On accolades, reviews and influences
LCD Soundsystem Interview pt.4

Today we continue with the fourth part of our epic interview with James Murphy about LCD Soundsystem's latest, and final, album, 'This Is Happening' (Read ClashMusic's review HERE.)

Read more from our epic interview with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy:
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5


A lyric on new song ‘Pow Pow’ seems to be related to North American Scum?

Probably, mostly just that line I think. Which I thought was fun because I had a list of things I wanted to get into songs. I wanted to have a song just about a moment where people recognise that what they know about the States is from television. Unless you live there you know most about the US because they export tons of media and other Countries don’t export as much media which is why all Americans think that English people live in period pieces.

It’s mostly Merchant Ivory movies that get exported. Like everyone’s either in Oasis or in a period piece. So it’s either period pieces or the voices of bad guys in all science fiction films. Like all the guys in Star Wars movies. The higher ups who are always like ‘Lord Vader’. All the Romans are always English. You have very suave spies.

What was the position when singing ‘Pow Pow?’

From the position of singing about positions. I know that sounds stupid but I don’t always know what the position is to illuminate it. Like, if I did, I wouldn’t write the song. Like if I knew how to go "This is the position I’m seeing it from". The best position song I’ve ever written I think is ‘Losing My Edge’ but if someone asks me what the position is then that’s like fucking. I make the song because I don’t know how else to explain the position. So the position about ‘Pow Pow’ is about trying to get this oscillation, so it’s the last song I wrote for the record and trying to figure out the ways in which I make records and the back and force of watching the band change. This is the only song after all the ten year reviews came in. All the 'Sound of Silver' reviews at the end of the decade came in and my head kind of exploded.

Well, people lived with it for eleven months.

Well, I just expected us to come back, book these shows, expect to play small. At the end of your tour you end, and you start again here and it’s just normal. But we booked these shows and then the reviews came out and I think a lot of people found the record that I didn’t expect.

Clash Magazine Issue 50

This is an excerpt from an article that appears in the 50th issue of Clash Magazine. Pick it up in stores from May 7th.

You can read the full issue online HERE and subscribe to Clash Magazine HERE.


What was the biggest accolade you got for the last album?

There’s been a lot of very nice things. A lot of them a very sad. People who’ve lost someone. There was definitely a feeling of... Well a couple of emails I got of people who lost somebody who ‘Someone Great’ was an important song for them.

I met the guy who does the design at YSL, (the fashion house) couple of years ago and he said in general, not just about the record, it made him feel not alone. He works really hard, and makes these clothes and tries to be a good designer and tried to be himself and has to find a balance between making whatever the fuck he wants and honouring someone else’s legacy and respecting that there’ a company there and that people have jobs.

And he was just saying that "Your music makes me feel like I’m not alone. That I can talk to you and we would understand each other". And I thought that was as good of a compliment as I could get about making music that he could feel that there would be something to talk about. They would feel not by themselves, not isolated.

Because I kind of feel like songs can be easily miscommunicated, songs can mean that you’re cool just as a singer. Songs can mean that you’re talented and it can be about you. Or songs can just be very vague lyrics that can be translated for anybody. Like "That’s our song with me and my girlfriend". I try to encode as much specificity as I can like in a zip file so it can go through a process of being a band that someone has a preconceived impression about or sees live, and it gets to you and hopefully you can unpack it get as close to the original meaning as possible. And that can only be done through a sort of type of linguistic simplicity or specificity and musical specificity to separate it from other sounding records.

As long as my record sounds different from other records it’s easier for that to happen I think. And that felt like a compliment to that I think. He was like, that’s what I’ve been listening to for the past year while working on this. That was as nice a compliment as I could get.

How would you describe the changes to yourself as a person in the last three years?

My life is very different. I split up with my wife two years ago between the two records that’s probably the biggest difference. Having a different sense of home, not a reduced sense of home but just a different one. But I don’t know how that’s effected me yet. Sometimes you just don’t know how things effect you.

You don’t wear your influences out too much.

Really? I feel like they’re just giant hats! I feel like my influences are pretty loud but that they’re stable. But this record I feel I’ve got a little more into the stuff I was into as a teenager. I feel like it’s a little more new romantic. I let myself be a little bit sillier and feyer, more about love and things like that which I really don’t do. But I remember how powerful that can be, so that’s a difference.

Words by Matthew Bennett


Read more from our epic interview with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy:
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

Read ClashMusic's review of the new LD Soundsystem album 'This Is Happening' HERE.

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