interview with Carlos (bass) and Daniel (guitar)
aug. 9th 2002 - La Route du Rock Festival, St Malo, FR
by Barbara H
context info : Departure Lounge is playing acoustic for a radio show somewhere in the room
Barbara H : could you introduce yourselves for the tape ?
Daniel : yes. Daniel.
Carlos : wooohooooooo! (laughs)
BH : who are you ?
C : Carlos
D : Carlito !
BH : so, I heard you shot videos, what do they look like ?
D : well we haven't really seen them yet, we just kinda shot them and we did a lot of these post-production things. I know this song it's funny, cause I have the record, it's the Departure Lounge but it's really acoustic, to me it's pretty weird. It's good, it's a good song...
BH : on the video is it you playing or...
D : a little bit of this, it's cut and...
C : I'm sure there's no live stuff...
D : no, on PDA there is, there's like a cut concert footage
C : oh yeah yeah yeah...
D : but we haven't really seen them yet but we did NYC out in California, we went to the Mojave desert and we shot... we shot in the desert basically and we shot all around LA as well and we did a little more in Toronto last week
C : in the Mojave desert we were amongst abandoned...
D : planes
C : abandoned planes, just, 747s sitting there. it's very spooky
D: among other places we were in LA, in a garage, it's hard to tell all because there's this technology, night vision technology on the camera, it's very cool, it kinda looks like surveillance. do we speak too quick or is that cool ?
BH : no, it's ok
BH : what about the recording of the album ? it was a very short period of time...
D : it was a short period of time recording over a long period of time, you know, we didn't give ourselves so much time in the studio we worked against the clock that ultimately, at the end of two weeks of like recording... we did about a week of recording maybe a little more, with the vocal things here and there as well, then about two weeks of mixing and then at the end in December we decided that there were a couple of songs that we wanted to remix but the engineer we worked with was booked up until march so we had to decide if we put the record out with what we had or just wait 'til march and be patient is hard to do when you're really anxious so we went back in march and spent two more days and we remixed the songs, but it was a very worthwhile waiting, it sounds a lot more like us
BH: did the short period of time helped the album sound rawer ?
D : I think so
C : there's a claustrophobia about it, like a desperation...
D : that's an anxiety that's put on, it's good when you're not too comfortable. I think that Paul would prefer a lot more time in the studio... I think it's good when you're back against the wall, we worked like 16 hour days, we spent two days in the room, Carlos and myself were just in the studio doing guitar overdubs, you know we became pretty demented, really loopy, but it was a lot of fun, automatically this is good, you don't overthink it you keep the goal simple, try to make it sound like how you play and that's it, that's all we wanted to do
BH : did you record songs that are not on the album ?
C : yep, about three or four and we're probably gonna use them as b-sides, one has already been used for the ep
D : and then there's...
C : Precipitate
D : and then there's a version of this song called... it doesn't have a title, it's not Untitled, it's another untitled song. we call it Cubed
C : do you know the song Mascara ? it's that, but a longer version
D : and it's not going to be called Mascara. I think it's a beautiful song but it's a delicate song and it was a really hard decision to make but we decided that it was not quite right in the recording that we had at the time but it will be definitely released, not this version but the song will be released
BH : so you're going to be back soon after this show ?
C : well we're going to do a Black Session (like a French Peel Session) in the end of our tour and then, we'll be back in October. do you know if we're doing more than one week in Paris ?
D : we'll do like two weeks in France, we'll do like six weeks in Europe
BH: I heard about your secret gig in New York, why did you choose "Cuddleworthy" as a stage name ?
C : oh that was one day that we were playing a show in Philadelphia and we were driving back to New York...
D : at four or five am in the morning
C : and it was really late, we were all really tired, Eric our keyboardist fell asleep in the car and started like smuggling with Paul and then later on we were joking about it and I said like, you know, Eric thought that Paul was really cuddle-worthy.
BH : ok
C & D : and then we were like "THAT'S IT! THAT'S THE NAME!" (laughs)
BH : maybe Paul could answer this better but I was wondering if the characters in the songs were real or just imaginary...
C : they're imaginary
BH : What were your daily jobs before you were rock stars ? do you still have them ?
C : I think he kinda has
D: me ?
C : sort of
D : I do but it's not really a job, like a real job, this is a job I like doing, it's record company stuff but I don't... I mean, it's a balance, it's more like something I like to do...
BH : is it difficult to combine both activities ?
D: it's hard sometimes...
C : he's a workaholic
BH : what are your favourite records right now ?
(Carlos makes a desperate face)
D : you can say like singles or a song you've been spinning a lot like, from old records
C : yeah I know but it's just been for a really long time the same shit I haven't really been able to get new music but I guess the last new thing I was excited about... I mean, I'm a big Doves fan, but that's not anything that I would spin, cause you know I'm a DJ in New York... I guess I like the new Zoot Woman song...
BH: Living in a Magazine ?
C : yes, I think it's really really good...
BH: what about you ?
D : I think we're all fans of this band named the Warlocks
BH : what ? warlocks ?
D : yeah they're like psychedelic...
C: they have two drummers...
D : they're really good, they're like, a little bit of the Velvet Underground, a little bit of the Jesus and Mary Chain...
C : Pink Floyd
D : with very pretty vocals...
C : where are they from ?
D : from LA I think, I don't know...
