07 November 2007

EAR FARM Q&A: Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear!

Don't say I didn't warn you. Still reeling from an already legendary performance at the Society for Ethical Culture this past weekend and an excellent new EP that won't leave my rotation, I've been left with no choice but to declare it "Grizzly Bear Week" here on EAR FARM.

Lucky for me (and you), the always gracious Ed Droste agreed to help keep the celebration going, checking in via email to chat and answer some questions before the band's in-store performance (and last Grizzly Bear show in a loooong time) at the Union Square Virgin Megastore tonight.

As many of you know, Grizzly Bear was scheduled to play Late Night with Conan O'Brien last night but unfortunately had to postpone their appearance due to the writer's strike. Well guess what? There's no such thing as unionized labor in the blogosphere, so without further ado here's our Q&A with Ed:

MG: Many of the new arrangements on the Friend EP feel looser and more direct, as though you guys just recorded them live in the studio instead of adding layers of overdubs. Was this a conscious decision when revisiting the older material?

ED: I think one of the MAIN reasons for these recordings in general was not to just "recycle" old material but rather to release something that felt closer to what we've become as a band, and what we produce live. SO many people have asked us to do a "live album", and this is sort of our take on that I suppose even though there ARE overdubs.


MG: Touring in support of Yellow House has kept you guys out on the road for most of the past year and a half. How has that experience shaped the growth of the band? How has it affected you personally?

ED: It's been tremendously amazing and tiring at the same time. It's very hard to keep things fresh, get along with everyone, all the while getting robbed and living in a van. I think once the day (I pray for it) we can afford a bus comes, touring will become a lot easier. The emotional strain will always be there, but at least physically we wouldn't be so exhausted. That said, I can't say how much I love the PERFORMING part, when I say the tour is grueling it's just the lead up TO a show. Loading in, driving, getting little sleep. But the hour or so we get to perform is what makes it all worth while. Especially given we have such appreciative and supportive fans.

MG: On the subject of touring, you often update your blog with pictures, videos and stories from the road. What have been some of your favorite moments (either memorable performances or otherwise) from the last tour?

ED: I love meeting new people, so festivals have stood out as particularly fun on a social level. That said, I don't think we are really a festival band deep down. You can't really dance to us, and I'm not sure I'D want to see an hour set of us in the glaring sun standing up midday with thousands walking all around me. That's why playing places like the Society for Ethical Culture is so great. Playing some of the majestic theaters with Feist was a real highlight and I fondly remember our time in Ireland as well. Ireland is so much more into us than the UK it's like night and day.

MG: Also on your blog you often champion other bands you either meet up with on the road or otherwise can't stop listening to, a few months ago it was Deerhunter, Dirty Projectors, Cass McCombs and more recently Vampire Weekend. Anyone else on your radar these days?

ED: I've fallen BACK in love with Beach House. It's weird I have to say all my favorite bands this past year or so (aside from the amazing In Rainbows) have been bands we've gotten to play with who are relatively small. I don't know why, but the big guns as of late haven't done that much for me. I can't really be bothered with the White Stripes. Not that I think they are bad, it just leaves me sort of cold and shrugging. Of course Radiohead, Feist and Bjork will
always be favorites. I'm listening to Beach House right now actually! I just checked my itunes to see if there is anything else really current that I"m obsessing , I think I've written about most of it. I've mentioned Sleeping States and Foreign Born a lot. I enjoy Hot Chip and White Williams and Girl Talk a lot on the other spectrum. Hmmm---I like Rihanna too! I could go on ....but I'll stop.

MG: Horn of Plenty was essentially a solo project whereas Yellow House featured songs from both Daniel (Rossen, vocals and guitar) and yourself. How have the dynamics of songwriting and collaboration amongst the four of you evolved?

ED: Big Time. We all write so differently and while Dan and I are the chief songwriters, at the moment Dan is being more prolific than me, so who's to say if the shift doesn't entirely go towards him next album. I 'm not sure. Touring burnt me out creatively for a little bit and I need a month or two to pretend like music doesn't exist to get back into my own state of creativity. I don't know if that makes any sense....

MG: You guys played an amazing new song the other night, is that at all indicative of what's to come?

ED: Yeah, that's a song Dan wrote and we are all really excited about. I can't say anything per se is indicative but I'm fairly positive it will be on the new album. We don't have enough material yet to exactly see if there is a "new direction" but hopefully the other ones will be as good as that one! haha

MG: On that note, and this is probably unfair to ask since you just released a new EP this week but what's next for you guys? Are there any plans at the moment for the next album?

ED: Writing first! Then recording! Perhaps a trip to play Australia/New Zealand--but we haven't decided about that yet.

MG: Ed, thanks so much for taking the time to visit EAR FARM! I hope you have some time to relax after this week.

ED: Thank you for thinking of us! so happy you enjoyed the show

Again, if you live in the NYC area, tonight is your LAST chance to see Grizzly Bear before they take a well-deserved break (do you know how hard it was to resist making a hibernation pun there?). Many thanks once again to Ed Droste!

See Grizzly Bear Live:
7 November 7pm - Virgin Megastore Union Square, NYC

Listen:
"He Hit Me"

Buy Friend EP on Amazon

Visit Grizzly Bear on MySpace

17 comments:

The Urban Naturalist said...

So I just watched the show at Virgin and loved it. I need some help though. Please tell me about the last song they played. Has it been released? Is it new?

Matt said...

Nice interview mike. Ed, glad to have you here on EF! Right now I'm on the metro n Paris and there is a busker behind me playing an accordian. It kind of amazes me. Mostly that I have cell service in the subway. And here I am wearing a hoodie and black concert tee while commenting on my own Blog via blackberry acting all "I live in NY" My life is one big stereotype. Yay vacances!

Mike said...

According to Daniel, the last song they played is brand new. They actually played it for the first time at their show at the Society for Ethical Culture on Saturday. Its also the song I was referring to in this interview with Ed because I too adore it and wanted more info. Does anyone else know anything further?

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