Published Nov 01, 2018"I don't think that people should try to listen to the whole album," Moonface mastermind Spencer Krug says of his latest LP. "I'm just being honest with the listener. I probably wouldn't do it, so I wouldn't expect you to do it."
Speaking over the phone from his parents' house in Nelson, BC — where his band Wolf Parade are passing through on tour — he offers a very frank assessment of This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet. "That whole notion that people sit down and listen to a whole record start-to-finish is kind of an antiquated notion anyway," he admits. "And then you put on top of that the fact that I've made this thing an hour and 20 minutes long. It's the length of a movie. It's just unreasonable to think that most people are going to do that."
This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet is a uniquely strange and ambitious record. For one thing, it's actually two albums: One, a sax-heavy collection of eclectic art rock; the other a suite of marimba compositions inspired by the Greek myth of the Minotaur and sung with a vocoder.
The two projects are interwoven in the tracklist, meaning that the album ping-pongs between the two extremely distinct styles. The futuristic calypso of "Minotaur Forgiving Pasiphae" is followed by the horn-soaked jazz rock of "The Cave," which gives way to the tropical dance grooves and candy-coated tones of "Minotaur Forgiving Knossos."
Elsewhere on the album, "Sad Suomenlinna" is an echoing kraut jam, while the haunting "Minotaur Forgiving Poseidon" uses steel drums for an odd collision of Caribbean sounds, Greek mythology and computerized robo-singing.
"Everyone was telling me, 'These are two separate records. You can't put them together. You're going to ruin both of them by putting them together,'" Krug reflects. "But I don't think that's right. They kind of complement each other in this weird way."
According to the songwriter, the vocoder, in particular, made the Minotaur songs grating as a cohesive collection. "If I tried to listen to it all at once, that sound of the vocoder just starts to eat at me after a while," he acknowledges. "It kind of gnaws at the back of your skull. After half an hour, an average person would just shut it off, because it's such a distinct sound. But you break it up with the beauty of Matana Roberts' saxophone in the other songs, they tick-tock back and forth in a way that I feel is complementary."
It's a wildly grandiose mishmash of sounds that will serve as the project's farewell statement before Krug retires the Moonface name for good. In an online statement, Krug cited myriad reasons for abandoning the alias — including the fact that a British DJ was already using the moniker before him, and that the name is potentially insensitive to people suffering from Cushing's syndrome.
"It's kind of an opus," he says of the album. "It's a pretty big gesture of a record. I might as well give this last gesture of a swan song to Moonface before dropping the name completely. Then I can start fresh as Spencer Krug. I really like clean slates and fresh starts."
He will spend 2019 working on quiet piano songs; he's aiming to wrote one per month, with the goal of releasing his debut under his own name in 2020. Additionally, Wolf Parade will begin work on their next LP soon.
"Wolf Parade will go into the studio this winter and see what happens. The tentative plan is to have an album out by next fall, 2019," he reveals. "We're going to write most of it together. Wolf Parade are most successful when we don't form too many of our ideas at home by ourselves. We just take the loose ideas to each other and then put everything together. Usually, the faster we can put it together, the better the song."
Not only will the coming years bring plenty of new music from Krug, the enigmatic songwriter is also ushering in a new era of honesty and openness. "I'm really excited to start working under my own name and not have a divide in place," he enthuses. "Not have the alter-ego or the mask to hide behind anymore. That's the reason Moonface existed in the first place. Or [previous solo project] Sunset Rubdown or whatever. I liked having the alter-ego. I liked having the freedom to freak out on stage and then not necessarily be me."
These days, however, Krug is in his 40s and is done hiding behind a persona. He even has a Twitter account, @KrugSpencer, where he posts demos and answers fan questions.
"It's easier. It's streamlined. I'm basically not embarrassed anymore to just be under my own name." Laughing, he adds, "It's more boring, but it doesn't make the music more boring."
This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet is out November 2 on Jagjaguwar/Outside.