I’m not going to go into how hard it was for Caroline of Chairlift to time her jump onto our porch from her chair lift, let’s just rejoice in the fact that she did get here safely. Things have been looking up for the Brooklyn-based band as of late. Their debut album, Does You Inspire You, is out now on iTunes, and will be released through Kanine Records on October 28th in a more physical form. Chairlift has just finished up touring with underground garbled psych legend, Ariel Pink, as part of his “Thanks Mom I’m Dead” North American tour. In the future, October to be exact, Chairlift will be touring with fellow Brooklyn renters and 80s outerspacers, Yeasayer. But, for a collection of fleeting moments, Caroline graced us with herself on our humble little porch, giving insight into the band, talking about Brooklyn land, and staying away from Planet Tan.
JD: How does living in Brooklyn effect your music?
C: Brooklyn is a free-for-all, everyone’s throwing off their upbringing in the name of becoming a ‘curator’ of sorts; a digger, a DJ, a critic. So people are constantly showing each other their new finds, swapping influences. Anything that comes out of the Brooklyn scene is by default a result of the mixing, there’s no ‘purist’ music going on, which is exciting and anarchic. That aside, life in New York is loud, aggressive, and fast paced, which we all love, and our music is the yin to that yang; an antidote that prepares us for yet another day of it, reflecting and enhancing it.
JD: It seems that the music as a whole takes precedence over the lyrics, and it’s more about the lyrics as supplementation to the music. Can you talk a little bit about this style?
C: It’s not rock n’ roll, which is driven by lyrics. You know, like velvet underground or the stones. It’s more of the halfway zone between pop music, which is all about the hook, and classical music, which takes you on an abstract journey. A lot of our music has to do with the body; we pick our tempos based on how naturally the spine moves to it, for example. And we try to conjure environments and temperatures with the sounds, as I’m sure many musicians do. So for us the lyrics are only one fraction of the piece, and not half, as many consider them to be. They’re the fortune in the cookie, message in the bottle.
JD: What was it like to tour with Ariel Pink, and how did that relationship begin?
C: Nuts! And awesome. All the Haunted Graffiti boys are incredibly talented and inspirational musicians. They don’t make em like that anymore, they’re real renegades. We didn’t know them personally going into it, we just liked each others’ music, and even though it was an odd combination it made for a cool show.
JD: How did you guys get hooked up with Yeasayer?
C: Andrew from MGMT introduced me and Anand at a Brightblack Morning Light show. We’ve been friends for a while now and have played with them several times before, we’re mutual fans. They invited us to share their practice space in Greenpoint, so really the tour came together quite naturally.
JD: Can you talk a little bit about the delay of the album coming out, because I went to your show in Denton, without knowing anything about you guys and I bought your album from you without realizing that it didn’t come out until the end of October, and that’s still a ways away, and it seems like that situation would be really frustrating. To have the album finished and ready to go, but still not being able to officially release it…
C: Yes, it’s incredibly frustrating! But in the end, it’s our fault. We took our sweet time recording Does You Inspire You; 9 months, like a baby. So we were actually touring the album and working on music videos before it was even mixed. There’s no ‘normal schedule’ anymore in the music industry, so we’re patient, and curious to see what will happen. We’re already at work on the next one.
JD: If you tagged along with a friend to their little sister’s dance recital and found yourself trapped in a conversation with his/her father and he asked you “What are you doing with your life,” and you answered, “I’m in a band.” And then he wanted to know what kind of music you played, how would you describe it?
C: “Dark, ambient pop.”
JD: Your image (stage presence, artwork, videos) is pretty unique. What all influenced this style?
C: Everything i wanted as a kid- to dress up, dig through other people’s weird old stuff, believe in mystery, trade ghost stories, play hookey. A lot of indie rock gets caught up in the ‘band’ aesthetic; in ‘electric guitar’ aesthetic. Yes, it’s American, but it’s become redundant; if you’re making rock about making rock, what’s the point? It’s for sale at urban outfitters, complete with the polaroid flash and the hangover.
JD: What is your songwriting process like? What inspires you to write? Are there any authors who have affected your writing?
C: we start with a concept, usually a non-musical concept, and then the rest follows intuitively. No, no authors.
JD: Were any of you involved in a previous band, or currently involved in a side project?
C: Tons. I have a classical music background. Before Chairlift, Patrick and I played in a jazz-rock band, and I was in a psych-country band in Belgium before that. Right now I’m doing a side collaboration with Jorge Elbrecht of Violens and Lansing Dreiden, and am working with Sebastian Blanck (one of the early members of Black Dice) on his solo record. I’m also doing a project with six girls from different Brooklyn bands where we get together once a season to record and film an a-capella cover. We’ve already got the first one up on Youtube, Sade’s “Smooth Operator”.
JD: What modern-day bands do you admire?
C: Fiery Furnaces, White Magic, Sebastian Tellier, PJ Harvey, M83.
JD: If you could see any band or person play a show (dead or alive), who would it be?
C: Pink Floyd in their prime.
JD: What are some of the other things you are involved with besides your music?
C: I’ve recently had video and sound pieces shown in galleries in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and St.Louis. I’m directing and editing a music video for a friend, Elizabeth Harper, which is really fun- she let me use my favorite song of hers, “Couldn’t Make You Happy”, and take free reign. It’ll be up in the fall.
JD: If you could collaborate with any person or band, who would you choose?
C: Aaron and Patrick.
JD: If you were a celebrity impersonator, dead or alive, who would you be?
JD: What’s been your best, or most interesting show you’ve played thus far?
C: We had a really fun show in Minneapolis with Ariel, at the venue where Prince shot his Purple Rain video. I love it when the room is so packed that kids are RIGHT up in my face, and i can look at them right in the eye until they freak out and look away.
JD: If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be?
C: Brooklyn. I’d like to travel to other places, but I want to come home to New York.
EAR CANDY BABY!!!: Chairlifts – Evident Utensil