Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear are two bands who got indie-famous in the late-’00s by making rich, soothing, harmony-heavy music. Both bands took long breaks over the last few years, and both came back in the past few months with new albums: Fleet Foxes with Crack-Up, Grizzly Bear with Painted Ruins.
It’s only natural to put both bands together, and now Interview magazine has done just that, bringing Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold in to interrogate Grizzly Bear. In the story, Pecknold and the members of Grizzly Bear have a long, discursive conversation that touches on discomfort with the idea of monetizing strife, over-explaining lyrics, and the personal dynamic within the band. They also talk about what it’s like to take a bunch of time off. Here’s an interesting thing that Pecknold says about his long disappearance:
I’ll just say personally that part of the reason that I didn’t release an album for as long as that period was, is that I’d look at the climate of music every once in a while and I didn’t feel like there was a place that made sense [for me]. It was just my feeling about it. Either a bunch of new things were happening, or a more commercial wave of the thing I was passionate about was happening. I didn’t see where I would fit in the thinkpiece ecosystem, and so I checked out until I was at the point where I didn’t really think about any of that stuff anymore.
And in response, Ed Droste says:
I tuned out for a couple of years, and I didn’t pay much attention. When I got back I was like, “What the hell is happening?!” A lot of what you were thinking I’m like, “What’s the vibe right now? What is this trend? Why is everyone reinventing themselves? Why is this Top 40 artist with this random song that’s fine being championed as the best thing ever right now?” There is a bit of a headscratcher moment for sure. Trust me, I like Top 40, so it’s not a diss to that. It’s just, something happened while I was sleeping, and getting divorced and thinking about myself, and not paying attention to the dwindling blogosphere which doesn’t really exist anymore and is now just the noise content machine. I find it overwhelming and confusing. It’s less about “Is there a place?” but more like how do you get people who are subjected to so much noise to actually sit down and take the time with something that you’d really hope they’d take the time with? Or previously they [took the time], but they may not be doing that anymore because of the way that music is consumed or read about or disseminated. I don’t think that there is any desire for mystery, per se. But I do find the current climate a bit mysterious. Nobody has fully explained it to me other than “clicks”. That’s my hot take.
Check out the full interview here.