Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg :: The AD Interview

Aquarium Drunkard: Rook is far more thematic than its predecessor Palo Santo. While those songs felt like they could be cohesive, Rook's ongoing chromatic descents seem to hint at a central theme? Is that the case?

Jonathan Meiburg: There's no hidden 'plot' to Rook (as there was, in a way, for Palo Santo), but there's certainly meant to be a feeling of oneness to the songs - I like albums that feel like a complete piece, which these days seems like a dying form. As we assembled the record (and tossed away several tracks that didn't fit), the final order emerged as the one that felt the most 'right', where the songs seemed like they were communicating best with each other, if that makes sense.

AD: The song "Rooks" paints a prescient pre-apocalyptic picture ("feathering pyre") and a very poetic embrace that death may not be too far away is present in many tracks. However, as a whole, some of the smaller images illuminate that this is what living life is all about. Are these, like Palo Santo, more of your meditations on nature?

JM: Palo Santo was mostly, though obliquely, about the life and death of Nico, with some natural landscapes thrown in for good measure. Rook is much more about the landscapes, with people added for color from time to time, since those places get lonely when there's no one there at all. I've been lucky enough, in the course of my bird research and other travels, to visit some places people have very rarely visited (or, in a few cases, may have never been at all).

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