Destroyer Got Rejected By Jazz Festivals, Which Is Good for Pop Fans

Categories: Q&A

Dan Bejar of Destroyer
If you are excited about Destroyer coming to town -- and we certainly are -- you can thank the world of jazz. When songwriter/vocalist Dan Bejar, who essentially is Destroyer, set out for another round of touring behind the 18-month-old, critically adored Kaputt, he had a specific goal in mind.

"I tried to book a tour entirely composed of jazz festivals," Bejar says. "That was kind of the impetus. It failed miserably, so we're just doing a normal tour."

Kaputt, with its softcore gauziness and synthetic textures, shares a certain commonality with the kind of smooth jazz you used to hear on KYOT. But the jazzbos weren't having it.

"[The jazz of Kaputt is] definitely kind of tapered into a kind of synth-based disco balladry," Bejar says, "but the stuff floating around it has some overlap with that world. But I don't think the jazz world is too convinced; they shut us down. We're playing a few in Canada, and maybe one in Europe, but in general, they weren't fooled."

dan bejar.jpg
Up on the Sun: It's funny that jazz festivals didn't book Destroyer -- there are certainly elements of jazz fusion at work on Kaputt.

Dan Bejar: I take that as the highest compliment.

The record truly started a lot of conversations between my friends about "authentic sounds."

I think I knew I was making a really inauthentic record, so I wasn't scared. I knew that I was going to be piecing a record together in the studio, and in my terminology, that's inauthentic, even though that's the way everyone makes records. I knew I was going to make a record that embraces studio production and computer- editing wholeheartedly. A record that embraced MIDI, so that you can build songs up and take them apart at will. I had to incorporate these other things that came from that spirit.

That being said, I don't think the saxophone as being an emblem of that world. Destroyer has always been into '70s rock stuff, and in my book, if the Stones or Lou Reed or Joni Mitchell or Marvin Gaye or Bowie or Roxy Music get to have saxophone in their music, I want mine. There's a tradition to all of it. It all comes from maybe distinct sources that are considered pure, and over the years other sources, commercial sources, feed off of it like vampires and turn it into this other thing. Some of that is horrible, and some of that is really good, just like in all things in life.

...if the Stones or Lou Reed or Joni Mitchell, or Marvin Gaye or Bowie or Roxy Music get to have saxophone in their music, I want mine.

--Dan Bejar, Destroy

Do you get the sense that we've spent so much time talking about irony that we have almost forgot what we were talking about in the first place?

Maybe because I don't play an instrument all that well, I'm not really married to a discussion of what sounds are authentic and which ones are real or human or vital. [Some music is a] perfect document of people performing on an instrument. That can be really boring or really cool, and the same thing goes for music that is really tweaked in the studio. (Continued next page.)

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Category: Music

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