Silversun Pickups Are Living In The Present With Better Nature [REVIEW+PHOTOS] REVIEW+PHOTOS: SILVERSUN PICKUPS @ THE GRAMMY MUSEUM 1/25/17
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The Grammy Museum regularly hosts intimate interviews with, and performances by, recording artists from all genres of music. In the 200 seat Clive Davis Theatre, attendees are afforded a unique experience, enabling them to learn more about their favorite performing artists while also getting treated to a short performance in the acoustically sound room. To learn more about upcoming guests and to purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.
In 2015, Silversun Pickups released their fourth full-length album, “Better Nature”. With funds sourced from fans through a Pledgemusic campaign, the band was able to release the album on their own label, New Machine, and, following its release, have been touring relentlessly in support of it, giving audiences a taste of the sonic barrage of high-powered rock that they are known for. On January, 25, 2017, in an intimate venue for lucky fans, they stripped their live show down for a short acoustic session and also sat for a revealing interview.
The interview was a joy to watch. The bonds of familial friendship between Brian Aubert, Christopher Guanlao, Joe Lester and Nikki Monninger was clearly evident as they recalled funny band anecdotes (i.e. went to lunch meetings with record label executives just because they were poor and were hungry) and bands that floated each of their respective boats (i.e. Kate Tempest, Car Seat Headrest, Future Islands). But the questions asked by the Grammy Museum’s host also delved into a number of other interesting topics, which their frontman, Brian Aubert, spoke on, including their personal approach to songwriting, the band’s maturity and a closer look into their last album.
ON THE BAND’S MATURITY:
“It’s different, but you’re still on fire. It’s just that you don’t have youthful angst, and also you just don’t have 20 hours to watch “Back to the Future” with a friend who just called […] I’m twenty. Let’s do it […] as life just happens, profound massive things happen, I think you’re mad in different ways […] It moves in different directions and you just have to follow it. You have to keep yourself interested, and for us it’s not even a thought. It’s hard to intellectualize our records, and it’s hard to intellectualize our band. […] We don’t do it thinking that we’ll have to explain it to people. You just do it. Listening to older albums or playing them live you almost see where things have shifted, but the fire is the same.”
ON INFLUENCE OF MOTION PICTURE SCORES:
“Soundtracks have been a part of all of our lives. I used to listen to soundtracks before I listened to pop music as a kid. Even now, to this day, when I’m at home there a Sirius satellite station called “Cinematic” where they’ll just play scores, and it’s just so interesting when you don’t know what the movie is, and you think, “That is the most amazing score, and I can’t wait to see the movie,” and it’s “Maid In Manhattan”… but the score rules. [Editor’s Note: Award winning composer Alan Silvestri did the film’s score]
Soundtracks is how we describe things to each other. Especially like “Swoon”, which is our second record. The second record, things got a little heavy, there were more people involved, and it was supposed to be a quartet but it became a 16 piece orchestra and […] and there was so much going on … to explain it to people, the only we could do it, we couldn’t do it musically, we always did it like … a light show” or a part in a movie that doesn’t exist, like, “This is the part where the lights go big,” and we even used that to explain to each other to explain how to play it, and that’s been continuous ever since. And Ennio Morricone, it’s not that we listen to him, but we never don’t listen to him […] It’s always kinda like in our DNA.”
ON THE “MEANING” OF THEIR MUSIC:
“A Poem is a poem, and a song is a song. And when you hear these words, or the words that you think they are, they’re created in some other new world, and you never really wrong on the vibe […] and two year later it could have a different meaning.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF “HOME” ON THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
“For us, home is necessary for us to be creative, cause [I] think we’re inspired by being normal in a way. Like, being on your soil, or being in your traffic […] being in your thing. Touring is fun, and we enjoy it, but it’s not something to write about. It’s not creative for us.”
ON “BEING IN THE MOMENT” WHILE RECORDING “BETTER NATURE” :
“The last record was all about nostalgia and past tense, and thinking about everything from the point of view of looking back. Better Nature had to be present… super super present tense. Every single thing about it had to be in the moment and thought about in that second. And what it ended up really being was trying to make sure that you were a human being. Learning how to do it … and screwing up … and going through all these things, but I think that at the end of the day trying to be decent, not just for yourself but for everybody. I feel […] right now, in this time of the world that we’re living in […] just be decent. The people up there aren’t, and don’t let them bring [you down].”
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— Derrick K. Lee (@methodman13) January 31, 2017
— Derrick K. Lee (@methodman13) January 31, 2017
Derrick K. Lee is a music attorney, blogger, concert photographer and co-owner of Blurred Culture. He goes to a lot of shows and sometimes he writes good. Music is his boo.
All photos are edited with iPhoto. Lightroom edits can be made upon request. For prints and/or approvals for special uses of any photo taken by Derrick, please contact him directly.