This week’s inaugural tune is an ethereal dispatch from buzzy Atlanta psych-rockers Deerhunter. Here’s frontman Bradford Cox on the inspiration behind “So Long”:
“This is like Atlanta history: My dad attempted to have a mortgage business in a very ghetto way. He had this building in Marietta, a city outside of Atlanta, basically the conservative Mecca of the ’90s right-wing revival. It was this old building in the historic district, a haunted-ass cobwebby storefront, and the back of it was this triangular warehouse he let me take over: We had a Xerox machine and broken 4-tracks and we’d make fliers and fanzines and all played around and made tapes. I recorded the majority of the song there in one night. It’s a personal Polaroid or snapshot.
“The first half of it’s based off of samples from the time we tried to record Cryptograms with Samara Lubelski. The second half’s a tape collage, a sample from the Flamingos ‘Golden Teardrops’ run through an archaic sampler just to loop it, and cut-up tape stuff from a religious sermon record called, I think, ‘The Reverend Jimmy L Jones.’ Those old crackly, kinda distorted recordings of congregations singing and black preachers have always sounded haunted to me.
“It’s something I put on mix tapes to bridge. I’d make a friend a mix tape and there’d be a Beat Happening song and I’d fade into this at the end, so it’s like, ‘So long, see ya.’ I’m really into coda’s and afterwards — my favorite part of the movie is always the ending — and I’ve always enjoyed juxtaposing two dissonant or disparate recordings. When we did Cryptograms, I wanted ‘Heatherwood’ to be different than anything else on the record. That’s the whole craft of mixtapes and making albums or writing books or making a movie or editing. I just love editing and the way you can juxtapose different tensions and releases.”