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The L Magazine: Do you play every instrument on this record?
Lockett Pundt: Yeah, I played everything. I sort of treated the studio like a huge 4-track. I would lay down a metronomic loop, guitar track, or drums, and sort of go from there. That's pretty much how I do it at home anyways.
Did the songwriting all start on guitar? Do you ever use anything else to start writing a song?
I do most of my song writing on guitar or bass. A lot of times it might be a guitar loop, and I fashion chords around it so that it plays around the key of the loop. It's my favorite songwriting tactic for sure. I may or may not include the loop, but I think I do more often than not. Both "Strangers" and "Out of Touch" were written on drums first. I did the drums first on "Strangers" and then got a guitar and wrote the rest. The drums are what wrote it for me, though. Same with "Out of Touch," the drum pattern had this sort of swing to me, so i tuned a guitar to open D and sort of mimicked the swing by playing the open harmonics on the strings. I would have never written a song on the guitar like that without having the drums as they were. I want to start writing on a piano in the future.
In a few places on the record, the guitar tones put me in mind of shoegaze bands. But with your voice mixed up above them it ends up less overwhelming than that and much more direct. Was that a concept for the record going in? Something that emerged as it was being recorded?
I wanted to keep the sound more direct than I did in the past for sure. I don't really listen to any shoegaze stuff anymore and it's not really want I want to do. I overuse a lot of delay and reverb but I tried to check those tendencies a bit more on this record. I wanted to clean things up a bit and have the songs breathe a bit more.
With Lotus Plaza material (or Bradford with Atlas Sound for that matter) how early do you play it for the other Deerhunter guys? Do you want it to be totally finished first, like a present to give them? Or do you let them hear it earlier in the process?
Usually if I like the song i'm working on, I finish it. So, by default, the songs I would bring that I liked enough to show everyone would be finished. I couldn't stop halfway through a song I was really excited about writing and not finish it!
What was your aim in starting and ending the record with still, ambient moments?
I wanted this album to have an introduction instead of going straight into a pop song or something. I also hoped that it would be sort of an identifier of the album. Something you hear and know what you're listening to within the first second of hearing it. The ambient moment at the end is different. It's supposed to be the stark feeling after the character of the song goes to sleep. There's a sense of false peace that slowly gives way to a sort of uneasy feeling. That's what it is for me.
I read somewhere that your parents were sort of Roxy Music obsessives when you were growing up. What’s your favorite record of theirs? Do you think it’s influenced your taste? Which Bryan/Brian do you identify more with: Ferry or Eno?
Avalon is my favorite, and maybe an odd choice. It's the one I was most familiar with growing up and what my mom named her home business after. I knew all the words, or what I thought the words were, from listening to the tape over and over in our crumbling Peugeot. It turned me on to other new music later in life that I had no idea was connected to each other. I just thought it was some weird soft rock stuff my parents loved, but they had some cool taste. I do identify with Eno a bit more musically, though. Getting into the Eno records had much more impact on me musically than the Ferry ones.