New York post-folk chamber-pop merchants Grizzly Bear’s second full-length studio album Veckatimest is finally out on Warp records next week, and the band were recently over in Blighty to play Jools Holland and ATP v The Fans. Between these two things TLOBF’s Peter Bloxham met them on a fresh spring afternoon on Shepherd’s Bush common to talk about Veckatimest, touring with Radiohead and Twitter.
All questions answered by Chris Taylor (bass/woodwinds/electronics/vocals) unless otherwise stated.
All tomorrow’s parties this weekend. That’s a cultural experience in England, going to a Butlins in Minehead, really.
Do you guys have anything like that in the US?
There’s nothing where you stay there… I mean 6 flags America has hotels nearby….
Chris Bear: Yeah but nothing out in the country like that.
I’m going to the Breeders one, I’m gonna miss you guys.
It seems that they do so many of those now there’s like every week or something! There’s a Halloween one? The Christmas one. The programming with the bands is crazy awesome.
I’ve been following Ed on twitter.
What’s this Snoop Dogg thing?
We… we really just wanna hang.
Chris Bear: We just really think he’d be cool to hang out with.
Is it because maybe he could do a rap with your band name? Like Grizzle Bizzle something…
Yeah that would work really well… hanging with the bizzle. And all that business.
Chris Bear. Yeah that could work really well.
I just like his phrasing! it’s just like… soothing… in a way.
He got banned from the UK for a while.
Yeah I think there was some shit about drugs or something…
Oh that’s horrible, I just think it’d be cool to hang with him… He seems like a cool… I mean in terms of huge cultural icons, I think that he’s got a good vibe and I think it’s pretty admirable that he just remains like really mellow and stoned, like all the time. Like on the television.
Did he get in contact?
No, that’s the funny thing. Ed’s just kinda endlessly pestering him on twitter every day… just to see.
No reply… I don’t really expect it. He might not even be the one twittering…
Yeah and I mean if Ed is doing it then maybe there are loads of people like… I don’t know actually. I don’t really know how it works, I don’t have twitter!
You need to get his mobile number or something.
So shall we talk a bit about Veckatimest now we’re here?
It’s said that this album was more of a collaborative effort with the band with all you guys throwing in more – would you say maybe as far as Grizzly Bear as a band is, that makes it more of Grizzly Bear record than the last.
I think we were all throwing in but in different ways on Yellow House. It wasn’t by any means a singular effort. We had the same sort of thing with everyone just throwing in just coming up with much more songs y’know, from the ground up. But like… there are about five songs on Yellow House that are the same thing, like a two bar guitar loop, some lyrics (of which there aren’t that many) the band did the same thing but the process wasn’t quite as.. ‘trusting’ you know, with ideas and how we go about it and trusting each other to just do it.
So yeah, Ed was twittering about Paulo Nutini last night.
Oh he did?
Yeah he said something like ‘Known in the UK, new to us.’
So what do you reckon?
Great, actually yeah his stuff was really good! I’d never heard it before and I thought it was awesome and the band was good yeah cool.
Are there any other British bands that you’ve recently become aware of that you like?
Micachu and the shapes.
Chris Bear: Oh yeah, Micachu!
Oh cool yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing them at the Bella Union stage at O2 this year. They have this small stage on the grass with a double decker bus and tables and chairs and things…
Oh that sounds really cool. That sounds really nice.
Chris Bear: I didn’t get to see Micachu play at SXSW but apparently… yeah awesome.
Have you heard the new Noisettes record?
Yeah they’re like huge now. They had this pop breakthrough and they’re all over the side of buses and stuff.
That’s awesome for them, she’s awesome, too. So pretty.
So compared to Yellow House do you think that Veckatimest is going to be more of an accessible pop record? With songs like ‘Two Weeks’ that are more solid chunks of melody…
Yeah I think that it’s kinda clearer, clearer equals more accessible I feel like clearer equals more accessible in general as a rule.
I don’t think it’s bad to say that Yellow House was a grower album..
