Ed­ward Droste and Christo­pher bear

on Griz­zly Bear’s col­lab­o­ra­tive method Most of the band has re­lo­cated to Cal­i­for­nia since the last

UNCUT - - New Albums -

Why did this record take so long to come to­gether? DROSTE: I think it was par­tially in re­sponse to the stop-start thing that hap­pened on the last record, where we were kind of push­ing our­selves to do it, and as a re­sult, most of the songs that we did dur­ing that pe­riod ended up be­ing B-sides or not mak­ing the cut. We re­ally learned from that ex­pe­ri­ence and said, ‘Let’s wait un­til ev­ery­one’s all on the same page and ev­ery­one’s feel­ing recharged and ready,’ and it just ended up tak­ing a little longer this time. BEaR: At that point, we still kept it pretty loose and just started pass­ing demo ideas and small little snip­pets back and forth in a pretty ca­sual way. Since the four of you were spread out around the coun­try, you spent some time shar­ing ideas as files over a shared in­ter­net folder; how did that in­flu­ence the process? DROSTE: I think it was just a re­ally good way to get the ball rolling. Even when we were all in the same city, we would go off on th­ese two- or three-per­son re­treats and we’d email things over to each other, so it was al­most the same as when we all lived in New York. But this was a good way to be like, there are ideas hap­pen­ing, let’s put it out there.

How did you get from those scraps of ideas to the songs on the al­bum? When do you know a song is ready?

DROSTE: Most of the songs on the record did have mo­ments where we didn’t re­ally know whether it would ac­tu­ally make it. Usu­ally what hap­pens is one per­son comes up with some sort of rein­ven­tion of it, or a new flavour to it, or a new end­ing outro, and then sud­denly ev­ery­one re­ally gets it. So you sort of slowly see the songs get to that point one by one. The more of those that come, it shows that ev­ery­one’s jump­ing into a track and giv­ing it their all. When peo­ple come in and give it their own flavour and put it on its head in a way that you didn’t quite ex­pect it to in the be­gin­ning, that’s when we know the song’s re­ally go­ing to go some­where.

it sounds like there are more loops and sam­ples on this record, like on “Three Rings” – was that the re­sult of the orig­i­nal idea shar­ing?

BEaR: Gen­er­ally, we’re try­ing to push and try new things that we haven’t been able to do be­fore, or use new sounds, and I think that’s al­ways ex­cit­ing for us. On “Three Rings”, that was just a per­cus­sion idea that I had done and it got looped and Ed and Chris sort of used that as a jump­ing-off point for a song. That was one of those things that was a very, very small thread of an idea meant to be sort of used as a tool; we ended up us­ing some things like that all around.

record – how did that af­fect the writ­ing and record­ing?

BEaR: We all spent a good, large chunk of our lives liv­ing in New York, and felt for var­i­ous rea­sons like it was the time for all of us to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. Out here I feel less of a grind – I’m just still ex­plor­ing and amazed by this place that feels very dif­fer­ent to me. We’ve talked about that sense of ad­ven­ture and ex­cite­ment about liv­ing in a new place, and maybe sub­con­sciously some of that comes through in the mu­sic. Though we cer­tainly didn’t set out to make a record with a Cal­i­for­nia sound [laughs].

DROSTE: It’s sort of like when peo­ple ask how did the po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere af­fect the al­bum. We’re not usu­ally a band to, in the lyrics at least, overtly dis­cuss top­i­cal matters and write very lit­eral lyrics about them. It’s like how you can find pieces of politics within the lyrics – you can maybe find pieces of a Cal­i­for­nia feel that seep their way in, but we weren’t nec­es­sar­ily con­sciously think­ing to our­selves, let’s make this sound sunny or some­thing like that.

What’s good and bad about hav­ing such a demo­cratic band?

DROSTE: We’re con­stantly chal­leng­ing each other and push­ing each other to be the best we can be. There’s just a lot of ideas and per­spec­tive, and we all have dif­fer­ent tastes and vibes, so it sounds like us, but I think we’re al­ways push­ing each other to do new things.

The dis­ad­van­tage is that if it’s a democ­racy, some­times things you re­ally love fall to the way­side, or it can be a little slower. But it’s worth it in the long run to have ev­ery­one ex­cited and con­tribut­ing, it makes play­ing live much more fun be­cause ev­ery­one’s into it, and it also makes for bet­ter al­bums, be­cause you’ve got four very strong opin­ions. We are all very crit­i­cal, in a nice way, of what we’re mak­ing, so a lot of stuff hits the chop­ping block for good rea­son.

There’s a lot of at­ten­tion on the early-2000s New York in­die­rock scene right now, in­clud­ing the oral his­tory Meet Me In The

Bath­room, where you all ap­pear. What does it feel like to look back on those days now?

DROSTE: It was a re­ally fun time to be there and to be mak­ing mu­sic sur­rounded by tons of peo­ple. I re­mem­ber go­ing to early Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Liars shows in Brook­lyn and feel­ing this re­ally cool en­ergy. It felt great to be there and have so many amaz­ing mu­si­cians around; it felt re­ally sup­port­ive in the peo­ple we worked with and col­lab­o­rated with. Now I go back and no-one’s there, a lot of them are here [in

Cal­i­for­nia]; it’s funny bump­ing into Dave Longstreth at the su­per­mar­ket. But I’m so glad to have been there at that time.

Bear ne­ces­sity: “We’d email things over to each other”

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