Artist of the Week Interview: Death From Above 1979
Tue, 26 May 2015 09:02:52
Death from Above 1979 Videos
Drummer and vocalist Sebastien Grainger cracks open new album 'The Physical World,' reveals terrifyingly fascinating inspiration for "Virgins" music video, discusses the band's next musical step.
Last year, our Artist of the Week Death From Above 1979 returned to the fold with their first album in ten years, The Physical World [Last Gang Records/Warner Bros. Records]. The Canadian duo of Sebastien Grainger [drums, vocals] and Jesse F. Keeler [bass, synthesizers] churned out a critically acclaimed offering that saw them introduce a new generation to their patented punked-up danceable, yet always rock ‘n' roll sound. It was the perfect follow-up to 2004's You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, and it opens the doorway for more big things from the band.
This summer they join Deftones and Incubus for a North American tour of sheds, and they just released a fascinating and powerful music video for the single "Virgins," directed by Sebastien's wife Eva Michon. So, in this exclusive interview, we spoke to Sebastien about The Physical World in great detail, working with producer Dave Sardy [Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem, Nine Inch Nails], the grim inspiration for the "Virgins" music video, and what's up ahead in terms of music.
The more time you spend with The Physical World, the deeper it gets…
I am glad to hear you say that! It shows that we did our job in that case.
Was it a conscious decision to carry a thread throughout The Physical World? Everything feels like it's charging towards one destination.
The material was written over the course of a couple of years. We all got back together in 2011 and started writing again in 2012. We began recording in 2013. Something that has always been a constant all along is our writing. I mean Jesse, for instance, has a method of writing parts. It is a formula that has worked for years. We have the same group of guys, playing the same instruments, and that's going to sound cohesive.
It just feels like the band we have always been. Our goal was to write an album—not just songs with a focus that made sense and went together well. I don't know whether or not that is the appropriate instinct in this day and age with the way people consume music. Nevertheless, our goal is to make records. So, yes, you're right in that sense for sure.
Does that also translate into your vision for the lyrics? A narrative is detectable if you listen closely.
I am going to steal from the film director P.T. Anderson. He said this, and I'm paraphrasing, but, "My way of working is to focus on the small things and pay attention to the details. The big things should take care of themselves." If there are any greater themes, it is because I was there, paying attention to the details. Bigger things emerge that way. It could be subconscious, or just arise from a myriad of different avenues. The end result is the larger themes tend to naturally come out of that frame of mind when the material is written.