March 31, 2004

Interview: TV On The Radio

How’s the tour going?

Tunde: Pretty good. It’s better than the last tour.

Any interesting stories from the road?

Kyp: Nothing that can really be translated into words.

Tunde: We thought we forgot Kyp at one point [laughs]. He was sleeping on the floor of a venue [laughs] He was sleeping beneath a very beautiful singer. We thought we left him in Tampa, somewhere in the South [everyone laughs].

Were Young Liars and Desperate Youth… recorded separately? What were the underlying differences between the two?

Tunde: Desperate Youth was recorded… [asking Kyp] was it 5 months? 5 months after Young Liars.

Kyp: I wasn’t on Young Liars.

Tunde: I guess they’re different mostly because in just the way we worked on Desperate Youth, taking a lot of stuff just from improvisation. Like, we’d play 5 or 6-hour jam sessions and then put that somewhere and then extract maybe a minute from one of these and we’d say, “hey, we can make a song out of that!” The music would inspire lyrics and the lyrics would kind of affect how the music was produced around it. I guess the major difference between the two was just that we were feeling different.

What were some major sources of inspiration?

Kyp: We watched a documentary on Malcom X- I can’t remember the title of it. It featured speeches, photos, and film clips. [It] detailed his life after his induction into the nation of Islam up until the period of his death. Really fantastic, inspiring piece of film. I was also reading a book called “The Time It Takes Falling Bodies To Turn To Light”. We also listened to “The Love Below” in the studio.

Tunde: Yeah. And just the normal other stuff: life slapping you around, lifting you up, or putting you down. All turns into songs. It’s nice to have a venue for it besides just going completely insane.

What spurred the decision to go with a full band for the tour?

Tunde: Well, it just sort of started with Dave and I doing improv shows. He’d have a sampler and I’d have a microphone and we’d ask the audience for song suggestions. Then we realized we could fill up an hour and a half of basically nothing, you know? So, that gave us the courage to get more members and, after we started writing actual songs, we just decided if we went out on the road, it’d be more fun and more interesting to have the live set up. Jaleel and Gerard are both just phenomenal musicians and friends we’ve known forever, so we just said, “c’mon, let’s all go and do it!” It’s been easier dealing with being in New York.

How has the reaction been to the live show- because it’s obviously very different- different in a very good way- from your records?

Tunde: A lot of people were kind of expecting the CD when they come and I never really liked when I go and see a band- I actually just heard, for the first time, a Radiohead live CD and…it’s ridiculous and it made me feel really small and stupid. But, just the way they trick out songs or any band that can do that- like the Pixies. You’re on the road so much that you have to make it interesting for yourself and hopefully it’s interesting for other people. Most of the reaction has been really good, really positive. It’s working. I feel like it’s also a nice way to round out listening to the CD’s, too.

Last question--someone told me that David Bowie likes your record. Any thoughts on that?

[Everyone laughs]

Tunde: Yeah, apparently. It’s great. Really nice. I guess it would be much worse if he said, “I hate this band! Have them destroyed!”

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