a piece of 200-gram vinyl. It looks so fucking incredible. It looks really, really cool. I should put a picture of it on the Dirty Projectors Instagram. I fucking love the way it looks."

Both Swing Lo Magellan and the ultra-limited "Gun Has No Trigger" tablet will be out Tuesday (July 10) courtesy of Domino Records. For a list of all the group's upcoming Canadian and U.S. tour dates, head here.

Also, you can read Exclaim!'s newly published Dirty Projectors cover story here.