Ed Droste on Grizzly Bear’s new album: “It’s my favourite thing we’ve ever done”
August 22nd 2017
Image: Tom Hines
- Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear :: Interview with Darren Lesaguis
It’s been five years since Grizzly Bear released their critically acclaimed ‘Shields’, and now they’ve returned with their fifth record, ‘Painted Ruins’. But as frontman Ed Droste shared over the phone with Darren Lesagius, Grizzly Bear are not a band to subscribe to time stamps.
“We always operate under the mindset of ‘we have no idea whether we’re making another album or not.’ It’s always been that way, even in the beginning. Our biggest fear is to force something.”
The meticulous arrangements featured on ‘Painted Ruins’ are evidence of the band’s patience, as well as their desire to explore each member’s musical voice. Indeed, Grizzly Bear’s reputation as a “democratic” band stems from more than their horizontal stage set up. While the foundations for ‘Painted Ruins’ were laid by vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Chris Taylor, years of writing and recording together means Droste, Taylor, Daniel Rossen, and Chris Bear exercise their own uniquely expressive ideas in complete collaboration with each other. There is one member, however, who stands out on much of the album: percussionist Chris Bear.
“I feel like this time we were like ‘let’s let the drums really shine’…We’ve always recorded ourselves so you can see a slow progression in terms of Chris Taylor’s ability as a producer and engineer to let things pop. Each album is an evolution and this one feels like a huge jump, sonically speaking, and I think there was a definite effort to let the drums be front centre. No one was ever being like ‘Bear! that’s too much drumming! No!’ It was like ‘yes Bear, go for it. Explore, do your thing.’”
The democracy remains strong, and so too is this freedom extended to the listener. Droste’s lyrics are simultaneously pointed and vague, offering fans a map rather than forcing a path.
“My favourite type of music is when I can find my own meaning in it, and it’s not spelled out in front of my face. I feel like you can attach yourself more that way, personally. I love a good storyteller too, but sometimes those kinds of stories can be a little alienating because you just can’t relate.”
It’s a testament to Grizzly Bear’s universality and longevity they can remain so personal and sincere, while also communicating universal emotional truths.
Listen to the full interview above as Darren and Droste shared a few emotional truths of their own, talking about one of Droste’s favourite artists right now, an upcoming ‘Heathers’ inspired music video and how to camp things up for the queer folk.
Painted Ruins is out now.