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Interview: Deerhoof

若你有仔細聽過Deerhoof的音樂,很難相信他們居然成軍25年了,畢竟他們的音樂持續著偏鋒古怪的活潑和趣味,狀若青春期少年。但若你有一直聽著Deerhoof,相信也要面對一個「杯具」的事實:你年紀也不少了。

 

講笑歸講笑,他們能屹立至今,而且總能成為「hipster」們的寵兒,箇中原因依舊是他們擁有獨特前衛而且新穎非凡的聲響。由John Dieterich、Satomi Matsuzaki、Ed Rodriguez、Greg Saunier四人組建,Deerhoof寫過叫好的《Friend Opportunity》、精警地(與 Xiu Xiu)  翻唱過Joy Division的《Unkown Pleasure》和玩味地重製過電影《閃靈》原創配樂,以及更多趣怪莫名的作品。自「偏鋒實驗流行」(Avant- experimental Pop)的頭銜起家,這隊來自三藩市的樂隊依然以無限的能量帶給我們更顛覆的音樂想像。

特別是2017年的那張《Mountain Moves》,回溯更加柔和的旋律音樂,Deerhoof嘗試融合jazz和hip hop的音樂元素,重新向未必認識他們的千禧世代,展示他們的絕嶺風采。

在即將來臨的5月4號,有他們再度來港的演出。在此之前,Absurd和其中的長青成員John Dieterich來了個一趟深度對談,藉此也讓準備看演出的大家,來個小複習。


Q: 來到2019年,Deerhoof已經成軍廿五載。作為一隊年屆廿五的樂隊,有甚麼感想?

A: 我們覺得自己是新生組合啊!每一次我們在一起玩音樂時,都完全處於未生、不知結果的狀況。

Q: 有甚麼秘訣去保持樂隊如此長的壽命?

A: 其實並無秘密吧。開始的時候就跟自己認同和尊重的人一起開始會不錯。我有留意當我們歲數越發增長,事情相對變得容易和輕鬆。過往令人瘋狂的事情,再也沒法影響到自己多少。我想關於保持樂隊長壽,在於維持「一起」,不過這也是知易行難的事情。

『我有留意當我們歲數越發增長,事情相對變得容易和輕鬆。過往令人瘋狂的事情,再也沒法影響到自己多少。』

Q: 八年過後重回香港演出,對於重遊故地有何感想?

A: 非常興奮!我們計劃要食大量餃子,而且幸運的話,我們可以再探索清楚這個城市的每一面。

Q: 對於這次巡演有何期待?

我們很高興能再來亞洲啊,非常幸運。希望可以遇上更多新的人、結交新的朋友。

Q: 你們去年發行了《Deerhoof Plays Music of the Shining》,為什麼是《Shining》*(閃靈)?

A: 靈感題材是來自發行廠牌那邊。主理人Cyrus blabla 是電影的超級死忠,而他知道我們全隊人都大愛寇比力克及《閃靈》,於是找了上門。我們花了大約1.6秒去決定做這個發行。

Q: 編曲、排曲方面有甚麼用意嗎?是投射對電影的印象?抑或是即興發生的事情?

A:《Shining》中,結他手Ed擔當了所有樂器舖排和編曲。我認為他很直接地把概念透過他的結他和樂理語言演繹出來。我聽著這張碟時覺得Ed就像原作者一樣。

Q: 我最愛的Deerhoof翻唱作品會是The Shaggs的〈My Pal Foot Foot〉,你們自己又會選哪一首?

A: 哇,你居然會知這首(笑)!那的確是有趣的一首。亦可能是我們當中最愛的一首翻玩作。我亦很喜歡Greg之前翻玩〈Going Up the Coutnry〉,那也是首佳作!翻唱別人的作品,時時都能給我機會去假想一首歌是如何寫出來,和如何玩出來。最後,Deerhoof都是Cannes Heat的粉絲!

Q: 還有沒有其他電影會提供到靈感給你們?

