Dan Bejar of Destroyer – The Collapse Board Interview
In saying that, I would still describe the album as highly lyrical. If you take someone like Dylan, when he wanted it to be more about the music oftentimes his lyrics went right down the tubes and he just sang nonsensical, awful things, and the only thing you had to hang on to was the music. I don’t think that’s the case with Kaputt.
I think at this point I can trust myself more as a singer and play more to the role of singer than writer, maybe for the first time, or singer as opposed to ranter. Still, to sing something it has to fit into my mouth which isn’t easy. I have to feel really comfortable and I have feel like there’s some sort of conviction to what is being said. Which is why Destroyer has always struggled with our Stones covers. I love the Stones so much but when I try to do a song and I have the lyrics in front of me I can’t do it.
Yeah, I can’t say I’ve ever tackled the Stones at karaoke.
Maybe disco Stones. It’s tough, but I’ll keep trying.
I look forward to that Stones cover making the set.
One of these days we’ll get it right.
Whenever you play live you don’t really interact with the crowd. Is that an un-comfortableness or do you just think “I really don’t have anything to add”?
I have nothing to say to anybody. I’ve been to a couple of shows in my life when people interact with the audience and what they say adds to the show but most of the time it’s really superfluous and breaks you from the music. I’d much rather have a minute of awkward silence than me asking people how their night went. Awkward silence has way more to do with the music we’re playing than casual banter, which has nothing to do with what Destroyer are about.
I read an interview not too long ago and you said you hadn’t written anything since Kaputt. You sounded a little despondent and you were talking about writing plays instead of making music. Is that still on your mind?
I feel like there’s a certain style of writing that I really like that I’ve tried exercising in music in the past that I can’t imagine trying in the future. Kaputt is kind of a signpost for that. A song like ‘Bay Of Pigs’ is probably the last of a certain type of Destroyer song. The other ones are more in keeping with what the future might hold. I’ve written a couple of songs since then but I definitely write a lot slower than I used to. I’ve always thought, probably wrongly, that it’s a style of writing that could be applied to other art forms. That being said, I’ve never tried. I’m still on word one.
I think with music, if you have more of a lyrical approach, I could imagine someone thinking, “Am I still going to be doing this at 60 as a functioning musician?”
Yeah, am I going to be hanging out backstage at the 400 Bar when I’m 60 years old? Maybe I should go and write a play instead.
Moving into plays or novels feels like a more respectable profession.
Generally people who’ve tried to make the transition fail miserably and are a complete embarrassment so it’s complete hubris for me to think I would not suffer that same fate but it’s fun to think about. It is something that I’m genuinely interested in even if it’s from a wide-eyed, inexperienced perspective. I don’t really know what goes into any other art form. That being said I’ve been writing longer than I’ve been making music so I can at least fool myself into thinking that at some point I could manage that. I think I’m really into music these days. Lyrics always come very naturally but what excites me these days are the one-off collaborations that I’ve done. Not necessarily anything on Kaputt, but the ambient music artists I’ve collaborated with. Weird shit like that is going to add years to my life if I can continue to do it. I need some clean breaks from pop music or else I’ll go mental. It took so long to make the record and then after that to figure out how to play it live. That was a bit of an undertaking. Then there’s a bunch of touring. So any idea of what the future might hold, I haven’t given it a second thought because I have to get on a plane in a couple of days and I just want to get to the airport.