Coachella You've heard all the rumors, seen all of the fake hand bills, and…
- Posted on Jul 15th 2010 3:00AM by Julian Marszalek
Fast-forward top 2010, and Yeasayer's second album, 'Odd Blood,' flies in the face of the notion of the "difficult" second album. Bursting with ideas and a pop sensibility that blends dance beats, prog rock and a rarely heard sense of sheer joy, 'Odd Blood' is an album that looks likely to figure very highly when then the year in music is called into account.
With the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based band taking Europe by storm with a series of festival and live dates, multi-instrumentalist Anand Wilder tells Spinner why pop music is nothing to be afraid of and why it should sound simultaneously bang-up-to-date and completely timeless.
'Odd Blood' has taken an interesting shift from the first album, hasn't it?
I think we were always scared of being pigeonholed and we see ourselves as artists and creators and we didn't like people putting boundaries around what we were creating. We extended a lot of the ideas from the first album; I thought that a lot of the songs on the first album were pop songs but they weren't pushed in a pop kind of way but this album we thought we'd see how pop and contemporary we could be with a lot of bass, synthetic drums and with a clear, direct vocal that deals with love and stuff like that.
How important was it that you made a 21st Century pop album?
Ideally, you want to be timeless but being timeless is such a difficult thing to be and you can't really tell till 50 years down the line. But I don't want to be in some retro band that's trying to imitate something that was vibrant 40 years ago. And that's what's very bland about the pop landscape of today. In England there's a lot of this throwback sound like this Amy Winehouse thing, and that doesn't make sense to me. I think we're trying to engage in a dialogue with a lot of the contemporary music that's going on but not trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator. A lot of stuff today tries to imitate the production values of those days but they don't use any of the vocal hooks.
What comes first? The song or the production values?
It depends on the song. We have a whole creative bed of sounds which could be a beat or an interesting synth texture. But for me, the hardest thing to do is picking a topic for a song.
How much of you personally made it to the album?
This album is pretty personal. A lot of the stuff that I'm singing about is about me, like why wasn't my girlfriend as into me as I was into her. Or a song like 'Madder Red' started out as being removed from my personal experience and then it became about bitching about life in the road. I think that a lot of the lyrics were personal too.
How drastically have things changed for you from one album to the next?
Back then, we did everything ourselves and then we got a sound guy who was also the tour manager and then recently we got a tour manager and now we've got a monitor guy and the whole shift to where we are now has been very gradual. I still feel as if we go two steps forwards, one step back all the time. I do feel as if we're losing our autonomy a little.
What can we expect next from Yeasayer?
With the first album, we experimented with an array of styles and then we had the freedom to go in any direction that we wanted to. Maybe the next album will be something more ambient and more of a combination of our first two records. Perhaps something closer to our live show. I really like the idea of a Neil Young-type album like 'Rust Never Sleeps' where it's completely live but it's the only recording of those songs -- a live album of original material.
Yeasayer play London's Lovebox on Saturday, July 17. For more of this summer's festival dates and club shows, check their web site.