Thursday, April 25, 2019

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Because we have been waiting for you for a decade



Hands In Everybody’s Business

Deerhoof’s new album, The Runners Four, has just hit the record shop and it’s already a hit. Unique and full of character, it stands out from every other Deerhoof album just like every other Deerhoof album. Focusing on collaboration with each other and with the public (check out the website for an album of unsolicited Deerhoof covers and individual instrument and vocal tracks from the new song, “Rrrrrrright” just for you to remix), they encourage you to “get active with the Hoof.”

JOHN DIETRICH: For the new album it was the most collaborative it’s ever been. Everybody worked out ideas independently first and then brought them in and… Everybody got their hands into everyone’s business as much as possible. That was kind of the idea of the album. We wanted to see how far we could take that aspect of things. So a given song you might have a melody written by one person, another person wrote the lyrics, still another person wrote most of the music, and another person came up with the drum beat—not necessarily the drummer.

ONLY: So you’re all multi-talented or ambidexterous or something?

J: (Laughs) I don’t know about that. This was the first time that I had done much lyric writing. I’ve written a few words here and there for this band, but not much. That was a real challenge for me. I’m interested in lyrics that don’t lend themselves to immediate and obvious interpretation…that can be read in a lot of different ways, depending on your state of mind or who you are.

ONLY: I always get a sense of something fantastical or something cosmic from your music. Does that exist in the band’s consciousness or is it me finishing the sentence for you…

J: I think it’s great that you get that from it. In a way that’s probably what everyone’s imagination’s like. You know? If you could hear someone’s imagination or see what they dream. I think it’s probably all fantastical to a certain degree. But it’s equally tied down to real life and to peoples’ experience.

ONLY: It seems like spontaneity and randomness are a pretty big part of the music. Does that become difficult to replicate after playing the songs a bunch of times?

J: Yes. For sure. I would say it’s an extremely important thing for us. It’s a continuous challenge. It’s like a 12-step program or something. You can’t see anything except for what’s right in front of you. You can’t see how you’re going to be spontaneous with this material. Then you’ll have a minor breakthrough. Say it’s three days into recording and it’s like “Oh, Ok. I think we hit on something.” Four months later you’re on tour and you’re at an impasse again. You’re trying to figure out “What was it that I was doing?” The truth is that what you were doing is not something that you can apply now because it’s four months later and you’re a different person and the world’s a different place and you’re in a different city and your band members are different people and the song might even have a different arrangement. You’re continually trying to look at things with fresh eyes. Which, you know, can be tricky.

Deerhoof play Friday, October 27, 2005 at Richard’s on Richards.

Deerhoof MP3 page

Correction 24 Oct 2005 All references to Chris were deleted and replaced with John (John Dietrich) after Only received this email: Hi, Sara. This is John from Deerhoof, and I was just writing to let you know that you got Chris and I mixed up in your article—you interviewed me, not him! I just wanted to let you all know in case it’s possible to change the online version (I’m not sure if there is a print version). In any case, it’s really not a big deal. It was interesting, actually, reading it as if somebody else said it, considering I couldn’t remember exactly what I said. Hope you’re well, and I hope to meet you soon! Thanks again for the interview. I think the article turned out nice. John

  1. sarah c

    wow. i’m such a fuck up. thank you john, for being so nice about it. normally when i do stuff like this people are “infuriated by my lack of fact checking”.
    your show was completely perfect.
    xoxoxoxox - Nov 12, 08:07 pm

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