ATP Week - Deerhoof Interview

ATP's experimental successes talk label matters...
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For ClashMusic.com’s ATP Week, we’ve not just been talking with festival-associated acts and individuals. OH NO SIRS, we’re also taking a look at the ATP record label’s brightest talents. Most of who have played the festival too. Bonus.

First up are San Francisco-based experimental pop foursome Deerhoof, who first released through ATP back in 2005 with their sixth studio album ‘Milk Man’. Unlike other ATP acts, the band is licensed by the label rather than being signed exclusively – their US album releases are handled by Kill Rock Stars.

Above is a taste of the Deerhoof’s singular sound, the track ‘Chandelier Searchlight’ taken from their latest album ‘Offend Maggie’. Below, vocalist and bassist Satomi Matsuzaki answers Clash’s questions.

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How did you come to work with ATP in the first place?
Deerhoof got invited to play ATP’s festival in LA, which Sonic Youth curated. We met Barry Hogan there; then we got invited again and again to the ATP festivals. And, at some point, Barry asked us to be on the ATP label.

What do you think the label’s reputation is, amongst the music-buying public? What does it ‘stand for’?
Many people know about ATP festivals, but I honestly don't know the label's reputation is. I don't think in 2009 people care much about the label as a tastemaker. People can download any music (or go to record stores, if you have time on weekends) and some of them turn out to be on ATP, Kill Rock Stars, P-Vine and million other labels. It's a nice surprise.

Do you feel the label stands alone from the festival, or should the two be seen as connected? Could one exist without the other?
They seem connected, very much because ATP recording artists pages are included on the atpfestival.com website, so I assume the festival is the daddy for the label. I don't think they need to be, or should be, separated.

What was the experience of playing ATP like for you? Is there a festival that comes close to what it does?
We have played at ATP festivals twice in La-la land (LA, presumably – Ed) and five times in the UK. There were so, so many bands I wanted to see and they all played at the same time so I had to plan out my schedule minute by minute. It was excitement overload. I didn't want to see any shows for a while after that. Cecil Taylor and Big Star were the highlights from ATP festivals that I have been to. ATP is quite unique because they have themes and concepts like ‘Don't Look Back’, popular bands reuniting and curating, et cetera. There are small types of events like this in Tokyo. Otomo Yoshihide sometimes curates improvisation live shows, a bit like small festivals. Otomo gives them certain directions and rules that they have to follow.

Does working with ATP give you a degree more freedom than another label might, do you think?
ATP license our albums through our US label, Kill Rock Stars, so actually we are different from other ATP bands that have directly signed with them. Freedom is nice, though.

Can you tell us about your latest release for the ATP label?
It's called ‘Offend Maggie’. It's a raw punk harmonious pop album. Ed (Rodriguez) joined us on this album and he plays like he’s John’s twin; John (Dieterich) is our other guitar player. When they play together, they sound like one person playing a double-neck guitar. I believe their heartbeat rate is the same. We haven't done a tour for ‘Offend Maggie’ in the UK yet! That’s coming soon.

Do you have an appreciation – a love, even – of other acts on the ATP label?
I appreciate the ATP bands that have played with us. They were interesting, because Deerhoof seems different from them.

If ATP didn’t stand for All Tomorrow’s Parties, it would stand for… what?
A Totem Pole.

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Deerhoof - 'The Perfect Me'


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‘Offend Maggie’ is out now. Find Deerhoof on MySpace HERE.

Read our exclusive ATP Week interview with ATP founder Barry Hogan HERE.

Read our Beginners Guide to ATP HERE.

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