The brand new, and sixth, studio album from Dirty Projectors entitled Swing Lo Magellan is out 10 July and I was lucky enough to grab ten minutes of time with Amber on the phone to have a chat about it.
The recorded the album over a twelve month period in Delaware County “A lot of musicians feel the need to get out of New York City when they want to be creative. You can work hard here and get a lot of stuff done – but to be creative it can be quite tough because there’s not a lot of quiet and not a lot of space, so we just got this idea to rent a place in the middle of nowhere so we could have a lot of space.”
So, they rented a house – Dave Longstreth moved into the house and they built their own home studio there – Amber would go out to join him off and on – and after a few months writing songs and making demos the rest of the band would start going up to the house to lay there parts down.
Dave had made about seventy songs / demos and together, as a band, they’d give input on these, and while, ultimately, as Amber tells it, it was Dave’s instinct that informed most of the decisions about which songs made it. In contrast to the length of time taken to record the record, in listening to my advance copy, there’s a definite sense of informality and charm about it – and I wondered if there was some concerted effort on their part to ensure that was the case :
“Yeah I think that was definitely a goal – Dave felt that there was so little music these days that captures a moment of time – that was definitely intentional – in some cases we used the demo vocal and chose not to re-do it at all because of the energy it had, or something.”
In keeping, perhaps, of this natural as-is/where-is feel of the record – the image on the cover on the record “was very much what it was like being up there that year, that photo was taken right near the property”; the man in the photo was a neighbor of the property – but Amber assures me he totally knows that he’s on the album cover – it’s not going to be a weird Vamprie Weekend Contra scenario “he was cool about it; we wanted to get his dog in the picture too but she was too wild to get to sit still!” Amber laughs.
You can listen to an audio-edit of the phone call here