A: 哇,太多了。我們都是宮崎駿fans,《千與千尋》是我們最愛電影之一。這部戲完美平衡到視覺詩篇和實際上非常直接到肉的簡單故事。故事開始那幕「鬼魂都聚眾在市集當中」的畫面,是全部戲最愛的一幕。

Q: 提到影像和音樂兩者間的關係,我留意到你們唱片封面的風格有非常多的變化,而且幾乎每一張都會有改變。這些改變和音樂的實驗或者專輯的概念,有相關嗎?

A: 當然!一直以來幫我們做封面的是Satomi。她有非常重的視覺背景,亦是個利害的視覺藝術家。關於封面的疑惑通常引領著專輯的完成。因這表示我們終於釐清頭緒,知道那一張專輯到底是甚麼和要說甚麼。

Q: 政治話題也是你們作品常見的重要面向。你認為音樂人該如何將政治意識放進音樂創作中?

我覺得首要是為樂隊保持有德行的表現,讓所有加入的都能愉快地玩,及以最適合的方法貢獻樂隊。除此以外,樂隊成員對此也有不同見解。最直接的方法相信是將被忽視、被滋擾的聲音放大,讓所有人都能聽見。

在美國政治背景中,我們每日聽取的敍事往往取決自那些富人階級。他們把持著報紙、電視台、政客等各樣工具。有些新媒體旨在顛覆傳統的信息傳播模式,在同時間也帶來了新的問題。有件事我好留意是現場音樂好能夠影響其他人,非常有力。

『在美國政治背景中,我們每日聽取的敍事往往取決自那些富人階級。他們把持著報紙、電視台、政客等各樣工具。有些新媒體旨在顛覆傳統的信息傳播模式,在同時間也帶來了新的問題。有件事我好留意是現場音樂好能夠影響其他人,非常有力。』

Q: 你們在歐洲核子研究組織 CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) 做過一個live session,在其中倒弄著實驗性噪音以對抗大強子撞擊機器內部環境的噪音,你們如何看待這次經驗?

A: 這的確是人生中最好的一次經驗。CERN裡的所有人都非常開放,又肯作新嘗試。這是個最佳例子說明人類,不論國藉、地方,在願意溝通和連結的情況下,可以共同創作一件大事。在大強子撞擊機包圍的環境下,設定音箱和玩solo,實在是太美好了,我絕對可以玩多二十小時。

Q: 時隔兩年,Deerhoof仍未推出新大碟,今年會有望推出嗎?

A: 新碟即將面世!我們很努力地做啦現在。

Q: 有聽過甚麼音樂人,你會想推介嗎?

我們最近每日都聽Palm,因為跟他們一起巡演,幾乎每晚都有聽Palm。他們非常有趣,榮幸可以每晚有得看。

Q: 如果靈感枯渴,寫不出任何作品時,你們怎樣處理?

我通常不會亂試和亂寫。充足休息是非常必須。對我來說,最危險的狀態是遊走各種事情中,而不停止工作。我認為大腦間中需要休息,若時間沒準備充足就會好難成事,我絕對搞不定。因此我學習到要在一些麻煩的位置上放輕鬆和休息下。當試著不讓負面情緒出現自己身上,過後靈感會再次出現的。


Deerhoof 將於本週六 5 月 4 號於 MOM Livehouse 演出。詳情

 


Originally Interviewed in English

Q: Coming to 2019 means that Deerhoof have turned to 25 this year. How do you feel like a 25-year-old group?

We feel like a newborn group!  Every time we come together, we don’t know exactly what will happen musically.  

Q: What’s the secret to the longevity of the project?

A: There’s not really a secret.  Starting/joining a band with people you respect and admire is a good start.  I do notice that it seems to get easier as we get older.  The things that used to drive you crazy don’t feel like they matter as much.  I guess the secret to longevity is to just stay together, which is easier said than done.

Q: As the second time playing in Hong Kong after 8 years, how are you feeling about coming back here?

