Tag Archives: the New Pornographers

Ep. #215: 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 is a startlingly great new album called Poison Season, it’s out now via Merge Records, and has prompted him to tour the world over the next few months, including Canadian stops in Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall on September 30 and in Montreal at Theatre Fairmount on October 1. Here, Dan and I discuss sitting in a park in Vancouver, gearing up for tour, inspiration from the road, fiction and film, plays and theatricality, American songwriting and show tunes, whether pop or rock music is inherently theatrical, banal music, writing and performing, Bruce Springsteen and/or Meat Loaf, things Springsteen likes, Joseph Shabason’s sexy sax, Dan’s history with musicals, surreal Indian movies, how Poison Season is a reflection of his true interests, Brecht’s Threepenny Opera and “Mack the Knife,” “I Loves You Porgy,” singing other people’s other songs, Five Spanish Songs, the song “Forces From Above,” salsa disco, bringing the string sections to life, word countometre and sparse vocals, Poison Season is a weird, emotional roller coaster, Times Square as a place and a muse, a second look, evolution and iterations, Taxi Driver, thinking about New York, “Times Square” as an anchor notion on Poison Season, the song “Bangkok,” and scene.

Related links: mergerecords.com/destroyer vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #159: Carl Newman of the New Pornographers

Carl Newman is a well-respected and gifted pop songwriter who originally hails from Vancouver, British Columbia. Over the past 20 years, he has spearheaded bands like Superconductor and Zumpano, and released highly acclaimed solo records under the name A.C. Newman. While long-respected by peers and critics for his sense of melody and powerful hooks, Newman’s work reached a wider audience at the turn of the century with the emergence of the New Pornographers, a gang of singers and songwriters featuring Neko Case, Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, and Newman among others. Each of the band’s six albums has been called a classic by someone who could spot such things, including their latest LP, 2014’s Brill Bruisers, which, as their highest charting album to date, is their most impactful release since their 2000 debut, Mass Romantic. The New Pornographers are touring behind Brill Bruisers, including stops at London’s Music Hall on Feb. 6 and Guelph’s Hillside Inside festival on Feb. 7. Here, Carl and I talk about when your family gets sick, the measles and Disneyland and the anti-vaccination movement, freedom, science versus pseudoscience, happiness after sadness, preparing for and then having a kid, defining rock and ‘power-pop,’ Big Star and Cheap Trick, staying in the game versus retirement, false cheer, the Neko Case harmony lead on “Champions of Red Wine,” what Dan Bejar’s talking about and how he deals, talking about each other’s songs, being normal and wanting to do nothing, connecting with comedians, the older brother with the music, becoming a performer, working with Sloan and murderecords, how Vancouver music was treated by the rest of Canada 20 years ago, the rapid ascent of the New Pornographers, the future, the song “Hi-Rise,” and then I got my marching orders.

Related links: thenewpornographers.com vishkhanna.com

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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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