Deerhoof has been making music for nearly twenty years. Charles Brownstein rapped with Greg Saunier about a few interesting things including thoughts on the band’s ‘Milk Man’ being turned into an opera, playing Joy Division’s ‘Closer’ live in it’s entirety and a few other interesting subjects.
CB: Deerhoof has been making music since 1993, how fondly do you remember meeting Slim Moon (Kill Rock Stars) and ‘The Man The king The girl’ era?
GS: We met Slim before Satomi even joined the band, way before we put out “The Man, The King, The Girl”. It was just me and a guy called Rob Fisk on bass. We recorded an album’s worth of heavy noise drum and bass duets and sent Slim a tape, along with a review of our previous band that had just broken up. That band was called Nitre Pit and our album had only gotten one review, in a now-defunct magazine called Option. Option hated the record. Slim came to our rescue – sort of. He agreed to put out a 7″. Trying to figure out how to squeeze an album onto one 7″, we hit on the idea of putting separate songs in the left and right speakers. The mastering engineer was against it and the truth is it didn’t really work too well. I remember that time fondly but really it’s only gotten more interesting since then.
CB: The name of the new record is ‘Breakup Song’. Is this Deerhoof’s ‘Blood On The Tracks’?
GS: I think it is our “Another Side of Bob Dylan”. The one where he giggles, the fun one. All Deerhoof really wants to do is be friends with you.
CB: What’s the story behind the song Mario’s Flaming Whiskers III
GS: When Satomi was a kid she had a video game machine. In Japan they call it a “family computer”. Mario was her favorite of course. So much so she named her cat Mario. That was so many years ago but she still wells up when she talks about Mario. This new song was written and played by Satomi as an homage.
CB: Is it still exciting going into the studio and laying down a new album?
GS: It would most certainly be if we ever went into a studio. We just record our albums at home. DIY through and through. I love recording studios but we like the freedom and the time you get when you do everything yourself. Either way recording is definitely one of the funnest parts of being a musician and I am way into it.
CB: Are you taken back by how many bands that have cited you as musical influences? TV On The Radio and Dirty Projectors, just to name a couple of current ones.
GS: Especially when I already am a fan of the band and then I find out, I get real surprised.
CB: Your album Milk Man got turned into an opera, what did you think of the production?
GS: It’s like getting psychoanalyzed, having my dreams studied, finding out that they meant more than I thought they did. It was like Sigmund Freud giving me a clean bill of health and calling me a genius. I liked it a lot.
CB: How much fun was playing ‘Unknown Pleasures’ in it’s entirety live with Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu)? Are there copies available?
GS: For both Jamie and me it was a real test of braun and endurance. The way we played the record, there were no quiet songs. Jamie sang everything maxed out and balls to the wall, and because of that I played much louder than I do in Deerhoof. It was like an exorcism and I like those. Check it out:
CB: Which five albums are essential to anybody’s collection?
GS: What is this 1984? Casting me in the role of Big Brother? Some of the coolest people I’ve ever met don’t even like music, let alone collect albums. I’m trying to think what five albums would even be essential to my collection. Even there I get stuck because if I didn’t have my albums, I’d simply get some other ones, or get by without albums. Who knows, maybe I’d buy a radio. But since you asked five of my favorite albums off the top of my head are PEREZ PRADO “Greatest Hits” ROLLING STONES “Sucking in the Seventies” CLAUDE DEBUSSY “Etudes” played by Paul Jacobs SWINGLE SINGERS “Getting Romantic” IGOR STRAVINSKY “Concerto in D”. Thanks Charles. Greg