Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Interview: BLACK DICE

You all know Black Dice, Brooklyn noise motherfuckers with a penchant for alien colours and beautiful skyscraping canyons of mushroomy sludge. Their interests in future sounds and new musics have been unparalleled for me in so far as they've combined listenability and willingness to fuck everything up, and, after venturing through many different explorative recordings over the last twelve years, they still know how to push it forward. Their new album Repo is out in April and I had the pleasure of talking with Bjorn Copeland about it for a lengthy feature in Rock-A-Rolla (and also Eric Copeland and Aaron Warren for upcoming features on Tiny Mix Tapes, NARC and Isolationist). Here's a part of our interview that won't make it into the final article due to our chat going well out of the word count.

Was the process and approach for Repo a lot different from before? To me, it certainly feels a lot more chill than Load Blown and way more than the earlier stuff.

We've been doing it for a long time, but it think with this one we really tried to hone in on, as listeners, what we really enjoyed about music. And in a lot of ways, I feel like we kind of didnt second guess anything; things that felt right off the bat, we jut kind of stuck with them. It just felt like we didn't have to do anything that we didn't wanna do, like if we wanted it to sound a bit more linear in places then that's fine, there's no pressure to change it. I dunno, it was done for really personal reasons for the most part, all the decision making and how the tracks ended up. It's hard to say whether it's because of the, well, rugged time in the world, or rugged time over here at least, but it just felt nice to make something more giving in some respects.

This is the first time I remember hearing such overt beats, like, actual drum sounds rather than those polyrhythmic sort of ones that build up.

Yeah, it's interesting the way that beats get talked about on the records because I never really realised there was an absense of them on other records. I felt like we always heard them, even if they didn't come from a drum but more rhythmic or built out of repetition.

Sure, that's the main difference for me with some moments on the new one, where the sound actually comes from a drum rather than built out of those rhythms and more like the beats between the beats.

I think in some ways, for us, it was a pretty festive record for us to make. I dunno what it's been like over there, but seriously, things have just been shit over here, at least financially, so when we'd go down to the practice space, we were all pretty hell bent on having fun, you know, smoking a couple joints, drinking some beers, listening to some ZZ Top tapes or some shit like that. It was almost a survival thing in a way, just having fun, and I felt like as a result, everyone in the band has really fond feelings about this record because it actually felt like a survival tool in that way, playing almost every day for a year, writing lots of stuff much to our lives and girlfriends chagrin [laughs].

I guess it's true; a bit of positivity can go a long way.

Yeah, and also, for us at least in the last couple of years a lot of bands that we've been friends with or that we've seen or taken on tour, it seems like they've really blossomed into big and popular bands, so in some ways it was nice to view this record as this thing where it was like using stuff we've done for a long time and just have fun with the stuff that we know how to do, and how to be glad that we're not in the situations that a lot of our friends who are in more popular bands and on the road all the time and doing this and doing that. For us, it felt really positive for us to be in the situation we were in. Usually, we're pretty happy with what's cookin but it just felt like a particularly nice place to be, especially being on Paw Tracks which is run by friends who would never ask us to do anything we don't want to. If we'd said that this record needed to have a five minute break in the middle with a bunch of dogs barking or some shit then they'd be cool with that, however ridiculous. So, I dunno. In some ways it just felt like a nice time to take stock of all the things that have gone right and have happened for us in the last bunch of years. Because our situation is actually a lot more fortitudes than a lot of people I know and have seen over the last 12 or so years. We've seen so many bands get totally ignored for ages and then all of a sudden get popular and break up within a year or it something. To me, I think that one of the great things about being a band from the US is the fact that there is no where to go in a way, you know, I mean, the best you could aspire to is like The Locust, who are fucking legends as far as underground as far as we're concerned; their shows were always packed, no matter what part of the country, and they sold tonnes of stuff, and maybe there was only 200 or 300 kids at the show but you may as well be selling out Madison Square Garden to people at that level. I like the fact that because there's no where bigger to go in a way because you can't get to that point and have someone say that you weren't good enough to get there, which seems to be a press trait that I see more and more, being able to find out about stuff before it's even happened by going online or you can be all excited about this MySpace thing but it's not actually as big a thing as it seemed. In some ways, it's hard for bands to survive any kind of hype, whether it's positive or negative.

I've been noticing it so much lately, bands that are like, just so fucking low-key, and maybe haven't even played many shows yet, but as soon as they get onto a couple of big blogs, it's goes crazy.

And that's great in one way, it's exciting to think that you're making something that other people are going to get excited about and respond to, I just don't think it allows you to take stock in what's good about what you're doing and what's bad about what you're doing. It seems hard to grow under a microscope. But I dunno, the internet to me seems like this weird thing, I don't do much stuff on it. I guess it's still a weird thing but i'm sure there's great things happening as a result of it. It just takes time to see how something that big will end up effecting stuff in the long term. It makes it way faster, that's for sure.

It definitely caters to peoples short attention spans, like mine.

I'm the same way, but I think the internet is roughly conducive to that, being able o check out a million things in like five minutes. It's different from getting a tape or something, for sure.

[Black Dice MySpace]

[Buy Repo from Paw Tracks]




Randy said...

completely packed with grammatical errors, but good read nonetheless.

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Here, I do not actually consider it is likely to have effect.