As we released THE HUNTING PARTY, I spoke on various occasions about the inspiration of the album. Part of the answer is that the album is a response to a surplus of danceable, safe, indie-pop music that’s taken over “rock”. A year ago, we knew the indie-pop thing was a style that our band is capable of making. But we were not interested in pursuing it. Why? Because there is a LOT of it out there. It seemed far more exciting for us to go against the grain.
In interviews like this one and this one I plainly explained that, although I enjoy listening to bands like Haim, CHVRCHES, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, M83, and Phoenix, I felt like the genre as a whole was suffering from a surplus of bands in that vein–bands that, in many cases, came after the ones I mentioned. And I made it abundantly clear that my comment was not a dig:
But in spite of all that, in an interview recently, the band CHVRCHES was asked to respond to the comment…kinda. They were asked to respond to a version of the comment that was not consistent with what I actually said. Now, to be clear, it’s a journalist’s tendency (if not their main objective) to sensationalize this kind of commentary, and make a fight where there is none. Let’s not let them have that.
I learned a new term this year: “click bait.” Click bait is when someone titles a piece in a sensationalized way in order to get more clicks. It’s what I did with the title of this post.
There’s a lot I could pick apart about the CHVRCHES interview; after all, the group’s singer criticized me for “saying something that would become a tagline”…by saying something that became a tagline. (Also notable: the journalist printed the title “pointless dick” but the actual words were “pointless dig”). But really, my criticism is not with them or any of those bands. I said their names because I was telling the story of how our album began: not because I hate that style music, but because I hate the volume of it. In contrast, one way of looking at it is: the bands I named are the only ones I singled out as being on my “awesome” list (albeit, there are others who are awesome, and there are yet others who are “not awesome”, but that’s neither here nor there).
Lazy journalists will simplify words and start conflicts they don’t have to fight in. Cowardly bloggers will take sides based on what other blogs think is cool. In contrast, THE HUNTING PARTY is a statement about who we are and what inspires us right now. It’s a stab out into an unknown. Our fight is with conformity, stagnation, inspiration, and even our own band’s complex history. And a big thank you goes out to CHVRCHES and all the bands whose names I’ve mentioned, for helping us find direction with this album. Because sometimes, knowing where you don’t want to go is all the direction you need.