For the past decade, the indie pop band Yeasayerhas been making music that does its best to defy lazy categorization. The band experiments with chants, harmonies, tribal sounds, weird rhythms, and electronics to create songs that are often poppy, a little psychedelic, and never predictable. Yeasayer's fourth record, "Amen & Goodbye," just came out, and they came into Studio 360 to talk with Kurt Andersen about their creative process and finding inspiration in films and the news.
Kurt Andersen: One of the words that is attached to you is "experimental" --- do you buy that?
Ira Wolf Tuton: Definitely. We all came about in the era of bedroom recording and around every corner there's a new piece of gear or software to help you record and produce in a different way, approach songwriting a different way. And we've never been the band where the three of us get in a room, strum acoustics, and figure out an arrangement.
Experimental in certain regions can also mean pretentious and unlistenable.
IWT: We can turn pretention on like that. Just give me the word.
When you're writing music are there usually specific inspirations?
IWT: Something that's always brought us together is to talk about the music through film, or a certain scene of a certain movie: this could be the music from "The French Connection"or something.
KA: And you talk about songs that way as you're doing them?
Chris Keating: I think I'm a much bigger fan of movies than I am of music. I think music probably has more emotional resonance, but at this point in my life, I spend a lot more time watching movies.
Yeasayer is Chris Keating, Ira Wolf Tuton, and Anand Wilder with Chris Berry on drums.