Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The Antlers - Darby Cicci @ Detroit Bar

Fake Plastic's very own Fr. Jones shoots the breeze with Darby Cicci of The Antlers about Moogfest, electronic textures, great BBQ, and the importance of SXSW.

Here is a link to the review of Burst Apart.

FR: So let's start things off with a shameless Moogfest plug. Moogfest is shaping up to be one of the top musical events of the year. How did you guys get involved? Is there a particular act you are excited to see?

DC: They just asked us if we’d like to play. Of course we said yes. I’m obsessed
with synths and synth history, and Bob Moog is pretty heavily responsible
for pretty much inventing the performance synthesizer and making it
available and reliable for musicians. I’m completely honored to be involved
with Moog in any way possible. Such a great company and so important to me
as musician.

FR: What is the origin of the band name- the Antlers? After the initial solo period of the Antlers, how did you guys get together?

DC: Peter took the name from a Microphones song. We’ve never had a great story as to our origins. Peter was putting the band together and I guy I was working with knew Peter. They played a couple shows and asked me to come
play trumpet.

FR: Both Burst Apart and Hospice- and for that matter, In the Attic of the Universe too- sound intensely personal, but in radically different ways. What was your approach to recording Burst Apart? How did the experience compare or contrast to other recording sessions?

DC: We wanted to build songs from the ground up, from electronics and textures instead of words and stories. The words and stories are still there, but they take on a completely different role. They respond to the sounds and layers rather than direct them. I think it was the best way for us to push ourselves in a new direction.

FR: How does the Antlers' background in bedroom electronica shape the music they are making now? There were strong elements of it in Hospice- but Burst Apart seems to be moving in a slightly new direction.

DC: It was an entirely different kind of band back when we made Hospice. The songs were written before Michael and I played on them, and I didn’t record it personally. I was also playing different instruments at the time. Since then, I’ve begin to focus more intently on instruments like synthesizers and electronics and programming and such, in addition to the instruments I played before like trumpet, banjo, bass. I think a major effect on the sound and production has to do with owning our own studio. Having engineered Burst Apart from the ground up, the goal was to try and record as many different textures and sonic timbres as possible, to really try to develop the sonic “world” of each song to be original and unique to each specific song. We have a lot more microphones now, and a much better space more conducive to recording things like live drums and louder amps.

FR: How do you guys feel about the current state of electronic music? Are you fans of the current Dubstep craze? Or do you opt for a more ambient vibe?

DC: I don’t think “electronic” music really means much anymore. I think it’s blurred so much with pretty much any music at this point. I really like some dubstep, but it too, isn’t necessarily electronic music. I think it has more in common with soul or, obviously, dub, than it does with electronic music.

FR: You knocked it out of the park on Leno not too long ago- and on Fallon as well. What exactly does "Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out" mean? Or does it mean exactly that?

DC: It’s more about dreams than anything literal. About dealing with anxiety, paranoia, and having the tumult of your personal life manifest itself in hypochondria. It’s more about being scared than being in danger.

FR: I first heard of the Antlers a couple of years ago at SXSW. In your opinion, how important to an artist's success are events like these?

DC: SXSW is incredibly important. I think it’s the most beneficial for a young band if there already is some sort of buzz or press or something about you. It’s also very easy to travel down there and play 12 shows, and still be completely lost in the endless mire of bands that all travel to Austin for SXSW. But regardless, there’s great BBQ and it’s a really exciting place and
time to be a part of.

FR: How do the Antlers approach the live circuit? Is it difficult to strategically put together a setlist of individual songs when all of your releases sound like their own living, breathing entity?

DC: We try not to think about it. I guess we try to incorporate new/old and balance the set well, but we really make the setlist about 10 minutes before we play, and just play whatever we feel like playing. It works most of the time I think.

FR: Before ultimately signing with Frenchkiss, you opted to self-release Hospice in early 2009. What was this experience like?

DC: Exhausting, really. Frenchkiss has helped us focus on music and touring andnot try to do 5 jobs at once as a musician.

FR: What is your opinion on the state of the music industry in 2011? Is there much of an industry anymore? With all the changes and development in the past decade, where do you see the state of music in ten years?

DC: We’re about to figure out how to move past CDs and deal with the whole digital download world and piracy. I think it’s time for the role of the record label to be less volatile. Kind of focus more on bands’ careers and less on record cycles. I think we’ll have a lot more creative ideas soon.

FR: Any advice for up-and-coming musical artists struggling to make it in the 21st century?

DC: Just make the record you want to listen to. Everything else will follow.

- Fr. Jones

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