Jeff Thorburn Chad VanGaalen is the first to tell you that being both a…
- Posted on Jun 15th 2011 11:00PM by Melody Lau
Your new album is entitled 'Diaper Island,' what's the meaning behind the name?
The album title was between 'Diaper Island' and 'Garbage Island,' and I just thought the stressed out, sort of angst part of it comes from not knowing where a lifetime of creating waste goes and not really being connected with it. "Here's my garbage" and then someone takes it away to a landfill. But you're never confronted with your garbage, unless, you know, you drive out to the dump on a regular basis, but a large percent of our population doesn't do that.
Are environmental issues important to you?
Yeah, I think so just as a human on the planet. Having kids now, I feel responsible for my daughters. I really got into planting this weekend with them. I just remembered my grandma passing on some good ideas when I was a kid and you remember that when you become a parent. Like, there's stuff I've got to do so my kids aren't idiots!
With the theme of the album pertaining to an idea like consumption and how much we consume nowadays, do you feel pressure to constantly put out music in order to keep people happy?
Yes and no. I mean, sometimes I feel really stressed out about that and people always want to hear the hundreds of songs and in some ways they're just sitting here, rotting. But they're not really that good and I don't want to flood my potential audience with mediocre stuff. With Black Mold, the ambient stuff seems to be a bit easier and I wouldn't feel so bad about releasing hours and hours of that to listen to in the background while they, I don't know, whatever people do these days, play online games.
How much does the opinions of others factor into your music?
I have the good fortune of being close to a lot of people that I can bounce stuff off of. Usually, I'm not really good at picking what meshes well together; that was the failure of the first few records. So I just threw stuff at people and they were like, "Yeah, the record's coming together! It sounds like a record!" and I'd go, "Oh, OK. Yeah it does," and just pretend like I know what I'm doing. My wife Sara is probably the only person that I'm kind of indoctrinating with sound on a daily basis -- but she's definitely no music aficionado which makes it perfect for someone's honest opinion.
How does your wife feel about the song 'Sara'?
That song wasn't supposed to be on the record at first and then everybody liked it and I felt really weird about it. She didn't really feel that weird to begin with.
Why did you feel weird about it?
Lyrically, I try to keep stuff sort of fairly, not distant from myself personally, but a little more accessible emotionally for people listening. I really don't like to get political or introspectively too far in there with the lyrical content ... Does that make sense? I like people to have access to the lyrics for themselves and not necessarily be pushed too far in a direction.
Are you happy with 'Diaper Island'?
You're never really happy. I wish it was a little bit stronger but what can you do. You've only got so much time to do a record.