Exclusive Interview: A Place To Bury Strangers
by Chuck Norton
Editor’s Note: After a four month hiatus, I’m back with this exclusive interview with A Place To Bury Strangers – a band with whom I had an interview fall-though in 2009.
The Brooklyn-based band A Place To Bury Strangers (APTBS), known for their devastatingly loud live performances, released their third album, Worship, in June 2012.
Formed in the early 2000′s, the band’s rise has been a steady assent since before the release of their debut, self-titled 2007 LP. Building a dedicated fan-base through their live performances and unique sound, the band’s latest album was solely constructed by the band.
“We made this, we recorded this, we did everything,” said APTBS front-man Oscar Ackerman. “Yes, we chose to do this and no, we didn’t have to but we think it is pretty cool. No producer made us. We didn’t go to school for any of this and we don’t have time for tutorials.”
Added bassist Dion Lunadon, “It is our vision of what our music should sound like in 2012, not someone else’s interpretation. Every sound on the album is made by us and our tools; tools created by us, used on no other recordings, and purposefully built for this project.”
He continued, “We are not trying to reinvent ourselves, but simply push ourselves further in all aspects of our music.”
Before the band set-out on its current Summer 2012 North American tour, I had a chance to catch up with Lunadon – who joined the band in 2010 – and discuss the new album, their live performances and creative process.
You can follow them on Twitter @APTBS or visit their Web site for more information, including dates on their current tour.
DeadJournalist.com brings you this exclusive interview with Dion Lunadon of A Place To Bury Strangers.
With the band’s third album, Worship, out for about a month, how pleased are you with the final outcome of the album?
DL: It’s great to finally have it out there. After working on it for so long it’s nice to see it in the public domain. I’m really proud of what we did and can’t wait to get onto the next one.
How was the process of writing and record this album?
DL: I see it as a pretty natural progression from the last two albums. I don’t think we were consciously trying to do anything. We were never trying to reinvent ourselves but also looking and moving forward and distill what this band is really about which is unique to us.
Was there a particular musical or personal influence that most impacted you during this process?
DL: I suppose my relationship with Oliver, really … and New York. For the first time since moving to this country I feel a sense of home and a lot of that has to do with joining this band and being so welcomed into it and making real friends.
I felt like an outside element being invited into something special that is exclusive in a way. Not exclusive like a night club but in the way where maybe they felt I was the right kind of person to be allowed into something more real than that and creative. That was inspiration for me.
What was the biggest challenge during the construction of the album? Was there a song that you seemed to revisit throughout the process?
DL: Some came easier than others, as they always do. But on the whole we picked away at it as one entity as we wrote mixed and mastered it all at the same time which is not conventional but very interesting. Albums always seem to be challenging. I’d love to write one one day that just came easy and quick!
Do you find that, as a song-writer, you are always chasing the perfect song?
DL: Not really. And if I did I’ve probably given up on that. The imperfections are my favorite parts nowadays.
How does the band’s live performance of the new songs compare to your previous live shows – ones that were know as some of the loudest many music fans have seen?
DL: I think they sound more aggressive live. It’s still loud as fuck. We have not tamed it down at all. In fact we are always trying to do the opposite to that. You can expect a bunch of the new songs on this tour. It’s the album tour!
Do you try to maintain consistency from show-to-show or do you tailor each performance and set to location?
DL: Every show is different. We write a different set list one hour before every single show. It’s keeps us on our toes and eradicates complacency and boredom. That can make things inconstant but I think we have a fairly good grip on it because that’s what we have always done. We have tried to teach ourselves to thrive on the unforeseen circumstances and it keeps it unpredictable and on edge.
What is the most bizarre event that has occurred to you while on tour?
DL: Woke up with dog shit all over my hotel room.
What are the biggest challenges for you – both as a performer and personally – for being on the road? Is it challenging to maintain balance given the frequent touring, recording, etc.?
DL:Yeah, there is a balance. And I have a wife that I love hanging out with, too. It’s all a balance and as long as you have it then life is good. Too much of one thing can be too much of one thing. Diversity is good.
Has there been something that was a disappointment to the band that, in retrospect, turned out to beneficial to the band’s success?
DL: I honestly can’t think of anything major. As you say, it usually all works out for the best.
From a business perspective, how has the digital audience changed the way you look to monetize the band’s work?
DL: I really enjoy the business side of things. I think it can be really creative and exciting. Things are constantly changing in that respect and it’s exciting times.
Is there an artist that you’ve encountered recently that you’ve been recommending to your friends?
DL: New Life. Buddies from LA.
What were you listening to in 2002?
DL: Same as now … good music!
Which do you prefer: MP3, CD, Tape or Vinyl?
DL: Vinyl, hands down.
Web site(s) you read regularly?
One Drink. One Movie. One Album.
DL: Fairy Milk, Deep Water, Ramones – Ramones
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