Wednesday, July 6, 2011
[SPIN.com] After reuniting his legendary '90s indie rock band Pavement last year for a lengthy tour, Stephen Malkmus will return as a solo force on August 23 with his fifth LP, Mirror Traffic. Recorded with his longtime backing band the Jicks and produced by Beck, the album is the most stylistically varied, best release of Malkmus' post-Pavement career.
SPIN called the 45-year-old father of two at his Portland, OR, home to chat about the record and working with Beck. The first sound that buzzed through the receiver was his two daughters, seven and four years old, laughing hysterically…
Got your hands full, huh?
Yeah. I had to set the kids up with some Dora The Explorer. My wife's been out of town for eight days now.
Party time! So, Beck produced your new album. Are you guys old friends?
Well, I wouldn't say friends. He's a pretty private guy. But he's definitely an ally. We were on a couple of tours together during Alternative Nation time, like Lollapalooza before he did Odelay. He went on this Australian tour we did with the Beastie Boys, too. I stayed at his house a couple times in the '90s when he lived in Pasadena. There's no blah, blah, blah ego stuff going on with him. In that context, we were certainly in the same boat.
How did he end up producing the record?
He got my number somehow. So about two years ago he called and said he was going to do some producing. This was before he started Charlotte Gainsbourg's album [which Beck wrote and produced]. He was just like, 'If you'd like to do something, that'd be cool.' Six months later the band was finishing our songs. Everyone in the band loved the idea, especially [guitarist-keyboardist] Mike [Clark]. [Bassist] Joanna [Bolme] wanted an ally to do it, too, instead of doing it ourselves, which has been the case every time for me except once, when Nigel Godrich did an album with Pavement [1999's swan song Terror Twilight]. Beck also said he was trying to start a private press of books and that I should get involved.
Yeah. He asked if I wanted to do something. But I don't know what the status of that yet because, you know, I haven't contributed to it yet. But he's planning a '60s-style private press. Limited editions books of writings, drawings, poetry.
How did working with Beck change your sound?
Beck and his engineer Darrell [Thorp], who he's worked with for a long time, have a certain style of recording drums. That's really their thing. Daryl works with Radiohead and a million other bands. They have this old-school controlled drum sound. They also use a lot of tape -- everything is run onto tape. It brings out and takes away some frequencies that can be annoying to work with in Pro Tools. But that's all subtle. The album was recorded real fast at Sunset Sound over four or five days. It's where, like, ummmm, Sheryl Crow and Yellowcard recorded. They have an amazing collection of microphones. All of that is really gear head-y, though. Beck definitely has a gear head side.
READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE.
Posted by Dan Goldin at 6:01 PM