Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Interview: Lars Finberg of the Intelligence

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 3:04 PM


Chad Radford:  Your records have a particularly hazy sound, but I wouldn't call them Phil Spector-esque. Your sound is a little more damaged sounding for an aesthetic effect.

Lars Finberg:  With the bands that we like, and are influenced by, the recording is just as important as the songs. I like Kanye West and Maroon 5, which are recorded very well, but I don’t think it’s all that interesting for weird rock bands to be recorded all that well, or made to sound super slick with a lot of compression and a radio sound. I like analog tape and old microphones and those kinds of ‘60s and early ‘70s recording techniques.

On the subject of being a weird rock band, your songs are very concise which suggests a lot of editing, which you don't see with a lot of "weird" or experimental bands...

You mean with bands where there’s just so much stuff thrown into the pot? I try to work really fast and the songs that work best for us are the ones that are recorded in like 20 minutes or something like that. But I try to keep it really simple from the beginning. The best songs are simple, two chords and a super simple piano part. It’s more impressive for a song to be good by doing way less. Really, there isn’t too much stripped away from our songs because from the start I’m trying to keep it super simple. There are songs where all four of us are playing the exact same riff. We’re trying to have one unanimous personality as opposed to different things.

Your songs have a real Sci-Fi / Devo kind of spastic discomfort to them, and some of them really resonated with me; they are the kind of pop songs that tell a story without saying much at all. Specifically I think of "Moon Beeps" from Deuteronomy.

Yeah, that really is one of the truest songs I've written, even though the words seem kind of abstract and weird, it is a hilarious story of something that actually happened, and is sort of how I met my fiancé – or at least about the process of how we got together. It involved really hurting someone’s feelings, and they spray painted my name on a blanket and hung it from their porch. It was actually fairly miserable, but the song lyrics are hilarious hopefully.

Maybe hilarious, but also engaging, because you give us just enough information that we can make it relate to our own experiences where the circumstances probably weren’might not have been all too different from what you were going through.

That’s awesome to hear, and that's the real trick.

You're new album is called Fake Surfers, and I hear a lot of surf sounds throughout the record, maybe moreso than your previous records. Are you into surf music?

We’ve always sounded a little bit surfy, ever since our first single. I’ve always wanted that kind of Peter Gunn guitar sound, with a little reverb and something super simple played on one string kind of idea. So we’ve always had that running throughout our records. But over the last couple of years we’ve really been getting into Joe Meek. He has an album called I hear A New World which is mostly just a bunch of tape loops and echoes and real ‘60s sounds. What I’ve really wanted to do was create that weird sort of futuristic view of the future, but it’s from the ‘60s, so it has this weird nostalgia attached to it. Like the movie 2001, there is something really timesless about that kind of weird, naive view of the future and we’re really going for that, but also something that's very warm and nice to listen to. Those old space echos and reverb sound really nice to my ears. Even when you’re trying to do a punk rock thing.

Tell me about the song "Thank God for Fixing Tape Machines."

I think that one is my favorite song on the record, but I like the first one too, "South Bay Surfers." I thought it would be cool to start off the record with something really weird that didn't really determine if it was going be a boring record or it could start rocking at any minute….

Tell me about the songs “Fuck Eat Skull.” Do you guys have beef?

That’s funny, because I am a huge fan of the band Eat Skull. On our last tour  our drummer quit in New York City and we didn’t know what to do. We know Eat Skull and we had heard that their drummer quit and was stranded in New York City, and we were kind of friends. So we called her up and asked her if she would finish the tour with us, which she did and she's still playing with us.

Eat Skull has a song, called “No Intelligence,” that’s sort of a thinly veiled rip on us. They’ve said that it has nothing to do with us. Maybe it’s bullshit and maybe it’s not. But there’s not a line in our song that has nothing to do with them at all, so now we both have songs that have nothing to do with the other band.  I also thought how this scene is really tiny and anyone who flipped our record over and saw that would say ‘what?’ I thought it would be exciting and controversial.

"Debt & ESP" mp3

The Intelligence plays Tues., Sept. 22 (tonight) with Woven Bones and Carnivores. $8. 8:30 p.m. The Earl, 488 Flat Ave. 404-522-3950.

(Photo courtesy the Intelligence)

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