Ep. #86: Destroyer

Destroyer is the music-making moniker of Dan Bejar, a very gifted lyricist and musician who originally hails from Vancouver, British Columbia. He has been creating an idiosyncratic kind of pop music as Destroyer for almost 20 years and can also claim membership in bands like the New Pornographers, Swan Lake, and Hello, Blue Roses among others. His latest work as Destroyer includes the lovely 2013 EP Five Spanish Songs and his brilliant ninth LP, Kaputt, which were jointly released by Merge Records and Dead Oceans in 2011. On Friday April 11, Destroyer plays a solo set at the Dublin Street United Church in Guelph, Ontario as part of Kazoo! Fest. Here, Dan and I discuss why, despite living in Spain for a spell, Vancouver remains his home, that year he played SappyFest and first spent time in New Brunswick, why playing small towns is refreshing, how Destroyer has evolved into a ‘heavy touring machine,’ Will Oldham’s interesting tour routes and how Dan envisions a touring pattern of his own, how his solo performance process and execution has evolved, how he and his family moved around a lot when he was growing up and whether or not that impacted his ‘cosmopolitan’ outlook, how bands in the Vancouver scene like Superconductor and Blaise Pascal first drew him to appreciate and play music, what he studied in school and why he dropped out, how Carl Newman’s early work resonated with him, why Vancouver in 1992 was the best irrespective of what else was happening in the Pacific Northwest, Dan’s uncertainty about his band leading skills and his lack of any real aesthetic, the reception to Kaputt compared to previous records he’s made, an update on the Destroyer recording sessions he’s beginning this week and also his two ‘unfamiliar’ contributions to a New Pornographers album due later this year, his interest in enigmas and mysteries, what his ‘words first’ approach to songwriting might say about him, his reservation about engaging with music by younger artists, our mutual adoration of Bill Callahan’s Dream River and Bill Callahan generally, the somewhat unappreciated humour in Destroyer’s songs and how Dan amuses himself as a writer, how this podcast is going to change everything, what material his solo shows have been consisting of as of late, whether or not he might learn to play a Pavement song, my son’s insistence that Bob Dylan and Jim Guthrie wrote a song together called “Colourbook Face,” the Destroyer song “Certain Things You Ought to Know,” and nothing more.

Related links: mergerecords.com/destroyer kazookazoo.ca vishkhanna.com

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