Destroyer :: The AD Interview

Dan Bejar is busy. Between four (differently named) projects releasing material in the past three years, it's rare that time goes by without hearing from the prolific artist. Bejar's main project, Destroyer, is set to release its ninth album, Kaputt, January 25th on Merge Records. AD caught up with Bejar, via email, to discuss the busy creative process, the longevity of his relationship with Merge, the direction of the new album and what not to throw at the band on stage.

Aquarium Drunkard: The past year has been busy for you in prepping Kaputt for release and also finishing up releasing and promoting the New Pornographers' Together. Since you've released work with four different groups in the past three years, do you have a process for balancing the work on all of them? Are you, for instance, working on Destroyer music while out touring for the New Pornographers? Or do you keep them exclusive?

Dan Bejar: There is no overlap between any of those things. So I need not employ any process to keep them apart. They just are apart. But schedules can get a bit mixed up, and I have had to ok Destroyer masters from the speakers of a New Pornographers bus, if that's what you mean. That shit can be stressful.

AD: You've been with your label, Merge Records, for quite some time, a rarer thing for artists in the modern age of commercial music. How has your relationship with them evolved over the years?

DB: Do people label hop a lot these days? I've never really thought about it, though I have noticed that Merge is pretty much the only label I can think of that doesn't drop bands. It's actually astounding, that! It's possible that if you actually continue to make records, they will actually continue to put them out, into infinity, regardless of how little they sell. It's really really rare, and says a lot about them. I'm not exactly sure how our relationship has evolved, but I am repeatedly shocked at what's been a lot of carte blanche support over the years.

AD: The last two records, Destroyer's Rubies and Trouble in Dreams, had you working with a consistent lineup for one of the first times in your career as Destroyer. Is the same group on board this time and how has that stability worked on these records?

DB: Actually the only two records that involve a consistent line-up are Thief and Streethawk. Trouble In Dreams had a different drummer than Rubies, but sometimes a different drummer is like having a different singer. This was one of those cases. I see very few similarities between those two records, aside from maybe "Introducing Angels." And maybe "Leopard of Honor" sounds a bit like "A Dangerous Woman Up To A Point," if you were to look at those two songs stripped of their performances...though they mean completely different things (there's the rub!). Nic Bragg is the only person from those records who plays on Kaputt (unless you're talking about the vinyl version of Kaputt, in which case Ted Bois pretty much composed, performed and recorded the entirety of Side 3!). He also played lead guitar on This Night.

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