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The L Magazine: I’ve seen you say in other interviews, and listening to the songs this rings true, that Swing Lo Magellan is a more… straightforward record? Simple doesn’t seem like the right word. Direct?
Dave Longstreth: A little bit more open-hearted. A little less wrapped up in being obtuse. I think direct is probably the word. Because “vulnerable” implies sadsack kind of shit—it’s more personal, it’s more direct. I think it’s as much about ideas, but I think the singing is better and the songwriting is better, so it just does what music does, which is make you feel something.
Were you thinking of the last couple records as conceptual, formal experiments?
I started writing songs when I was 14, and I started calling things that I wrote Dirty Projectors in my first year of college. At first you are really just doing it for yourself, out of weird curiosity or need. This is definitely the kind of stuff you say in hindsight, as opposed to the way I was thinking of it at the time, but, when it started getting a little bit of an audience, maybe the impulse was to make things a little bit more armored. It’s hard to share a lot of yourself. The part that’s easiest to share is ideas, rather than feelings. The last few records have been pretty organized around a conceptual theme or a story; this time it’s about songs.