Introducing a new tour video series from David Bazan
It’s been a little over a year since David Bazan (formerly of Pedro the Lion) released his intensely personal full-length solo debut. Since then, he’s been on the road playing house concerts and clubs around the country, bringing this stirring collection of songs about discovering doubt where there was once faith to countless contexts.
Now, as he sets out on a final leg of the Curse Your Branches tour, he’s decided to film a series of behind-the-scenes performance videos to share the journey with his fans. We’ll be debuting some of the videos on this site, so check back regularly.
ND caught up with Bazan the day before he left on tour, to chat about the way the record has grown on him over the past year, how the songs have evolved, and what was the impetus behind this new video series. Here’s an excerpt from that interview, followed by the first video in the series:
Kim Ruehl: Since this is the last run for Curse Your Branches, how have the songs grown on you?
David Bazan: I really like the songs, still. I’m trying to think if there’s an exception to that. For a minute I didn’t like “Bless This Mess,” but then we very slightly revamped it and now I like it a lot.
The songs have continued to really please me. Especially because the subject matter is so specific, I didn’t know how long some of it would last. Even though I was in a very different position in a lot of ways when I wrote the songs, and I’ve processed a lot of those thoughts and issues…even just having written the songs and playing them so often, they still pack a punch for me. I’m able to be present while I’m singing each of them. Which is much nicer than it could be the other way around.
KR: I was going to say, the record comes off as sort of a purging, and I’d imagine once that’s over it would be hard to get back to that place, but no?
DB: Yeah I was imagining it wouldn’t last. I haven’t played “In Stitches” in a show in about three months, but I’m able to get right back there, and the songs themselves are open-ended enough in certain cases that I can superimpose my current concerns over top of them and they mean something a little different.
KR: Where did the idea come from for these videos?
DB: In 2004, on Pedro the Lion’s first Achilles Heel tour, we had audio every day. We had an audio rig and we recorded all the shows, so it would take audio from the better-sounding shows and put them up everyday, and have a free download. It was just sort of a way to publicize the tour and have people stay tuned in. now video is so easy, we wanted to do the same kind of thing this time. Since video is so easy, it became a video [project].
KR: It used to be enough – even as little as 10 years ago – to just make great music and play great shows, but now , especially for indie artists, it seems you have to give more access to your life and the behind-the-scenes…do you think that demystifies the art? Or does it just enhance the experience for the audience?
DB: I probably have a unique relationship with that whole dynamic. My posture over the last ten or twelve years has been one that I think tends to demystify the art. I’m always really frank and a little too open, or something, in interviews. I’ve had a little bit of a problem with that for a long time. Feeling pressure – not from anyone in particular – but just…you see artists who are very mysterious and it adds to their power over people, and I’ve thought man if I could keep my fucking mouth shut and not have to blab on about every little question, it would be better. But that’s just kind of who I am, so I’ve just gotten used to that. I feel like my stuff is pretty demystified already [laughs]. Because of that, I’m hesitant to get into social networking. There’s a sense in which some people are really open to their fans and are willing to interact with their fans in certain ways. Other people just do it because it’s how you sell shit. Whatever, people are going to do what they’re going to do, but I feel like that’s kind of creepy, so I have a real knee-jerk reaction. I’m not into just doing stuff that’s straight-up marketing, if it’s nothing that I’d be into doing or excited about – that kind of interaction…it has to be a real interaction on some level.
KR: It sounds like for you maybe it’s more just another form of art than it is marketing…
DB: That’s what the hope is. It’s just showing things we would do [on tour], and enjoy doing. I’m thinking this is the kind of thing, when I used to want to be in a band, that I would imagine us doing. Video can only add to that. That’s the hope.
Now, without further ado, we present the first tour video from David Bazan: