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Old 08.23.2006, 07:12 PM   #1
nomowish
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Nude as the News - http://www.nudeasthenews.com/interviews/11

NATN: What about other songs from Daydream Nation?

TM: Once in a while. We were thinking of doing “The Wonder.” And we have done “Candle.” But some of those songs are just beyond me. I know there’s some desire to do the song “The Sprawl” that was on there. I mean, I will attempt it, but... oh man. I was listening to that the other day trying to figure it out. I have no idea where I was at when I was playing that. It’s so weird. It’s just really a mystery to me. But that’s what makes it kind of worthwhile, I guess!

...

NATN: Why don’t we begin with some basic info about the record. When did the band start working on it, and what is the origin of the material?

Thurston Moore: Well, we started working on it last summer. And we were getting set to track the record at the beginning of September, and then of course we got kind of sidelined. We didn’t really start working on it until a good month later as far as tracking at our studio, which is in the neighborhood of the World Trade Center, so it took a while for us to get up and running. But most of the material was written previous to that interruption. There are seven songs on the record. Five of them sort of came out of these acoustic guitar songs I had written that I was playing in solo performances here and there, specifically around New York. They were songs I had been developing myself to maybe present as a solo record at some point. But at the same time, it is always fascinating when I present them to the band because I can’t ever tell anybody what to play. It’s not like one of those situations where this is my song and this is what you have to play on it. I basically just play my song structure and everybody creates their own thing. It really modifies and changes it, usually pretty radically. That will give it a new existence and it will be rearranged even more sometimes to make it more focused as a Sonic Youth song.


Yeah. A good five of these songs were generated from that kind of introduction. The ones that weren’t are “Sympathy For The Strawberry,” which is somewhat of a group improvisation instigated by a chording progression of [bassist/Moore’s wife] Kim [Gordon]’s. The song right before that, called “Plastic Sun,” was sort of written in about the same time as it takes the song to play [laughs hard]. That was a real instant composition. And then actually the song [guitarist] Lee [Ranaldo] is singing on this record, “Karen Revisited,” that came from a bare-bones idea of a chord progression I had, and the band sort of constructed a song entirely from that. The other songs were fairly well constructed on acoustic guitar by me previously, but again, each one went through some modified arrangements. I don’t really look at them anymore as something I individually identify with. They’ve become very much band songs.
NATN: Can you think of any tracks in particular that began their life this way on previous records?

TM: Mostly chunks of records. In a way, I think we’ve sort of all realized that it’s most rewarding to generate music as a group, really organically -- coming together, closing our eyes, and just sort of playing and creating songs from these improvisations. Those tend to be more of what you hear coming out of us. But there are a few albums where that’s not so much the case. I think maybe the most explicit one would be Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star. A number of those were songs I sort of had prepped structurally before introducing them to the band. For no reason. I didn’t do it for any reason except for I had the material and it was just sort of hanging there. When we were rehearsing, it was like, oh, I have this one thing. Lee has also sort of brought in some concise songs to the band, but not as many. But yeah. I don’t do it so that a wealth of material has to be generated from me [laughs hard]. In fact, I don’t like that so much. I think the band is much more successful doing music that is completely a group composition, although a lot of times those songs tend to be much more far-out and so left-of-center, which is fine. This record is like that but it wasn’t really planned that way. It sort of came about where we wanted to have some immediate results, because we decided to release a record in June and go on tour this summer. Basically, we had two options. That was one of them and the other was, well, let’s write a slew of material and by year’s end we can take the kernel of it -- the best stuff -- and create a record.


We went with the other option because we wanted to work this year more than be in the studio writing, at least I did. But I live three hours north of Manhattan so it makes it kind of difficult for me and Kim to come back and forth every weekend. My whole thing was that I had this material I’d been writing and the rest of the band had heard it in performance anyway. They seemed to like it and respond to it, so I said, let’s do these songs. They just happened. And it was really great because we felt really confident making them and it turned out that the first seven tracks were used. We were still of a mind that maybe we’d record more stuff and have that to pick from, but no, it was the first seven tracks. All of the sudden it was identifiable to us as the CD we want to release.
NATN: How long has the band had the Murray Street studio?

TM: Since 1995. We used all the money we made on Lollapalooza ‘95 to build the studio [laughs]. That was the reason we did the tour: it’s a good paycheck and we can actually do what we’ve always wanted, and that is to build a good workspace. All the Sonic Youth records since then have been recorded there. We call the studio by different names, but it’s officially referred to as Echo Canyon on Sonic Youth records. Lee came up with that name and it kind of stuck, but when I do different sessions there I always give it a different name. So do [drummer] Steve [Shelley] and Kim as well.

NATN: What was the physical damage, if any, to the studio after Sept. 11?

TM: We were completely evacuated. Lee’s apartment is also nearby and his family was completely evacuated. We were thinking that we’d have to go down to Memphis to record, because before we built the studio, we did a record at Easley Studio down there. That was quite enjoyable, so I was sort of like, let’s go to Tennessee. But that’s also difficult because we’re all parents now, and you can’t just take your kids out of school. We feel very tied in [to Lower Manhattan]. Lee was able to be escorted to our studio at one point by the National Guard and go in there. The building was okay, and our whole side of the street was protected by a huge building that acted as a barrier. There was a massive amount of soot. We brought in a 16-man detoxifying crew that went in and took care of business: every inch and piece of paper was detoxified. Then we had to spend a long time getting the power supplies for all of our machines back in order, because everything tied into electricity was zapped to such a degree. It took a little while but we slowly crept in there. By the time they let people who were residents back in, it was a very interesting environment to work in, I’ll tell you that much. There was an article in the New York Times magazine all about Murray Street being torn up on a weekly basis. I wish I had recorded the sounds of the street because our windows look out on it. They’d tear it up and patch it over and go way underground to work on the water and electric lines. It was pretty intense, especially sound-wise. The street environment itself is so altered. The fact that it was desolate was one thing, but the lighting of work lights created this other realm that we were accustomed to from working down there.


The police would always look at our papers and go, there’s nobody working down there! They’d just laugh at us. Right now, it’s completely active. People are working and doing their business. It’s amazing the amount of reparation work they did in such a short time. Also the fact that they didn’t have much of a winter to contend with is also very odd. Very strange. But that whole situation was so intense for anybody and everybody. Calling the record after something so reality-based as a street name was so unorthodox for us [laughs]. We’ve always named our records after these far-out literary ideas. The fact that it was such a different kind of title for us, we sort of went for it. It had a classic motif to it. Plus we felt very close to the fact that where we were working at that time.. it was such an evocative period. That’s why we sort of named it after the “where” of where we were.

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Old 08.23.2006, 07:36 PM   #2
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Thanks again...
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Old 08.24.2006, 02:50 AM   #3
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Keep em' coming chief.
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Old 08.24.2006, 07:09 AM   #4
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that is totally inspiring that the considered playing the Sprawl again. That's my favourite Sonic Youth song. pity they didn't in the end but, oh well, maybe one day.
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Old 08.24.2006, 09:07 AM   #5
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Thanks!!!
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Old 08.24.2006, 10:48 AM   #6
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thanks for that interesting read.

the 911 thoughts are interesting.
thanks again and now no more useage of the word interesting!
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Old 08.24.2006, 02:55 PM   #7
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yeah, nice read. thanks!
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Old 08.24.2006, 06:27 PM   #8
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nice! thanks!
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Old 08.26.2006, 10:32 AM   #9
satirejohn
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why don't they come to denmark and play the sprawl already!
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Old 08.28.2006, 12:31 AM   #10
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that was pretty good
thanks nomowish
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