Interview: The Dismemberment Plan
Published on October 1st, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
We’ve already made our feelings for The Dismemberment Plan pretty darn clear on these pages, so let’s just cut to the chase and say that their long-awaited fifth LP Uncanney Valley comes out in two weeks.
Naturally it’s superb – more about that in our forthcoming review, although you can check out our take on album cut “Waiting” as a taster – so be sure to catch them when they come to the UK in November.
It is Rocksucker’s great honour to bring you our interview with The Dismemberment Plan front man Travis Morrison, a man whose lyrical prowess is matched by the boundless enthusiasm and dexterity of his delivery…
Congratulations on a splendid new album. It sounds quite contented compared to your older stuff; would you say this reflects where you’re all at now?
Well, somewhat. “Contented” is a funny word. I’d say it’s less neurotic and less concerned with aesthetic politics. But I think it deals with serious themes and questions and I don’t think it’s escapist at all. Sometimes aesthetic politics can be a truly shallow and escapist business.
To my ears, in a way, it picks up from where Change left off. Were any ‘executive decisions’ made – ie. no weird time signatures or dissonance, like on the first few records – or did it just turn out that way?
Just turned out that way. We do still love time signatures and are talking about doing a few. And there is dissonance on the record but it’s more musical, less ideological. Again, we just didn’t feel like getting into aesthetic politics. We just wanted to tell stories and sound good, I guess.
Whose pitch-lowered voice is that at the end of “Waiting” saying “You’re killing me”?
Jason’s co-worker. Funny, right?
Was Daddy in fact a real good dancer?
He was. But he was a good dad. He died when I was fairly young, though, so he will always be somewhat of a mystery to me. Not that it should be any different, or that’s bad.
Are you back for good, as it were? Is it too soon to ask if you anticipate there being another Dismemberment Plan album to follow Uncanney Valley?
No idea at all. We’re grownups now. We have separate lives, close as we are. It will be record to record, show to show. More like jazz, where people come together, make a record, then do other things.
Did you record any songs that didn’t make the album’s final cut, and if so what do you think will happen to these?
No, we edit as we go along.
Have you been at all taken aback by the level of excitement that’s greeted your return, or that which greeted your reunion show a few years ago? Do you think the band’s inactivity might even have heightened the demand?
Yes, certainly, there seems to be a market for “comebacks.” But now we want to be a going concern so we can’t just rest on what we did twelve years ago.
If it’s Travis answering: Do you think you’ll ever do another solo album?
Maybe, maybe not. My “other” band in New York City, The Burlies, is definitely doing one.
Did you all have dayjobs in the intervening years? If so, what were they?
I am a computer programmer. Jason is a soundman. Joe is a space robotics engineer. Eric is an editor.
I just saw Questlove’s tweet about you! Have you ever spoken to him directly? A collaboration would be superb.
I have spoken to him directly but that guy knows so many people. I’d love to collaborate with them.
Oh lord The Dismemberment Plan are doin two extra songs for the net. Never heard em before now but instant fan #whatdoyouwantmetosay
— Questlove Jenkins (@questlove) January 20, 2011
Any other celebrity fans you know of?
Boy, you know, I don’t know. None come to mind right now.
Finally, if you’ve had the time to be listening, which albums from 2013 have you enjoyed?
Quite a few, although of course some of these may have come out in late 2012 and I only now know of them: Miguel, Parquet Courts, Diarrhea Planet, Savages, J Cole.
Travis Morrison, thank you.
Uncanney Valley will be released on October 14th through Partisan Records.
The Dismemberment Plan play the following UK dates in November:
24th – Brighton, Audio
26th – London, Electric Ballroom
27th – Manchester, Academy 3
28th – Glasgow, Stereo
29th – Bristol, Thekla
30th – ATP – End of an Era Part 2, Pontin’s Camber Sands