samedi, octobre 23, 2004

Luna's no mo'


James Gregory reports:

Breakups are a bitch, and no more so than to the music-obsessed. Jesus, my dad still gets misty when you mention The Beatles. Well, after 12 years and seven studio albums, Luna frontman Dean Wareham recently announced that the quartet will be severing musical ties in early 2005, and while the band's website offers a handy list of explanations for the breakup-- both factual and facetious-- Pitchfork recently spoke with Wareham to get a more personal account of the impending split.

"It's an interesting question. People are always like 'why?,' Wareham laughed. "I'm still doing interviews with people who are asking me why did Galaxie 500 break up. You know, that's just what bands do, and I think that is sort of the basic reason. You start a band, it's not going to last forever, and at a certain point you've got to stop... unless you're Metallica, or R.E.M., or the Rolling Stones, where they're not just bands, they're like multi-million dollar corporations, and if they were to quit then all sorts of people would stop making their huge paychecks. We've been around a long time, and I think it's different in your twenties than when you hit forty. In your twenties you don't have a care in the world, and you're out there sleeping on someone's floor, but you're like, 'Hey, isn't this great!' And after awhile..."

The breakup (or disbandment, as Wareham prefers) appears relatively gossip-free, as Wareham noted his desire for the group to part ways before their personal dynamic began to show signs of stress. "I know I wanted to stop while we still like each other," he said. "You start a band often with your friends when you're young, and to think that you're going to be able to maintain a close friendship, and also be in business together, and travel together-- the whole thing is just a tall order. This is the only art form where you're expected to collaborate with people like this year in, year out. I mean maybe if you make a movie it's very intense for three months, but to spend this much time together, it's a bit like a marriage, except you never asked to get married, you just started a band together."

Meanwhile, Luna has readied a slew of official farewell-related activity. Most notably, October 26th will see the release of their final studio album, Rendezvous, produced by Bruce Goggin (Pavement, The Lemonheads, The Ramones) for Jetset Records. Asked if the recording sessions had any sort of Abbey Road-esque last album vibe to them, Wareham replied, "I think we knew when we were making this record, it was in the back of our minds. I think the record is ultimately very very relaxed sounding, but that can be deceiving. There's never a theme before you make the album, and I'm not usually aware of a theme until I start doing interviews and people are asking me about it. Then I realize that songs I didn't think were about me probably are, and they're more revealing than you think."

Wareham noted Goggin's contribution in crafting the overall sound. "Bryce thought we were a really good live band, so his whole thing was, 'I want you all to set up in a room together and get a good take, and we'll work on it and try to keep all the instruments.' Which actually is sort of the way we made the first couple Luna records, but we've gotten away from that. It's sort of a rock 'n' roll cliche, as people make more and more records they get more and more complicated in their approach, and they take longer and longer in the studio. And then you get to a point where you're just like (in mock Nigel Tufnel voice), 'We've gone back to basics on this.' The word producer means different things to different producers, and I think Bryce, his idea of a producer was, 'Get the band sounding as good as they are. I want to make them sound like Luna.' So that was his aim with this, to get a quintessential Luna record."

Also on the horizon for Luna is a long farewell in the form of a world tour, which kicked off in Japan last week, and will see the group hitting the U.S. and Europe this year before returning to the States for their final shows in early 2005. "We're also making a documentary movie about the tour," Wareham added. "A friend of ours is a filmmaker, Matthew Buzzell... It'll be a lot of live footage, and we're not quite sure what else. Some scripted things, comedy bits. We haven't really done it before and I think it's important that we're trying to capture it. The live show disappears, unless you capture it somehow."

As far as Wareham's plans for his post-Luna future, he has a few minor projects in the works, but is focusing on remaining band duties before committing to any major announcements. "Well, there's nothing recorded right now, but I'm going to keep making music. I'm not going to make a solo record right now. I'll make another record with Britta [Phillips] like I did last year. I'm also talking about making a record with Maggie Chung, a Hong Kong actress who I recorded a couple songs with. I don't know, I could write my memoirs, because I used to, you know. I was writing them for the website for a while, for the tour diary, and putting a lot of work into them. And finally it occurred to me no one's paying me for this, this is hard work."