Published Jan 26, 2011Earlier this week, Destroyer released their ninth official album, Kaputt, which marks a definite change for Vancouver singer-songwriter Dan Bejar. Unlike the majority of Bejar's oeuvre, this latest disc eschews folksy strumming and baroque rock flourishes in favour of dreamy synths, '80s soft-rock horns and slinky electro-pop grooves.
Bejar made a similar left turn in 2004, when he released the MIDI-based Your Blues, a record that divided more than a few Destroyer fans. But as Bejar recently explained in an Exclaim! interview, Kaputt definitely takes a different approach, despite both albums' heavy use of electronics.
"Your Blues had a strict mandate of no drums and no bass," he explains. "That was the rule. We broke it in a couple spots. While Kaputt is the exact opposite. The rhythm section, the percussion and the bass, were supposed to be kind of integral. The bass itself seems constantly huge to me. And then there's also fretless bass, which gets used for different effects."
With Your Blues, he adds, "the pallet didn't really go outside of MIDI-generated instruments, aside from my voice, really." Pausing, he continues, "Which is not the case with Kaputt, God bless it."
This time around, Bejar focused on atmosphere rather than ornate arrangements. "I didn't want any orchestrated melodies and all those baroque inflections that happen on Your Blues," he says. "I didn't want any of that shit."
When writing the songs on Kaputt, Bejar worked intensively with his Vancouver band, piecing the tracks together using each collaborator's parts. "With Your Blues, I could for the most part sit down and play those songs on a guitar or on the piano," the frontman observes. "Which, for the songs on Kaputt, was more the exception than the rule, so their structure came about it a different kind of way."
Still, for all of their differences, Bejar is quick to note that the two albums share a similar electronic aesthetic. "There's probably a certain taste I have in synth sounds which involves some overlap between those albums," he admits. "It's kind of the new age-y-er ones I gravitate towards."
Kaputt is out now via Merge Records. As previously reported, Destroyer will be embarking on a North American tour in support of the record. You can see all the dates here.