Of Montreal


Written by Hatti Whitman
06 Monday 06th February 2012

Very excited, I’ve been working every day for the last few weeks on tour rehearsals with the band. This whole record has seemed to happen very quickly, most of it in about three months, so it still feels quite fresh.

This is your eleventh album and it’s fair to say that there are a few surprises for your long-term fans. Were you going for something a bit different?

I wanted to experiment, take some chances, explore new territory; I wanted to make a record that was more connected to my personal life, not so much based around a persona, so a lot of the lyrics are very personal and come directly from my experiences and from my emotional state.

What were been the main influences you drew on [for implementing these changes]?

To some degree I was influenced by writers like William Burroughs; Naked Lunch is just such an imaginative journey, very unruly and difficult to classify as a novel, as well as Tropic of Cancer for its confessional qualities. Any time you stumble on a new source of inspiration it’s very exciting, you get a new spark of energy pushing you in different directions. Suddenly everything starts flowing, just happening very organically, and you overcome the aspects that are a struggle. Musically, I was pulling influences from avant-garde classical music – I’d say [composers] Penderecki, Charles Ives and György Ligeti have all had a very strong influence on me.

That’s pretty eclectic! Is there anything new that you’re into at the moment?

I haven’t really been in that state of mind, to be honest. There’s sort of a natural progression to have a period of productivity and inspiration and then a period of hibernation [laughs]. I’m in a sort of hibernating state of mind right now. Actually no, it's just all my creative energy is focussed on preparing for the tour. It takes a long time for the band to get it together and make sure everything sounds good.

Would you agree that the album seems to take the listener through distinct moods?

When making it I wasn't really thinking about the listener, more just creating something I’m really excited about. I find it more satisfying to create a sort of free composition style, where you can go where you want at any point, switch mood, switch sound. As a composer, as a musician, to have that sense of freedom is very stimulating. I’m not trying to write the perfect pop song.

It’s not really a record where you just listen to one song though, is it?

No, I wanted a sequence in the record, so once I started listening to it in the order it’s in now I realised that if I didn’t listen all the way through I’d feel that something hadn’t been resolved and it made me feel agitated, like I'd left something unfinished. If you listen to it all the way through there’s definitely a sense of resolution; it’s a bit like if you stop watching a film halfway you’re lost without the conclusion.

You said earlier you wanted to be more personal with this record – have you been?

Well it was definitely a journey of self-discovery, yeah, in a way it’s a very self-consumed album. I was working through a lot of things, baring my soul and wanting to be vulnerable, be sensitive to things. I was trying to use this as a way out of the darkness, controlling and using negative energy creatively. I think people will connect with that feeling of isolation, of wanting to communicate something very powerful.

Do you have a favourite song on PS, or one that stands out for a particular reason?

I like them all a lot, each track is fully evolved, with it’s own personality. Maybe if I had to choose I’d say ‘Ye, Renew the Plaintiff’. Maybe [Laughs].

If I was going to pick one word to describe this album I’d say forceful. Do you think that’s fair?

Yeah definitely. It was very inspired by John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and use of primal scream therapy. There’s a lot of passion and frustration but then it’s not a completely bleak album, there’s also hopefulness there [laughs] or hope for hopefulness or something anyway.

What word would you choose then?

Um, I would say ‘troubled’. I feel like there’s a lot of soul-searching, a lot of anguish and a lot of struggle to resolve that.

You’re coming to the UK on tour in April – are you excited?

Very excited about coming the UK, very excited about being on tour again.

Paralytic Stalks is out on Polyvinyl Records on 6th February, and you can listen to a stream of the record here. For more about Of Montreal and their tour, visit their website.

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