Published May 03, 2012On the surface, Deerhunter have always appeared to be Bradford Cox's band. But Cox has demonstrated that there are four people in Deerhunter, whether through the singular music he makes as Atlas Sound or in interviews. Lockett Pundt may not generate the same kind of attention as his best friend, but his influence in that act (see "Desire Lines") can definitely be heard in his solo-project, Lotus Plaza. Pundt may prefer to stay out of the limelight, but Spooky Action At A Distance is a sprawling pop album beaming with the kind of confidence none of us, likely even Pundt, expected. Some surprises are worth waiting six years for.
This is your first time touring as a band. How has it been so far?
The shows are going really good. It's different; I'm used to Deerhunter where I have the attention for six minutes total and now I have it the whole time. So I'm a little self-conscious. The shows have been going good and it's a totally different experience, for me.
How bad is your stage fright these days?
I get it really bad. Actually, I had it tonight; I have to drink three beers as my sedative to get up on stage. I didn't have anything tonight though. I just get a little weird in my skin sometimes, but it can get quite bad. About mid-way through I start to feel all right, but the first couple songs are scary.
Did Bradford [Cox, Deerhunter frontman] ever give you pointers? He's a real entertainer, to say the least.
I've known him since high school and he's always been like that, and I've always been the way I am. I think when I try and step out of it a bit it feels uncomfortable, but I've definitely made progress. I'm not as awkward as I used to be; in time, I think it will get better.
Do you see yourself singing more with Deerhunter in the future?
With Deerhunter, whoever wrote the lyrics sings the song. I feel like I have gotten better singing over the years. When I did my first album, I was almost learning how to sing. Before, I had just never imagined myself doing it, so I'm up for the challenge.
Your new album, Spooky Action At A Distance, sounds like you've gained some confidence. You can definitely hear the vocals and song structures clearer.
I didn't want to do what I did last time. For that album there was definitely a lot of learning involved, songwriting and trying new things, like singing. I never expected anyone to hear any of my songs; I didn't really care. But since I was offered the chance to do the album I thought I should sing, and it's been neat. I actually enjoy it, in a weird way.
You also worked with a producer for the first time, right?
Our sound guy in Deerhunter, Chris Koltay, one of the coolest dudes on Earth, did it in his studio in Detroit. We recorded it in ten days and I'll probably do the next one there. He's a brother/mentor-type figure to me, someone I absolutely, 100 percent admire. There are a few people you meet in this world that are supreme humans and he's one of those. The fact that he does records is also amazing. I will always do them at his studio.
Was there anything you'd go back and change on The Floodlight Collective if you could?
My ears have changed over the years. I don't think I would change anything I did on that record, because that's how I wanted it to sound, but I just don't like things to sound like that now. I like that haziness, the blurred lines and stuff, but I don't like it to be inaudible. I want the songs to be more direct now. I want it to be even more direct moving forward. And that will come from singing and becoming more confident with how I write songs and what I'm trying to do with a song.
You definitely lightened up on the reverb, eh?
That is maybe my regret with that first album. I recorded that in my bedroom and stacked the guitar tracks and then would go to a church to do the piano tracks. And then I would add all of this reverb, to the point where it doesn't really add anything. It just becomes this reverb frequency where you couldn't say, "Oh, that's piano." So I wanted all the parts to be heard, be present and be distinguishable, instead of having this amoeba-type thing.
When you're writing a song, how do you decide whether it's for Lotus Plaza or Deerhunter?
I don't know. A lot of these songs are written in between albums. There are certain songs that I know just won't work for Deerhunter. When I specifically write songs for Deerhunter, I don't want it to end up exactly how I wrote it. If it does that's fine, but I look for a part that matches Josh's personality, and with Moses and Brad, I think about how they play. My stuff is usually more sedated. I think Deerhunter have this raw energy, even if a song is tame when we play it live we have this chemistry that brings new life to something.
Bradford writes most of the songs in Deerhunter. Could that change in the future?
He writes a shitload of songs all the time. I wish I could do that, but I get frustrated. I'm pretty hard on my songwriting. I might start something and be enthusiastic, but I'll put it away and when I get to it I'll feel differently. There are probably hundreds of those. Brad is probably the most talented person I've ever met. He writes quick and I think that's the best way to do it.
The new album's title is a reference to Albert Einstein's theory, action at a distance. Does it relate to the music at all?
I don't know if it does that much, I just like the name. I read it in some book a few years ago. This was even before I had any solo ambitions or opportunity. I wanted to use it for this one.
Still, people seem to be trying to connect the two. It's pretty funny.
Yeah, a lot of people do and I like that; it's cool. I'm sure references can be made, but I didn't have any in mind.
You're getting married this year. Your fiancée is in Nice Weekend with you. Once you're married, do you see yourselves investing more time in that band?
She asks me a lot to do it; we have other songs that we haven't finished. It's just fun. There's no filter, so I don't have to worry about… it's not so much about me. It's a nice exercise in having fun writing a song.
What's the update on Deerhunter? Any plans?
Right now, Moses is getting married in May, so he's been busy with that. Bradford is doing Atlas Sound stuff, and I get married in September. So we're all just taking a break until after my wedding, I guess. After that, life will return to normal. I think we'll get back together in the fall, early next year at the latest. That's what's been discussed.
Lotus Plaza and Atlas Sound are both playing the Pitchfork Music Festival this summer. Is a collaboration on the horizon?
He played in Ann Arbor last week and I took him to the airport and we joked about it for a second. We're both playing on the same day, so it'd be fun. Why not?
Finally, have you ever seen the Tumblr page, FUCK YEAH LOCKETT PUNDT?
No. It's been brought to my attention. I don't read the Internet because it weirds me out. I deleted my Facebook. I had my friend base and then I started getting friend requests from people I didn't know and I was like, "whatever, why not?" I let everyone in and it just got weird. My fiancée would show me things and it made me uneasy. I don't like reading reviews; I'd rather not know. It can bum me out, so I just stay away.
Read a review of Spooky Action At A Distance here.