Oh yeah totally, I’m fine with that. I love that about albums, you know my favourite records are like hear it and you’re like ‘okay… this is cool’ and then there’s one day when the song comes along and you’re like …
…’I love this!’
Right! ‘I fucking love this song!’ There’s like this moment when the music really hits you, when something is just right and you can really deeply into it.
Oh god, so Johnny Greenwood said that you were his favourite band! That must’ve been awesome.
Yeah I mean Ok Computer definitely changed my life. And uh, I mean, I was mostly playing Jazz and it was the first Rock band that I could hear real depth in and that I could really fall in love with. So I mean, yeah there’s really no words, I mean gratitude. Really grateful that we got to play music you know alongside those guys.
What was it like touring with them, what were Radiohead crowds like?
Really good, really good. Very positive. Responsive. Before we got out on tour the it was like ‘Okay, this could just be like y’know…. Nobody cares about us, we should really prepare for a crowd that just doesn’t get us at all.’ and I was like yeah I guess you’re right because I was just so excited about playing shows with them and then I thought ‘Oh shit, maybe everyone will hate it’. We went out on the first show and the last thing Ed said to me before we went on stage was like ‘people might not clap, okay just remember that.’
Hahaha! What kind of thing is that to say?
No, it made me feel good! Cause I was thinking fine. That’s fine. I’m cool with that, I just had to be reminded not to expect rapturous applause and… yeah all that. But people were really were responsive so it was like ‘woah… cool!’
It’s a good match actually because you put the two bands together and they’re quite different but I think there’s a definite crossover with fans.
Chris Bear: I feel like they out of any other band have the most open-minded diverse audience. I’m sure there’s probably some people who have like one of their albums but I feel like people who are fans of Radiohead have seen them go through albums like The Bends and all the way through to the new albums and have crossed over so many different styles…
I think they introduced so many people to electronic sounds and electronica.
Yeah in a way that was sort of when I first started even imagining that was one of the first ways or times I’d head electronic music intergrated into rock music in a really seamless way. It felt like a completely new fresh thing and you know it wasn’t forced.
Chris Taylor: It’s crazy to think about people who’ve just like for example heard Radiohead in their dorms… just the single from the album and are like ‘oh I never really checked them out before’ that’s so wild to me because they’ve been such a mainstay for me for so long.
Yeah it’s almost weird to hear things like ‘Pyramid Song’ on the radio.
Oh wow. That’s an awesome song.
Yeahh.. I know. It’s crazy that they’ve been around for song and managed to stay current so well too.
Yeah yeah, totally.
What other UK bands, like mainstay UK bands are there as influences for you?
Well y’know there’s The Beatles. Actually recently there’s apparently this divide, like, you like the Rolling Stones or you like The Beatles… You’ve heard this?
And I was like definitely like Beatles very much and for a long time but I’ve kinda come around and I really dig the stones stuff a lot now. I am a very late bloomer.
Yeah I haven’t got on board with them yet…
Chris Bear: It’s just a different thing. [to the Beatles]
Yeah, I think I wrote off them initially because they sounded like they were trying to do something bluesy and y’know they’re from a totally different culture but it was really just them paying tribute to what they loved and y’know they really did love it. There’s this early photobook that my roommate has he’s a big stones fan and (…uh not really into the Beatles.)
Anyway it’s of their tour with Bo Diddly, they brought him over here to England. And there’s all these incredible photographs. They really did have a genuine respect and appreciation they weren’t posing. Unfairly I wrote them off as that at first.
Finally, any bands from your neck of the woods that we should know about?
Oh, we already love Beach House!
Dirty Projectors! The new album is really good.
Chris Taylor: The band I’m working on now might get love here if it goes alright, I’ve just finished mixing and producing the record they’re called the Morning Benders. They could do okay on this island.
What kind of stuff is it?
Uhhhh.. It’s just good!
I mean it’s like rock but it’s got lots of awesome sort of arrangements and it’s pretty deep, pulling from a lot of classic rock sources.
You heard it here first!
Haha, yeah… Who else?
Oh Arthur Russell? His catalogue is incredible. You should really check out Arthur Russell.