Death Cab For Cutie — 修復。人生
Life & The Art Of Repairing
Alternative rock noisemakers Death Cab For Cutie are here for the first time in their 20 years’ career. Their teenage followers have turned to their late 20s and early 30s. We get a chance to sit down and talk to Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr before their sold out concert in Hong Kong on their thoughts of our city, creative process, concept behind their new album “Kintsugi”.
另類搖滾表表者 Death Cab For Cutie 終於在成軍20年後次來港，當年十幾歲的追隨者已經踏入二十尾三十頭的年紀，但對樂團的忠心仍沒有改變。在 DCFC 全場滿座的演唱會前，我們有機會與 Nick Harmer 和 Jason McGerr 進行詳盡專訪，談談他們對香港的感覺、創作過程、新專輯 Kintsugi 背後的概念等。
NH: Nick Harmer
JM: Jason McGerr
DJ: Dinosaur Journal
Touring Hong Kong… 香港巡演…
DJ: Why does it take so long for DCFC to be here?
NH: I don’t know why haha. You know in every tour we try to go to different city that we’ve never been to and for some reason Hong Kong is never been part of the tour. We’ve been to Beijing, Shanghai a few years ago and even Taipei. We were so close (to Hong Kong).
JG: We don’t want to say “No” to other city, but we have to decide how many days we want to be out on tour every year.
DJ: As we all know you guys are very into art and culture, and Hong Kong seems to be the perfect to explore that!
NH: I can tell you now that we will come back! We don’t get 4 to 5 hours to sleep at night because we’ve been around and see everything around the city. And still there are so much to see that you can live your whole life here.
NH: 我也不知道！(哈哈) 我們在每個巡演都想在未曾到過的城市停留，但因種種原因，香港從沒有成為旅程的一部分。這幾年我們去過北京、上海，甚至台北，是多麼接近(香港) 喔。
DJ: In your new album “Kintsugi”, the term is referencing Japanese artwork. What’s the reason of picking this particular kind of artwork?
NH: When I first came across the concept of “Kintsugi” as a repair technique of ceramics. I saw an image of an art blog and I love the image of this simple bowl repaired with gold resins. It just looked gorgeous! Then I start to read about the philosophy behind and why you’d highlight a break versus trying to make it perfectlyJM: One of the thing Chris said before is “I really encouraging that you guys can continue to make music. I want you guys to go on” So as Nick said, if Dave will be part of us, that’d be great. But we will continue making music either way! and pretend it didn’t happened. It’s really like how that felt emotionally and philosophically. That was like a month before we start making the new album. Then we record the whole record and in the naming phrase, I remember this concept that I introduced to the guys and I brought it back up as the potential title.
DJ: So it’s not like you have a concept and create music around it?
NH: No, we kind of run backward – we have the music and then have a name for it. This (Kintsugi) is quite a heavy concept that ties into the universe presented to us in that way.
DJ: Many people thought that it’s about long time member Chris Walla’s departure. Does that have anything related to it or it’s just purely a creative concept?
JM: I think it’s part of the metaphor, but certainly is not majority of it, whether people making changes in their lives or how this art form works – you break it apart and put that back together.
DJ: It’s like seeing beauty in the flaw!
DJ: 新專輯名稱 Kintsugi 引用了日本傳統藝術品的名稱。是甚麼原因令你們選擇這種特別的藝術品來總括新作？
NH: 我在藝術博客看到 Kintsugi 這個名字 —— 一個日本傳統藝術家利用金樹脂修復陶瓷的技術 —— 當時我立即被深深的吸引着。整個畫面看上去非常華麗！然後，我開始了解背後理念，為何手匠師會突顯裂紋而不是試圖使它消失，假裝沒有破裂？就這樣我完完全全被它的情感和哲學吸引住了。一個月後，我們開始製作新專輯，到命名階段，我在腦海中再次浮現 Kintsugi 這個概念，於是在討論中提議用作專輯主題。
NH: 我們反而是逆向創作 —— 先有音樂，然後找個合適的名字。這 (Kintsugi) 是個相當沉重的概念，就像是把宇宙對我們的意義呈現出來。
DJ: 很多人認為這是與創團成員 Chris Walla 的離開有關。事實上這專輯是否與 Chris 有關，抑或只是純粹的創作理念？
JM: 我認為這是整個比喻的一部分，但肯定不是只佔專輯的少部份，不管是人生的改變抑或是這個藝術的修復形式 —— 你必須要打破原有方式，然後把碎片重新組成起來。
Light and darkness… 光明與黑暗…
DJ: From what I see that’s going on in the band and also the concept behind, I expect it to be a lot darker. But instead, “Kintsugi” turns out to have a lively, vibrant sound. What’s the reason behind?
NH: I like that juxtaposition. That’s always what we are good at as a band. You know it’s kind of a darker theme and lyrical content but with music that has more energy. I’ve always enjoyed playing with that “push and pull”. It’s not just like sad lyrics, sad song, sad music. It’s too much sadness! Or it’s like everything is happy all the time. That feels weird too!
