feb 11th 2003 - Caravan Serail, Toulouse, FR
interview with Greg (drums) and Chris (guitar) by Barbara H
It was the first seuls les anges ont des ailes party, with shows by A Place for Parks, Call Me Loretta, Needless, Gorge Trio and Deerhoof. The stupid MD recorder failed to record the interview properly all I can hear is bits of sound and pops and static, there was one part of it that I did with E before she went away, so I'd like to thank her. this is what was recorded on the md mixed with what I remember. Greg asked me to transcribe that he was coughing, but unfortunately I can no longer do so. he was sick because of European cigarette smoke.
Chris : What's this other there, "les mystères de l'Ankh" ?
BH: well I think it's a little sandwich hut, besides the pizzeria
C: yeah but why the Ankh ?
BH: no idea, maybe they're Egyptian.
BH: hum, well, could you introduce yourselves ?
C: I'm Chris
Greg: I'm Greg
BH: how did Deerhoof start out ?
G: hum, ah, errrrrrrrr.... *coughs* you know if i told you that you would know how old i am so...
BH: you can lie, it's just an interview
G: hmmm, well let me think about it
BH: Were you influenced by Yoko Ono ?
G: hmmmmmm I don't know, I mean, yeah, I love her
C: I love her too but I don't know about her influence on me...
BH: On Reveille... by the way how do you pronounce it ?
G: Re-ve-lee, that's the name of the waking up in the army you know, with the trumpet...
BH: oh ok. so, on Reveille there are a very few lyrics, is it because you want to use the voice as an instrument or is it because you don't like to write lyrics?
G: well, hmmm, the words are so simple that you end up wondering why she sings them, you know, over and over and the first time it may strike you as being weird, but on the second time you can start to get, you know, "maybe it means something..."
BH: Where does the name Deerhoof come from ?
G: well, hmmm, do you know what Deerhoof means ?
G: it's funny because people either think that we are Vegans or Hunters (laughs) because of the name.
BH: You're going to release Apple O' soon, in which way is it different from Reveille ?
G: well, it would be easier for you to tell I guess... when we were working on Reveille, before Chris was in the band, it was just me and Satomi and John (guitar) and we would record something and say maybe this isn't good and we would add more sounds, keyboards, another guitars, voice some echo or something, we would always invite Chris to come over and "oh yeah we have a new version of the song" and everytime we added more sounds it sounded worse and worse and worse (laughs) then Chris tried to join
BH: tried? (laughs)
G: he succeeded and then we had to record the next record we thought it would be...
BH: with good raw material
G: yeah, yeah and the songs have to sound the same way as when we play them live
BH: so it's more straightforward ?
G: yeah and also on Reveille every song sounds different they were recorded in different places but on this one it sounds more cohesive.
BH: on Reveille there's the Last Trumpeter's Swan which is long but with a lot of different parts, have you ever considered making a one track album ?
G: Satomi would like to do it, she asked us many times but I have trouble understanding structure. it's already difficult for me even if the song is two minutes long : what is the right structure ? The bigger it is the more difficult... I think of myself as a music student, I'm still studying, but I don't think we're ready to write something that long just now.
BH: I interviewed Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart and I asked him when that Xiu Xiu/Deerhoof dance collaboration would happen and he told me to ask you (laughs)
G: you need to ask the label
BH: ok (laughs)
G: and it might not be a dance record
BH: have you heard the new Xiu Xiu album ?
G: yes, have you heard it ? do you like it ?
BH: i was a bit disappointed at first but i find myself loving it just as knife play
G: Have you ever seen them ?
G: to me when the songs have less of a dance beat and the music gets quieter it's more punk because it's more confrontational, because when it's loud it seems like "ok this is confrontational music"
BH: the vocals are always very loud
G: yeah, you can hear the vocals even more on A Promise and there's no way you can relax when you hear them, there's no way you can put it in the background. so, to me it sometimes sounds more tragic, i guess it's different, because... he doesn't hide behind, you know and his voice sounds lonely and also I actually agree with you that the new cd is more difficult to like, it doesn't sounds like hits as much
BH: knife play wasn't filled with hits either (laughs)
G: yeah but it's more extreme. to me he's... it's the same in some ways as yoko ono, she is a hero, both her and jamie stewart, i don't think that they try to be hated but they have an idea and they need to do that idea, and they're willing to be hated maybe they will be hated but they still want to do the idea, they won't change the idea to make people like it
Needless drummer Thibault comes around
G: oh, hi, that was great, yeah, Needless, I liked it
C: yeah it was nice
Thibault : thank you very much, I'm waiting to see you now...
BH: well, i guess that's it... let's go check out Call Me Loretta!