Grizzly Bear: “I don’t care that The Shins did a McDonald’s commercial”

Grizzly Bear will return to our shores to play Harvest Festival this November, armed with a whole new album’s worth of raw and exposed tunes. FL tracked down the band’s creative force Ed Droste to talk about their forthcoming record, Frank Ocean, playing with Beck and why buying in, isn’t always selling out.

You return to Australia this year to play Harvest Festival alongside the likes of Beck and Sigur Ros, is there any bands on that lineup you are particularly looking forward to playing with?

Yeah actually, both Beck and Sigur Rí³s I’ve been a fan of since I was in college or even before, a teenager for Beck. I got to see Sigur Rí³s in concert when their first album came out, well I guess technically not their first but their breakthrough album which I have trouble pronouncing ígí¦tis byrjun and that was an amazing show. I haven’t seen them since, so I’m actually really excited to see them. I saw Jí³nsi play at a festival that we were both performing at, and he was really nice, but I haven’t seen Sigur Rí³s the band, perform for ages. Last year I performed a Serge Gainsbourg benefit with Beck, so I’ve seen Beck perform Serge Gainsbourg but I haven’t seen Beck do Beck. I’m excited for some classic Beck cuts that I get to see, and I hope I’m there when his set is on, because that would be pretty amazing. I really associate some summers with early Beck records, as a youth [laughs].

You’re up against some pretty spectacular live shows in Sigur Rí³s and Beck, have you worked much on translating your sound to a big live setting, like a festival?

We actually have a really good time reinterpreting our music live, but I will say in the past several tests have been challenging. I think this time around we’re going to have more material that will translate to a festival, so that will be nice. We have a light show, but of course I never know what time of day we’re playing so sometimes we get to use that and sometimes we don’t. But for our venue shows, at least in The States and Europe, we have a whole different production going on which is exciting and the lighting is pretty awesome, so I’m excited about that.

So you’ve given us a taste of your new record with Sleeping Ute, can we expect a lot more new tunes upon your visit?

Yeah, wouldn’t that be a bummer if we came all the way there and didn’t play anything new [laughs]? We’re definitely going to play new things, I think that’s what we’re most excited about; is playing the new album live. I think almost every song on the album, we’re going to try and tackle. We’re still in the process of figuring it out, and that’s sort of what the rest of the summer is going to be devoted to, rehearsing it. We’re going to tour with an extra musician, and sort of figure out how we’re going to do it live. There are a lot of layers in our music, so there are some things we have to cut or some things we have to reinterpret. Say if there are three horns, we might only have Chris Taylor do some clarinet for the three-horn part [laughs] but we’re trying to recreate it live as much as possible. We try to reinterpret the songs as a four piece and as a result the songs often take on a life of their own with the live show.

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