C: very very laid back music
D : yeah really nice and really beautiful... Sam played the new Spoon album, I quite like that, quite a bit, I like the Royksopp record, I like the Múm record a lot, I really like Múm right now
C : the new Wire ep, I don't know if you heard it
D : no, no
C : I think Sam played it in the van one day, I thought it was really good
BH : How does it feel to be back here, do you have good memories from last year ?
D : yeah it was a lot of fun but I remember it, like, being, sunny (laughs)
C : I know! it wasn't raining last year
D: it was really nice
BH : it's horrible
D : sometimes it's nice, you get fond of those memories, when you recall them...
C : that's true, that's true
D : do you think it's going to turn people away ?
BH : I don't know...
D : we'll see, it's not why we're here (laughs)
BH: so, what are you hoping for right now ? the album is almost released...
D: we hope it gets released, I mean it's so close! (laughs) we did two videos, we did interviews, the press tour... (hysterical laughs)
C : I can almost taste it!
D : I think we're just enjoying ourselves and hoping that we'll continue enjoying ourselves, have some time to write more music
BH : have you started thinking about what you're going to do next ?
D : you don't think about things as much as you write them, we have about three songs and then there's some on the back burner and personally I have been writing a lot lately too, so I think we're feeling pretty good about where we're at
C: but we're not intending to do a repeat, you know a part two of Turn on the Bright Lights, absolutely not.
D : we don't know, we don't think about how it's going to sound, we can't say "we're going to write a song that sounds like bla bla bla" we just don't work that way, but there are some bands who seem to be able to do that, it's not the kind of band we are, it's more like, subconscious connection and that's like, the best kind so...
BH (to Daniel) : is it always you who brings the base of the songs ?
C : Most of the time Daniel presents something I like to call a motif, which is basically either one part or two parts, usually some more than two and from there the song kind of just becomes something else from the input that other people bring to it, that's when Daniel steps back and says here's your thing, but basically it starts with him. and we're gonna do something about that. (laughs)
C : there are gonna be some changes here alright !
D: good luck !
C: I'm sick of this status quo !
D : you know sometime I bring something very simple like NYC which is mostly like a chord progression or something that is more like a verse, a pre-chorus and a chorus...
C: NYC is a very good example, if you look at it from start to end, it's just two chords and the things that we add to the songs, the progression that we add to the song isn't like adding new music, it was just sort of adding new layers or new feelings or new dynamics
BH: very organic
C: that's what we're trying to do all the time
D : we have two kinds of songs sometimes I feel that that's one song, which, really, is a challenge from the beginning, and you know it's gonna be a challenge, you're not doing "obviously we got four bars of what looks like a verse so it's really obvious there should be a chorus now" it's like, no, we're not going to do a chorus at all, we're going to keep layering and make it change when it has to, that's the hard thing to do it really takes four people to make it... sometimes in songs like with Obstacle 1 I came with a verse and then with a chorus and stuff like that and we put it together and the bridge came out with us just basically jamming...
BH : do you get tired of the old songs ? you've been playing them for years now...
D : I don't, I think they're taking a new light. I feel like, we've put out a record, like a document, that's what's important now we're moving on, the excitement comes from when we're writing new songs...
C : also there's a level to these songs that we haven't really experienced, the album hasn't come out, most people don't even know these songs right now, most of the people who'll see us live haven't heard these songs. I think there's gonna be a sort of revival that we're going to feel about playing our songs in front of people who know them
D : also when we've played we haven't experienced like, seven days, seven shows in a row, we will, like, next week but right now we haven't reached this level...
BH : your press officer is making funny faces at me I think I should let you go now, it was very nice meeting you, good luck for tonight!
D&C : thank you
*while filling up the forms*
Carlos : I'm sorry, how can you be bit by a dead bee ?
Barbara H : dead bees have their sting sticking out, so they can bit you if you walk on them
Daniel : really ? can they ?
BH : yeah
D : Carlos, what's my favourite chord ?
C : F major
D : the F major's not that one, but, uh, on the beginning of Stella...
C : it's an F major
C : how do you spell "bella fleck and the flecktones" ? is it "bella" or bell-a fleck" ?
D : it's "bella fleck and the flecktones"
C : "bella" ?
D : and the flecktones
C : no it's "bella fleck and the flecktones"
D : you know there's two words "bella fleck" and the flecktones... is it two words or one word ?
C : I'll take my chances
D : good luck
C : ... actually, you know what ? I'm going to choose someone else
D : you're making me think here
C : yeah, that's a tough one
D : which one's a tough one ?
C : this one's a tough one. DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU!
D : you think that 2002 is when America has gone wrong ? It's such a wide open question I wouldn't answer it
D : so, you did an interview with Vincent Gallo, right ?
BH : well, it was just a few questions...
D : with e-mail ?
BH : yeah
D : did he really say that he knew us ?
BH : yes
D : that's cool
D : what freaks the hell out of you ?
C : you
D (after reading Carlos' answer) : I was going to write that too...
C : "me" ? you want to use "me" too ?
D: I'll say "Carlos"
C: there was only one dorky response here, and that's this one.
D : ?
C : the chord...
D : this question is like "which one from these questions would you ask" right ?
BH : no, more like "one more question"
D : ok, i'm sorry
/pic by Anton Granik, taken on may 28th 2002 at the Bowery Ballroom/