Dan Boeckner Talks Operators' 'Blue Wave' and His Ongoing Relationship with Handsome Furs

BY Matt BobkinPublished Apr 7, 2016

Many eyes may be on Wolf Parade these days, but not Dan Boeckner's. Despite being a member of the beloved indie rock outfit, Boeckner's spending his last moments before Wolf Parade's upcoming reunion by touring with his latest band, Operators. The dance-punk troupe have been bringing the party with their acclaimed live shows for close to two years and have just released their debut LP, Blue Wave, on Last Gang Records.

Though this "live first" approach was heralded as unorthodox, it's an integral part of Operators' process and Blue Wave's success.

"I think what happened was that the band found our voice on the road, which is really kinda a common thread with every band I've been in," Boeckner tells Exclaim! "I know that once you hit the road, the songs tighten up. Unless you're the kind of band or artist who thrives in the studio and then struggles to get that across live. That's also a way to be, but that's definitely not me."

Blue Wave's sound is influenced by Berlin trilogy-era David Bowie, Crowded House and techno, and is also an extension of Boeckner's work with Handsome Furs. Though the slick dance-rock duo broke up in 2012 after releasing three albums, their spirit lives on in Operators. Boeckner says he feels that the tracks on Blue Wave are "this culmination of all this stuff that I had started working on 10 years earlier with Handsome Furs when the band started: starting to work with electronic music and welding that to post-punk structures."

Going back to the Furs' sound has also inspired Boeckner to revisit the group's material. On Twitter, Boeckner even took requests of Handsome Furs songs for Operators to cover.

"I just wanna play [Furs track] 'Serve the People' in 2016 in the United States in an election year when Trump and Hillary are running against each other, y'know? That's what I wanna do. I feel like I should be able to do that. And I mean also apolitically, selfishly, I love playing that song."

While Boeckner will be switching his focus to Wolf Parade after the Operators tour ends later this April, this isn't the last we'll hear of the dance-punks. An upcoming single featuring non-album cut "I Die" will be digitally released for Record Store Day on April 16, with a physical release following shortly after.

Over the next few months, Boeckner will continue juggling between Operators and Wolf Parade; following Operators' current tour and Wolf Parade's summer shows, Operators will play Europe and Cuba in the fall, and Wolf Parade have plans to record their fourth album this winter. And while Boeckner's other other band, Divine Fits, are currently in limbo, Boeckner hopes to continue the band after Fits-mates Britt Daniel and Alex Fischel finish up with an upcoming Spoon album.

But while he has a lot of different commitments to juggle, Boeckner is firmly focused on Operators, at least for the next month. "Our job right now is to just crush it every night."

As previously reported, Operators are currently out on tour, and you can see all their upcoming dates here.

You can read Exclaim!'s new published Essential Guide to Wolf Parade over here.

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