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Just from the lyrics of this one, I was getting a lot of big, universal topics like life, death, procreation. Were you trying to boil it down to the big issues?
I think that happened just because I wrote so many damn songs and the ones that were about eating Vietnamese food in a strip mall on the edge of town really didn’t resonate as deeply as the ones thinking about death or fucking, or whatever.
“Dance For You” struck me as a classic pop thing, dancing as a metaphor for life. Reminded me of T-Rex, “Cosmic Dancer” and all that.
Yeah, man, love that T Rex shit. I don’t know, I just kind of wrote that song. I guess I was a little bit embarrassed. I think I spent a day trying to think of what else it could be than “Dance for You.” But that’s just what it is.
When it came out, you talked conspicuously about Bitte Orca being an album written for the full band, or for that incarnation of the band. Are you still writing in that mode, or is Swing Lo Magellan a bit different in the way that you did it?
This was a bit different. Bitte Orca definitely felt like just making a little momento of the touring band that we had become. Between 2006 and 2008, we were just on tour constantly. That record is making a cartoon of that band, taking the personalities that we are and represent on stage and just drawing a thick, black magic marker line around them. So Bryan’s drumming just became the heaviest, straightest, most flat-footed, precise thing. Amber’s voice is treated as some super righteous diva. That album is really about Dirty Projectors on stage.
This album comes from the songs. It comes from the questions that the songs asked. In a way it’s sort of like a new beginning. It comes from the music rather than the stage persona. What we’ve been doing for the past couple weeks is trying to figure out how to play these songs live.