As was the case for many of us, our first foray in to the world of The Dodos was via their Frenchkiss released breakthrough LP, Visiter, back in 2008. It was one of those raw rock records that just buried itself under your skin, and it’s meditative sprawl still resonates today. The follow-up record, Time To Die, was seen my many to be something of a misstep but they righted themselves on the wonderful follow-up, No Color. It was around this time that Women’s Chris Reimer joined the band, playing with them up until his untimely death in 2012.
The Dodos return this Summer with new record Carrier and their time spent with Chris, and his subsequent passing, is said to have had a huge influence on Meric Long and Logan Kroeber both as a musical duo and, more simply, as people. The two new tracks that have surfaced so far are full of promise, finding the band sounding more alive and energised than they have for a long time. Ahead of the records release – via Polyvinyl on August 27th – we spoke to Logan about the record and the story behind it…
Welcome back. How has the time away been spent?
It’s been pretty busy lately. Since last Summer we’ve done two tours with Calexico and written and recorded two new records. But I do remember some good old fashioned time squandering happening before all that.
Is the new record all good to go? How are you feeling about it right now?
Carrier is ready to go. I’m feeling really excited about it because we’ve been focusing on a newer batch of songs and I’m looking forward to going back to the Carrier material to arrange it for the stage. We’ll have a new member in the group so there will be some new possibilities there.
How does it compare to the rest of your output? Is it the wise Uncle or the cool older Brother?
It really stands out to me. It reminds me of our very first album at times and the rest is pretty new sounding stuff. And the recording style is a bit of a departure. So maybe confused older brother?
It sounds like the whole approach was more stripped-back. Does that translate to the record as a whole?
I think so. I feel like the performances are more in focus and there’s less fluff on top.
The lyrics came before the music this time too…
I can’t speak for Meric with total confidence, but I think it came pretty easily. I remember him being pretty inspired for most of those songs. Not a lot of mumble lyrics in the practice space, you know? Or maybe I’m just getting used to the sound of his mumbling.
Can you tell us about working with The Magik Magik orchestra?
I feel really lucky to get to work with them and am totally inspired that they’ve been able to turn themselves into a successful business. They have access to a wide range of players and can be adaptable to whatever you want, but if you let Minna do her own arrangements she definitely has her own style that she brings to the table.
How indicative is ‘Confidence’ of the rest of the record?
Not all the songs have the same split personality Confidence has, but it definitely represents the dynamic range of the album. It has the gnarliest guitar solo for sure though.
Do you have a favourite track on the record?
Right now it’s the first track, Transformer. It’s pretty different from the rest, for a while its working title was The Weirdo, but I feel like it’s the heart of the record.
The death of Chris was very saddening for us, just as fans, so we can only imagine what it was like for you. Did it have a direct effect on the record or was it broader than that?
This record is for him. He passed as we were writing the first songs so he is all over the record to me.
What did you learn from Chris? And what’s your lasting memory of him?
Patience. He was great in stressful situations and could be very disarming with very few words. Sometimes only a look or a hand on your shoulder. You definitely would have wanted him in your platoon, you know?
The record is coming out on cassette – where did that idea come from?
Polyvinyl. I didn’t even know until they sent the proofs for the artwork! I was stoked because I still listen to Metallica tapes on the boom box I keep in my bathroom.
Are you looking forward to taking the new record out on the road?
Oh yeah. Like I was saying, we’ll have a new member and seeing what he can do on different songs should be really fun.
Finally, what’s your favourite record of the year so far?
That’s a tough one. Most listened to is probably Turquoise Summers, but I really liked what I heard of the Deerhunter, William Tyler and Thundercat records too. The latest Ruby Suns is pretty rad too. MBV. It never ends.
Carrier is out 27/08/13. CD/LP/cassette available here; polyvinylrecords.com/carrier