Pedro the Lion
may 2004 - e-mail interview with David Bazan by SEB WOOd
Hi, you did a recording session last November or December. What was the line-up ??
Recording the album: The line up was primarily myself and Tim Walsh and in December our friend James McAlister came out, helped out. Actually he came out the first of January and helped us record some of the stuff live. I wanted to record as much of the album as live as possible. At least the basics. We couldn't do it with two. And it worked out really good.
There's a really detailed account of who played what at AchillesHeel.net.
For me it was an interesting process. I really enjoyed it. We were really deliberated at not talking the process too seriously. We worked really really hard and were diligent. but tried not to obsess over any one piece of the puzzle . And in making it that way that were weren't fatigued at all at the end of the process.
Why have you titled the album Achilles heal and when will it be released ??
We had about 5 or 6 names on our short list and none of them were that exciting to us, and I was racking my brain one day, and I thought of that and I called Tim and he liked it and after the fact we realized all the things that we did like -- Pedro the Lion's Achilles Heel. There was just something nice about the way that it worked. Released May 25.
At the beginning you’ve been classified in the slowcore drawer and compared with bands such as Codeine while now Pedro the Lion seems to move more and more towards indie-rock, playing catchy songs. For example in Control, songs like ‘rapture’ or ‘indian summer’ could make one think of Sebadoh. Are the new songs close to these ones or on the contrary do they sound like old ones ??
The sound is more like "Hard To Find A Friend" as far as the tone and mood, with more of the beat of" Control."
I’ve heard that you sing on remixed tracks of Six Parts Seven. Did you participate to the music or have you just recorded vocals on top of the music ??
The SP7 mailed me all of the tracks for one song. So each of the individual drum, bass, guitar tracks. And I just sort of sifted through all of that and sampled a few guitar licks and then just sort of built a new piece around those. So I did sing on it, but I also manipulated the music pretty heavily as well.
When I last saw you live (june 2003) you played a great song called ‘Backwards Nation’. Which compilation features this song ?? Did you do it specially for the compilation ??
FYI - correct spelling : Backwoods Nation.
oh! I thought you said ‘Backwards’…
I didn't actually write that song for the comp but when they asked, that was one I had lying around and so I turned it in. But I had written it not too long after Sept 11, I suppose.
‘Backwoods Nation’ deals with the current American government and its desire for hegemony which can be epitomized by the Iraq war, right ??
Not originally. It was actually the war in Afghanistan was the original context of it, although it still did work later when we went to war with Iraq. But I suppose in general, it had less to do with the country deciding to go to war than with the climate of aggression as we drove around the country in the days following 9-11. Came out of bathroom graffiti, which alone was entertaining and a little bit frightening.
Do you apprehend Iraq as a new Vietnam ??
I don't know. No. As misguided as Viet Nam was, I think it was genuinely thought of as a piece of the cold war. That we were really genuinely concerned about the spread of communism. And I'm not going to make any value statements about that. But I think Iraq has a lot more in common with colonialism and it's more of a grudge war on some levels, it seems to me. And an opportunity for US companies to make fat dough.
Has your daily life been affected by the political options taken by Bush and his administration?
We buy a lot of plywood for a construction project and the cost has tripled. As far as we can tell that has a lot to do with the demand that has increased because of all the projects in Iraq and the US companies who are getting those, I am told. If someone showed me some reasonable proof that that is not the reason why, I would consider that seriously.
My cousin was in Afghanistan for a while, and now he's home. A friend's brother is in Iraq. And we've met a lot of people on tour who have just gotten back or are getting ready to go.
He got back safe. He wasn't very directly threatened. He wasn't out of harms way completely, but luckily he had more administrative tasks.
What did you feel about the 09/11 events ?? Do You feel the same way today ??
I don't think that my honest answer in this case would be appropriate in this case so I'm not going to answer.
What do you think about ‘The Big One’ by Michael Moore, a film which deals with companies that make profit and lay off workers at the same time ?? Does this kind of attitude improve your feeling of living in a ‘backwoods nation’ ??
I liked the Big One. I think more than I liked Bowling. I saw it a long time ago. There was something about Bowling that struck me as manipulative and lazy and I don't know if I saw the Big One today if I would feel the same way. I agree with MM's politics in general. Or what I know from his books and films. And what I know from his film certainly is at the root of what is wrong in the US. Men who are willing to accept massive raises in the face of people in their company loosing their jobs is unethical and unscrupulous. So in reference to Backwoods Nation, I don't think that song is really specific to those things and I don't think its successful as to be a blanket of America either bad -- and there is good, so I don't think it really related to that song for me.
Was you ever bit by a dead bee ??
I stepped on a dead bee at the lake when I was at the lake and it hurt like hell.
What freaks the hell out of you ??
Most of the fears that I have are pretty irrational. Dark buildings that I don't know -- I get spooked that there is someone there. Or in a swimming pool that's dark, when I was a kid I would think there was a shark there and I would swim really fast to the other side and quickly jump out all out of breathe.
What’s your favourite chord ??
On the guitar I really like a C chord with a G in the bass. It's veryBeatle-y and has a great full sound to it.
How do you look when you wear a tuxedo ??
It's not very convincing actually.
What is your favourite pick-up line ??
One of my favorites that I've heard is "The word of the day is "legs" Let's go back to my place and spread the word."
Where is the evil empire now ??
What is your favourite curse word ??
I do like fuck.
Where is the party ??
In your mouth?
Are you a great spiritual healer, if so who have you healed ??
What question would you ask in this list of stupid questions ??
The pick up line question was pretty good.
/june 15th 2004/