In the two years that have elapsed since the release of their acclaimed Yellow House, New York’s Grizzly Bear have become a very big deal indeed.

Peruse the web and the broadsheets and you’ll quickly see that their new record for Warp, the awkwardly titled Veckatimest , is being met with near-universal acclaim; thankfully, and unusually, it deserves at least some of all that fuss and froth. With the aid of inventive arrangements and subtle electronics, this affable quintet have basically reinvented heartfelt, preppy indie-rock for our jaded ears and times. The band’s bassist and studio whiz Chris Taylor explains how they gone done it…

How does Veckatimest differ from your past efforts?

“It certainly feels like a more live-sounding record. We wanted to achieve more subtlety, more clarity than before…A clear vision rather than just a big pile of…stuff. Though were previously really into that “pile of stuff” aesthetic [laughs]…”

A lo-res version of the album leaked on the internet very quickly. How did you feel about that?

“I mean, it was definitely a bummer. Not so much the fact that it happened – that was inevitable – but the speed at which it happened. It leaked literally within a week of us having finished recording and mixing it. But I can’t say I care so much now; it is what it is. It’s kind of hilarious that I worked so hard on the production and engineering side of things, making everything sound as pretty as I possibly could, and then within one second it’s out there in a low bitrate sounding really shitty.”

Veckatimest feels a little tougher, a little pacier than Yellow House

“There are less of those floating, ever-changing rhythms that kind of characterized Yellow House – I was just kind of over that. I played a lot of bass on this record; we were definitely concerned with giving the songs more momentum, making them more groove-heavy. I wanted to produce what I’d call more rhythmic rock songs. We’ve actually used a kickdrum for the first time! I mean, in the early days of the band we couldn’t fit the kickdrum in the car, so we just left it out…”

You recently performed with Nico Muhly and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. How was that?

“It was kind of irresistible – with an orchestra we’re able to play the songs more like how they sound on record.  But it was a learning process: it was kind of hard for us to cede control over the arrangements, perhaps because arranging is something we feel to be one of our strengths. We said to Nico, ‘Maybe just transcribe the songs as they are and then do whatever on top of that …’ I’m not sure he was entirely happy with this… [laughs]”

Kiran Sande



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