Silversun Pickups’ Brian Aubert Talks Neck Of The Woods, Memoir Titles, & Wargames In Exclusive Interview
[pullquote quote="Neck Of The Woods to me sounds sexual. It sounds like a horror movie that's not around. It sounds like a desire to want to get in but you can't. Or, a desire to want to pull out something from the center into your fringe. "]“Cleaning my house? I’m a Grammy-nominated artist! Of course I’m cleaning my house. I’m cleaning someone else’s house.” Silversun Pickups frontman, Brian Aubert, is well-known for the shimmering vampiric brood of his voice fused seamlessly into the atmospheric post-grunge fuzz of his guitar.
One might assume that the creature behind such a voice lives in a fantastical dream world, but prompted by his friendship with interviewer Kat Corbett, the breathy Aubert (Corbett asked him if he was “cleaning his house”) is full of zingy retorts and a mirthful lucidity.
It’s been three years since the release of Silversun Pickups’ last album, Swoon, and most likely the subsequent press rounds, so Aubert quips that he told his publicist he’s using this interview for “practice.”
Two days earlier, Aubert confirmed over Twitter the name and release date of their upcoming album–Neck Of The Woods, which will be released on May 8th.
Despite a new album release being only two months away, Aubert seems more interested in catching up with Corbett than psychoanalyzing what he dubs the “instinctual” details of Neck Of the Woods.
He asks Corbett about her house and her dog. He proposes shots for anytime he says something “serious” in the interview and he connects with Corbett over her recent trip to Kauai (Brian’s family is Hawaiian.)
[pullquote quote="It sounds a little silly when you're actually trying to intellectualize something that's instinctual. "]“It’s been awhile between interviews…The easiest thing to do is kind of give everybody a piece of it,” explained Aubert. “A part of what it means. And then tell the next person another part of what it means. It sounds a little silly when you’re actually trying to intellectualize something that’s instinctual.“
Aubert did dabble in seriousness when he gave some explanation behind the meaning of the album title and the general sound Silversun Pickups is trying to convey in the new material.
Not before joking about the title of his memoir and mocking his basketball skills–which can be seen in a recent Spin shoot.
“Sorry ‘Bout That. Sorry Everybody. Don’t Worry, I’ll Go Away Soon,” replied Aubert when Corbett asked him what the title of his memoir would be. He then laughed, saying that the new Silversun Pickups album could be called, “Whoops or We Tried. Silversun Pickups on their Maybe Next Time Tour.’”
Outing himself as the worst basketball player of the group, Aubert recounted the day of Silversun Pickups’ Spin photoshoot.
“I remember that day because we were losing our mind in the studio,” Aubert recollected. “It was so much fun, so difficult, so super intense because we were doing it really fast.”
“We were just trying to stay on target with things,” explained Aubert. “And sometimes your mind would just snap. We each had like thirty different voices of characters we each would start breaking into. So, it’s like a Sybil record.”
“It was interesting, Kat. I accidentally fell over and my guitar and I was like, ‘Hey. Song One. Let’s go play hockey,’” jested Aubert, who said one of the “thirty different voices” that the band created was an alternate, “hick” Michael Stipe.
[pullquote quote="Part of it was looking back to really early stuff when we started. There was a playfulness and an experimentation that we lost a little bit of along the way. "]While possessing a “horror story” (their lead single is entitled “Bloody Mary” like the woman in the mirror) and the creepy house of their artwork, Aubert said that Neck Of The Woods definitely embodied some of the lightheartedness of their Spin photoshoot.
“Part of it was looking back to really early stuff when we started. There was a playfulness and an experimentation that we lost a little bit of along the way,” confessed Aubert. “And on the Seasick EP, I think you can hear a little bit of that.”
“It was kind of like, ‘Let’s get you back to playing with different drum tones and playing with these pads.’ It sounds like a cool, digital drum thing,” continued Aubert. “Screw the idea of this organic thing that we think we have to live by.”
“And then it was, ‘How do we find the humanity in all that?’ And that’s all we did Kat. And then we played some basketball.”
[pullquote quote="We don't care about singles unlike bands who are a little more calculated and probably way smarter than we are. "]When prompted to list some of his favorite songs off the album, Aubert mentioned two songs called “The Pit” and “Skin Graph” and confessed that the Silversun Pickups were “so happy” that “Bloody Mary” was chosen as their lead radio single because the song is more indicative of their “prettier, dreamier” new sound.
“‘Bloody Mary’ was something that I think we would have wanted to go for,” explained Aubert. “Like there was stuff on our last two albums that lean towards us being certain kind of rockers. There was areas that we could leaned more towards.”
“Like, on our first album, we were all really fond of the song called ‘Rusted Wheel.’ We kind of wanted to explore more of that aspect, I guess in the radio universe, whatever that means.”
“But we figured that’s just not really that landscape anymore,” Aubert admitted. “Get out there and rock hard, rock hard, rock hard, rock hard.”
Silversun Pickups are more interested in their artistry and the finished product of their whole album than making singles or how their songs are edited for radio.
[pullquote quote="We make long songs accidentally. We don't know why. "]“We don’t care about singles unlike bands who are a little more calculated and probably way smarter than we are. I think sometimes they like to lead with singles and all that stuff,” explained Aubert. “We never really give a sh*t about that–or haven’t so far–and so our philosophy has always been. And I guess it still is: We don’t care what single gets chosen and how they want to re-edit.”
“We make long songs accidentally. We don’t know why,” Aubert said, elaborating on the radio editing. “We’ll make a short one when we write one. But you can chop it up and put it on the radio and do whatever you want…As long the album is the way we want it.”
The title of the Silversun Pickups’ new album, Neck Of The Woods, is described by Aubert to have different meanings.
[pullquote quote="It feels like a little bit of a horror movie. This record feels like a horror movie that hasn't been invented and it needs the details of your life."]“It’s very fringe-y to me,” elaborated Aubert. “But, you’re right, it does have different meanings. I mean, Neck Of The Woods to me sounds sexual. It sounds like a horror movie that’s not around. It sounds like a desire to want to get in but you can’t. Or, a desire to want to pull out something from the center into your fringe.”
“I know everybody’s kind of running around saying it sounds like a horror movie…And it does,” Aubert concluded, mysteriously. “It feels like a little bit of a horror movie. This record feels like a horror movie that hasn’t been invented and it needs the details of your life.”
“And it also kind of reminds me of Wargames for some reason. There’s a little bit of that on this record, I’ve got to admit.”