DJ: That’s very fake!
NH: Exactly. I like it to be weaving – you get a sense of contrast and you put light and darkness next to one another. That works for us musically as well.
DJ: 從近幾年樂隊的經歷以及專輯背後的藝術概念，我們估計今次的新作音樂上會比較黑暗。但相反 Kintsugi 喜樂有一種跳脫、充滿活力的聲音。有什麼原因？
NH: 沒錯。我喜歡那種編織 —— 當你把光明與黑暗放在一起，你會感到那種反差感。我們的音樂製作也是如此。
The favourite DCFC album… 最喜歡的DCFC專輯…
DJ: Throughout your career, which album is your favourite?
NH: It sound maybe a little bit cliche to say that, but the new one is very important to me because of what it represents us as a band and it’s the first time we work with an outside producer.
We kind of went through a lot while we are making it obviously – We finished the record with Chris (former guitarist / producer) but we learn half way through the record that he’d he won’t continue on. So in some way this album is the last record that will make with Chris.
I also feel like the songs are kind of a really strong blend of things we are good at that it has a familiar sound – if you like our band and listen to us from the very beginning, and you’ll feel musically there are a lot like the best thing we have to offer is the band and I also the band writes amazing lyrics in his record. He was wring from a really real and raw spot as a writer when he was making the songs. We think these are some of the best lyrics he has written too. I don’t know where we will go but it (Kintsugi) certainly will put it in our… top 3!
DJ: What you said actually makes sense to me! You won’t put out new stuff if you don’t think the materials are good enough.
JM: It will feel strange if we put out a new record that we don’t like haha!
我們在製作期間經歷了不少 —— 在灌錄唱片中途，我們得釋 Chris (前結他手/監製) 決定離隊，即是某種程度上這張專將會是的與他一起合作的專輯。
我也覺得專輯內的歌曲把我們最擅長的東西結合，最後出來也有一種熟悉的聲音。如果你從一開始便追隨我們的樂隊，你會發現不論是音樂上或歌詞上也是我們做過最好的。也是 Chris 從最真實、最原始的起點去創作。我們認為這是他大寫過眾多的歌詞中最棒的。我不知道我們未來的作品會是如何，但 Kintsugi 肯定會是……前3名！
If you’re not musician… 如果你不是音樂人……
DJ: If you hadn’t chosen to be a musician, how would you express your creativity?
NH: I don’t know… Music has been such a big part of my life. But I’ve always been creating hobbies on things I’m interested in. If you have a creative mind, you wouldn’t just spend you time on one thing. Maybe I’d try writing or some other expression, but no matter what I’d have done, I’d still have the same approach in music, which would be a hobby that I hope one day it would pay the bills.
When we start this band, we have no expectation that we would be sitting in Hong Kong playing a show tonight 17, 18 years later. We never had that kind of aspirational goal. We just want to make music together, see as much as the countries we could and have fun.
JM: I’ve literally holding sticks and trying to make music for 30 years. I did a lot of teaching before. Being a professional (drummer) on the road and touring, and teach somebody something you enjoy doing, watch them reach personal goals is very gratifying. I think if you have a gift, you gotta give back. That’s probably what I’ve to do – teaching.
NH: 我不知道⋯⋯ 音樂一直是我生命中如此重要的一部分。但除了音樂，我一直有其他愛好。如果你有一個創意思維，你就不會只花時間在一件事情上。也許我會嘗試寫作或其他創作方向。但無論我的選擇如何，我還是會依照在創作音樂方面同樣的手法，仍然希望這個興趣有一天能平衡生活開資。
JM: 我成為鼓手和製作音樂已有30年了。當中有些時間會教授打鼓技巧。作為一個專業 (鼓手) 和經常在巡演路上，教導別人你喜歡的東西，看著他們達成個人目標是一件非常可喜的事！我認為如果你有才能，你總得把它傳授給他人。所以果我不是音樂人，我可能會去教學吧。
New member & the near future…新成員和在不久將來…
DJ: Have you thought about having a new member?
JM: Dave (Depper) has been a great addition to the band for chemistry to say again. The live show sounds better with him. He always show great attitude. Having extra pairs of hands is also a bonus. It excites us.
NH: If they join our band right now, I wouldn’t be sad. But we haven’t get back to the studio so we don’t know to really feel. It’s still a kind of unknown territory for us. So we’ll see.
JM: One of the thing Chris said before is “I really encouraging that you guys can continue to make music. I want you guys to go on” So as Nick said, if Dave will be part of us, that’d be great. But we will continue making music either way!
JM: 巡演樂手 Dave (Depper) 與樂隊有很好的化學作用。有了他現場聲音有了很大的改變。他的態度非常專業。對我們來說，多一雙手也是額外的協助。
JM: Chris 曾經說過：「我希望你們會繼續創作音樂。你們必須要走下去。」又正如 Nick 剛剛提到，如果 Dave 會成為我們的一部分，那着實太好了。但無論如何，我們必定會繼續創作音樂！