You once said that when you were in your late teens you heard Pavement and Guided By Voices for the first time and that really influenced you, because they were so lyrically focused, but the thing that really affected you was the Manchester and English shoegaze scene, but when you got into the American scene, you put aside a lot of things you loved, perhaps to make space for all the new stuff, and didn’t take Morrissey’s Your Arsenal to your heart until your thirties. Perhaps it was a good thing, what a treasure to come across later on. Who knows what I would have done with such an influence when I was twenty years old, I probably would have used it for evil instead of good [laughs]. In the hands of a young Canadian, who knows what could have happened. It’s strange, my introduction to music was really specifically through Manchester bands, and also through Jesus and Mary Chain, and then all the shoegaze stuff that happened after, and My Bloody Valentine were like a sickness to me, I think I went to sleep listening to Loveless every night for years. I don’t know what that happened then. I think maybe it was me getting a sense of making music myself, and I started to become more interested in tangible things, like the local scene in Vancouver, and then some of the American scene, and you get caught up in it, as it becomes your world. There is a certain style of that time, UK music of the early nineties, that I was really inspired by that certainly wasn’t happening here, and looking back I can see all of the influences. In retrospect leaving it behind seems wrong, but then it is kind of cool to discovery Morrissey records in your thirties, because it is so usually associated with teenage years. It’s kind of like how I discovered The Doors in my thirties [laughs]. I generally don’t admit that to just anyone, because I get a lot of flack for it [laughs].
We all have moments like that, imagine all the people who have never listened to Dusty Springfield or Rakim. It’s true, and for me to get excited about music, even once in a while, is something. Kaputt connected me with all that again. I had drifted away from rock music, not consciously, but I started getting a lot more into instrumental music I guess, from sixties jazz and seventies ambient music, stuff that did not hinge on vocals or more traditional songwriters.
There also seems to a sense of contentment on the record, though that is quite a dreaded word. [Pauses for a very long time] Yes, I think maybe that is true [laughs]. It’s hard to say, but I think I have made peace with some things, perhaps. There is definitely a calm at the heart of the record. Even though, I have to say that what I am talking about on Kaputt feels a little alien to me, as it is not normally how I sing and write, and I am not sure why that is, so I have a hard time with it in a way, but I do think there is a definite calm to the record in the face of horror [laughs]. There is maybe a feeling that I am more at peace with what most definitely is a lot of horror, and when you are slightly removed from it, and you recognise that the world is a dark place, but also see that there is a corner for you in it, where you can just be calm, that’s comforting.
Just the act of creating anything, whether a record, a poem, a quilt – art makes things more bearable. I think that too. Even some of the lyrics of this record might push on despair, but the tone of my voice in the record is not one of despair.
How do you feel you have translated your sense of warm despair into a live context? Destroyer sets are tricky. I don’t play live too much compared to a lot of bands, but I think that it is going to be very different with this record, it has felt different live. Generally the set-up has been louder and more fucked up than the records previously, and I generally drink too much and lose my voice halfway through the tour. There are some shows that can be good in my mind, but then there are others that are really rough. I am not a big fan of living in a van on a highway, or a rock club for a month of my life. My desire to travel doesn’t really consist of that, this one day here or there, it melds into one when you repeat the process weeks on end.
I am a homebird really. I don’t miss too much of society in general, and to be released constantly in the world isn’t great, it is something I grapple with. But when I am on stage I am generally pretty into it, though I have this reputation of being bored or relcacitrant, but that isn’t the case at all. I suppose I have never really put together a “crowd-pleasing” live show. The tour I did for Your Blues, which is in some ways reminiscent of Kaputt was essentially with a flash-punk band [laughs], which I kind of decided to go for, just to have a different interpretation of it, some people were into that record, and hated the live show, and some people hated the record but thought the live show was good! It’s always been a bit that way. The very first tour we did was behind the album This Night which came out after Streethawk, which for the diehards was a record they really kind of liked, and we played these long sprawling noisy songs, but then it was all in the wake of New Pornographers blowing up, and some people would wander in expecting to hear something like that, but would find out pretty fast that it wasn’t! So there were a few years there where Destroyer was seen as a strange commodity [laughs].
Hopefully you will get to Dublin soon, it is such a huge shame that you haven’t made it here for a Destroyer show yet. There has been some mild talk of visiting, but I don’t know how that translates into reality. I would love to. In Europe it is theoretically feasible to hit every city you want to play in, but the reality is a little different. I really want to get to Dublin very soon, I have always wanted to play there. I think perhaps I have a very romanticised idea of the city, based on ideas I had when I was younger, and the writers lives that I am interested in that lived there, it is so historically rich, especially compared to where I come from. Dublin seems like a pretty special place with a pretty special truth attached.