Damien Jurado on his new album and Moby collaboration
Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son:
Damien Jurado speaks about his new album and collaborating with Moby.
Reggae? Damien Jurado?
No, this prolific mainstay of Seattle’s folk-rock community hasn’t jumped ship into a new genre. But his forthcoming album proves, once again, Jurado isn’t afraid to innovate in his approach to making music, including drawing on creative elements of dub reggae.
As he prepares to embark on a three-month tour of the United States and Europe, Jurado takes a moment to talk about his new album, his recent collaboration with Moby, and his love of Washington State.
Your new album Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son tells the story of a man who decides not to return from a quest to find himself. Do the songs work together to tell a complete story? Is there a happy ending?
Though vague, yes, I do think that the story is complete. And I think that listeners will hear that.
Happy ending? Sure. I think there is a happy ending, which is new for me. Other albums of mine are pretty open ended.
This is your third album with musician-producer Richard Swift, who you’ve credited with helping you open up creatively. On this album, the two of you explore making a record with a “reggae mentality.” What do you mean by this?
Reggae, especially dub reggae, is very exploratory in the realm of sound—remixing the song and stretching the sound. To bring that influence to this latest album was very important.
You’ve also recently recorded the lyrics for “Almost Home,” a song on Moby’s new album. How did you meet and come to work with Moby? What was it like to collaborate with him?
Moby was great to work with. He contacted me the summer of 2012 about collaborating, and I immediately said “yes.”
The process of collaboration was basically Moby e-mailing me the song, and then me writing the lyrics and melody. It was a great opportunity. I would do it again.
Your music is well received in Europe, where a number of shows on your upcoming tour will be performed. What do you think it is about your music that makes it a good fit for Europe?
I am not quite sure. If I had to guess, I would say it was the lyrics…Either way, I am very thankful.
You’re known for your love of your home state, Washington. Does some essence of this show up in your music? As you travel on tour, what do you most miss about Washington?
I think it will naturally show up either way. And I would say that is how it is for most bands, whether if they be from Washington or Texas. My state and its surroundings are very much embedded in everything that I do.
When I travel, what I miss most is just my home: my kids, my surroundings, the bridges, the water, the trees…I am very lucky to live in a city like Seattle.
Interview: Sarah Lin Bhatia
Photo: Steve Gullick
Album cover: courtesy Secretly Canadian