The female vocals have become so central to the band at this point, and I wonder how much of your songwriting for the band is you trying to fulfill a perfect idea of a song, and how much of it is worked out collectively as you’re in the studio?
It’s just what the song demands. There are a bunch of songs on the record where the ladies aren’t singing with me. With Bitte Orca I got very obsessed with harmony and felicity. I love the color of chords, and I love voices singing together. I will never get bored of the voice as an instrument. It’s ancient and terrific at the same time. It’s never going to go out of style, because it’s literally a human being. You can do anything with it. It’s infinite.
Are you writing specifically for personnel changes in the band? Would you have written the same record if say, Angel Deradoorian was participating this time?
Oh, I definitely would have written the same record. By the time she and I sort of started talking about her not being a part of it, all the songs were already written and all the demos had already been made.
When I was first doing Dirty Projectors, I would just put together different versions of the band based on what songs seemed to require. Again, Bitte Orca was the opposite of that, but this was more consistent with that original approach. Amber and Matt and Haley are like family and just the most amazing musicians there are. As a band I feel like we could do anything. We could do any weird shit that I can come up with.
Is there a possibility that Angel might come back for future recordings?
It’s possible, but you know Angel, she moved to LA. I think she wants to be a songwriter. She’s going to figure out what that’s all about, she’s going to write some tunes. I think that she’s probably on her own trip, but who knows what the future holds?
Elias Ronnenfelt has just shown up, 20 minutes into a 30-minute interview. I’ve been chatting pleasantly with the rest of his punk-rock band Iceage in their lightly disheveled Soho hotel room when he traipses in, pink-faced in a light leather jacket...