Page 4 of 7
Where did “Gun Has No Trigger” come in the course of writing the album?
I gave myself a deadline to stop writing on Amber Coffman’s birthday last year. Then I found this one little melody that I’d written at some point, and it was like, “Fuck, I’ve got to make a demo of this.” And that was “Gun Has No Trigger.” So it had to be one of the last two or three songs that I wrote for this one.
I doubt it’s what you had in mind, but that one sort of strikes me as if Dirty Projectors ever wrote a James Bond theme.
People have said that. It mystifies me a little bit.
I think the interesting thing about it, is that central image of “the gun has no trigger.” Despite the implied danger in the lyrics and the way that it sounds, it’s thwarted. The gun has no way to go off. What were you going for lyrically?
It’s so hokey, but I’ve been thinking so much about protest music. One of the photogenic aspects of the 60s is that there was shit going on in the world and you felt like the artists and the musicians of the day could respond to it in very direct, powerful, effective ways. I don’t know why at this moment, when by some accounts things are more fucked up than the problems of the 60s, we as a culture seem very uninterested in responding to it in our cultural products.
Do you have any theories?
I don’t know, same as everybody else. In such a globally connected world, the prospect of really drawing our behavior into alignment with our deepest beliefs or how we really believe things should be, it feels very impossible, short of, basically, you know, just killing yourself. (Laughs) I guess the song is sort of about that conundrum, making dissent that’s not either totally hypocritical or swept up into the machine that you are trying to critique. The gun has no trigger.