Malkmus is definitely in (and on) the air these days. We know we’ve been a bit fixated, and we really did try to resist the charms of this A.V. Club interview between SM and Amanda Petrusich, but it’s just too good. He touches upon Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, U2, Kanye, Jon Brion, Mudvayne, Nickelback, Sebadoh, Drive-By Truckers, Wilco, Silver Jews, Björk, Lenny Kravitz, etc. He’s good at giving interviews that light up lots of Google Alerts. In light of Kim Deal’s “Cannonball” Vs. “Cut Your Hair” deal with Malkmus, it gets especially interesting when Petrusich asks:
How is making an indie-rock record now different from what it was, say, 10 years ago?
STEPHEN MALKMUS: Well, 10, it’s probably not so different. But 15 years ago, or when we started, obviously [the scene] was smaller. I just got back from England, and with the advent of these groups like Arctic Monkeys, and, I don’t know, there are other ones–I can’t remember who was on the cover [of NME] this week. But the major youth music is “indie.” So I don’t know. We just do what we do. I would quantify our sound as more underground than indie, in that it’s not catering to a fashion, so much as indie happens to be a fashion now. But the underground lives on regardless. It always does. Because there are so many people making music, and there are enough people just making it to their own taste. In-your-face type music. The indie moniker has obviously grown with movies like Juno and The Arcade Fire or whatever. U2 wants to hang around with Arcade Fire. U2 didn’t want to hang around with Pavement. It’s too different, you know? Maybe they’re better or something. Or maybe we were, you know, not a threat. The difference between U2 and Pavement was quite vast. It’s grown narrower–closer, I guess. Radiohead being the biggest band in the world.
AVC: Do you think that’s a product of cultural tastes changing? Or because of the Internet?
STEPHEN MALKMUS: Internet and advertising. It just seems new. There’s pop stars like Kanye West–he’s got Daft Punk on his thing, and is playing with that guy Jon Brion, who worked with Elliott Smith. Things kinda come together, I guess. Everyone’s worried, and they want to get an association with something that seems new, that seems modern and of the era. So I don’t know, it just all comes together. Of course, there’s always a pop industry, pop stars, and radio music. That still exists. There’s Mudvayne, Nickelback–radio music for people who don’t love music, but like music. It’s still there.
He also explicates “Gimme Indie Rock,” among other things. Give this man a blog! In the meantime, read more of the interview here. Finally, Malkmus played this at Bowery on Monday, though no YouTube just yet. Anyone?