Very excited!  We intend to eat lots of dumplings, and hopefully we will get a chance to see more of the city.

Q:What’s your expectation to this tour?

We are just excited to come back.  We are lucky that we get to come to Asia and play.  We look forward to meeting new people and making friends.

Q: You’ve released Deerhoof Plays Music of the Shining last year. Why is it the Shining?

A: The label that released it had the idea.  The owner, Cyrus Lubin, was a huge fan of the movie, and he knew that we were also Kubrick/Shining fans.  It took us approximately 1.6 seconds to make the decision that we wanted to do it.

Q:What’s the idea behind the arrangement and instrumentation of the cover? Is it your impression of the film, or does it just happen?

Ed did all of the instrumental duties on that recording.  I think he just translated the ideas very directly into his own guitar/instrumental language.  I listen to that recording and hear Ed as much as I hear the original composers.

Q: I think my favorite cover by you guys is still The Shaggs – My Pal Foot Foot… Which one was your favourite if you had to choose one?

A: Haha, wow, you know that one!  That was very fun. That may be one of my favorites, as well.  I really like when Greg did Going Up the Country. I thought that was great.  Covers are always fun because it gives you a chance to imagine what it was like to write/play that music.  We are big Canned Heat fans . . .

Q: Are there other films that you drew inspiration from?

Oh, so many . . .  We are all Miyazaki fans.  Spirited Away is one of my favorite movies of all time.  I feel that it strikes a perfect balance between visual poetry and what is in fact a very simple direct story.  The scenes at the beginning with the ghosts in the outdoor market is one of my favorite scenes in a movie.

Q: Speaking of the relationship between visual culture and music, I notice that the aesthetic styles of your album covers are highly diverse, and they change almost every time. Do these changes correspond to the musical experimentation or concepts of the albums?

A: Yeah, sure.  The person who has by far done the most likelycovers for our albums is Satomi.  She has a very strong visual background and is a great artist.  The question of what the art will be usually comes towards the end of the album when we have a clear idea of what the album is and is saying.  

Q: Politics has been an important aspect of your works. How can musicians organize political ideas into musical practices?

A: I think one thing is to simply organize the band in an ethical way so that the people involved in it are happy and get to contribute in the way they want to and/or are best suited to.  Other than that, different members of the band approach this question in different ways.  One way to contribute is to simply amplify the information that seems to be getting lost in all the noise, amplify the perspectives that don’t get heard enough.  In American politics, our narratives have largely been determined by people with extreme wealth, which makes sense.  They own our newspapers, television stations, politicians, etc. There are new media which aim to subvert the traditional modes of dissemination of information, and these also present their own new problems.  One thing I notice again and again is how live music can inspire people.  It’s a powerful thing.

Q:  There was a live session you guys have done in the CERN, experimenting noise music to confront the loud sound from the LHC. How was that experience to you?

A: That was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  The entire crew at CERN was so open and invested in making something new.  It’s an inspiring example of what humans can do when we humans communicate freely across national lines with one another and try to tackle something together.  The feeling of setting up my amp and playing solo in such a massive space was really incredible.  I could have just played for hours.

Q: Plus, if Deerhoof could choose wherever places in Hong Kong to do a special set, what would it be?

I think we should become the house band at Neptune’s underwater restaurant.

Q: For 2 years that Deerhoof haven’t release any full length album, will there be a new records out this year?

A record is forthcoming!  We are working on it now . . .

Q: What other musicians you are listening to right now?  

We have been listening to Palm every night because we are on tour with them.  They are an absolutely amazing band. So great to see them every night.  

Q: What do you do usually if you are having a writer’s block?

A: I don’t try and write all the time.  I think breaks are very necessary.  The dangerous period for me is when I am between projects.  I think the brain needs to take a break sometimes, and if I don’t give myself enough time, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t work.  I’ve learned to just give myself some slack in those situations and take a break. I try not to get too down on myself as I know the ideas will start flowing again.  

 

 

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