The Fiery Furnaces interview
Esta semana tocan en Barcelona y Madrid The Fiery Furnaces, un peculiar dúo rock a quien entrevisté recientemente para el Metrópoli (aquí el texto, publicado este viernes). A continuación, la transcripción completa de la entrevista hecha con Matt Friedberger a través del email.
Is it going to be the first time you play live in Spain?
Yes indeed it is. And what an honor we consider it to be, my friend. A long-cherished dream, now come true. Spain is often a late-night nation, is it not? The late-night nation par excellence, perhaps. Certainly, all rock bands have an obligation to try their luck before such audiences.
I've read you're doing this tour in a guitar-bass-drum format, but... are you still playing all your songs in a row, like a medley thing?
Well, we often play songs-in-a-row, I might call them. You see, we are so excited to go about our rock-n-roll business that I often find it best to train my comrades to play without a break. The transitions thereby become as exciting as the tunes. That is the notion, at any rate.
Jason Loewenstein is playing with you. What are his main contributions to the band? Do you like Sebadoh?
Jason--or Jake as he prefers--plays the bass, and has been the engineer on our last two albums. As his name indicates, he is a true Lion of Rock. --It is not for me to say, but Sebadoh is no doubt a band of much importance.
Aren't you seduced by the idea of writing a straight pop song, a proper hit?
"Straight"? "Proper"? Those two words do not sound very Rock-n-roll, comrade. The ethos demands we attempt, instead and in direct contradiction, a Stoned, Phony "Miss", as we say in English, as opposed to a Straight, Proper, Hit. Does it not?
How do people usually react in your shows?
Very often they cheer, my friend.
Have you ever had the sensation that maybe you're too intelligent for your audience and it's quite difficult for them to get everything that's in your music?
I imagine--or rather, I insist--that our audience, such as it is, discerning and demanding, such as it must be, requires of us we give them more than they can use, more than they can handle. In a word: they require more than they require. This paradoxical requirement finds itself cast as the inappropriate analogue. The inappropriate analog to the myth-ridden land of undesired luxury and spectacular waste which is the landscape of our tunes. The land in which they live, qua fans of the Fiery Furnaces. We are Americanists, in other words. --This answer is a demonstration of your question, so to speak.
Is it true the lyrics in your last album are taken from ramdon lyrics and titles of old folk songs?
The song "Take me round again" is about singing songs--again. Some old songs, again. So the lyrics are made of of old song and show titles, as is natural to the subject, then. The songs are not folk songs, however, they are commercial songs.
Do you like to take your music as a kind of game? Sometimes it seems closer to concept art than to pop music.
Well, "concept art" is ultimately a 'pop' concept, in my opinion. --Yes, rock music is a deadly, desperate game. But more about that another time.
Tell me about the Silent Album and the "Derocmacy in America" box set. When do you expect to release them? Are they serious, real projects, or is it all a big kind of joke?
Serious and real. Read all about it. The Silent Record will be a very large book, containing songs and pieces in many different styles of notation and description. Upon its release we will organize shows at which fans--and not us--play, and no doubt improve, the various compositions. And how pleased we would be to have various Iberian shows to this purpose! --The "Democ-Rock" record is the other side of the coin. The 'numbers', as we say in English, are determined by elements of items fans have given us. --They will both come out in August or September of this year. Thank you for asking.
If serious, it seems you're becoming very interactive with your fans. How important is for you to involve them in your projects?
Perhaps it's better to turn the question around. How do they involve our activities in their lives? Are the songs holding them back--or propping them up? Diverting them from what they need to ignore--or what they need to attend to? In other words, how well are we serving them? --Ah: but one can not seek to know. Knowledge of needs results in prescription of conduct, and one mustn't seek to dictate. And therefore one mustn't pry. Therefore, one mustn't pander. And to complete the circle: therefore, one mustn't seek to serve. Involving, then, devolves to devolving. So, frustratingly, no doubt, the question prevents itself from being answered. Such are the paradoxes of pop. A peculiar fate, and whereby the popular goes as esoteric. Forgive my frankness, comrade. But this is the rock dynamic, is it not? This is the Work of Rock, and long established, from the days and records of old as such. The true "Rock Opera".
Canción del día: "Rest Your Head" (Lali Puna)
Frase del día: "Hasta que muera habrá sonidos, y estos continuarán después de mi muerte. No es necesario preocuparse por el futuro de la música" (John Cage)