*Closing out CJLO’s Disorientation 2010 is influential Chapel Hill, NC indie rock band Superchunk, back after a nine year hiatus. Hooked on Sonics’ Omar Goodness finally got to cross the band off his interview wishlist when he had the chance to discuss the band’s changing fanbase, how nine years away may have reinvigourated the band, Master Cleanse diets, and the legend of canadian MOR rock songsmith Kim Mitchell with Superchunk drummer and all around funnyman Jon Wurster the morning of September 16, 2010.
---------------"My Gap Feels Weird"---------------
I met Laura and Mac when they were doing the booksigning at CMJ last year for Our Noise and I was telling them how I was looking forward to a new tour, and I'm actually really excited that our station is putting it on cuz, I mean, I grew up listening to college radio when I was 14 or 15 and you guys were one of the bands that got me into music...
...and the fact that we're putting on the show means a lot to me because of the fact that you were one of the bands...
...and to be involved in college and community radio, this is pretty cool. And this'll be the first time I've seen you. Every time you guys played Montreal when I was younger, I was either too young to get into the venues, or when I was a little bit older, I always had exams one those nights, so this is gonna be pretty cool.
Now, the new record, people keep calling it a "return to form". Is that kind of aggravating to hear in that it seems that people seem a little bit more interested in hearing your older sound as opposed to the sound that you guys were, I guess, sort of experimenting with on the last few records?
I think that's how it goes for everybody. It's kinda weird, I think the longer a band is around, the more people do sort of gravitate to the early stuff. I'm sure I do that. But we never sat down really and said "let's go back to this".
We recorded this record very differently than the last four or five. I think from around maybe Here's Where the Strings Come In to the last album in 2001, we kind of wrote them from the ground up and we would just come up with a part and we'd all jam on that and come up with something else and Mac would write the melody and the lyrics later.
But this was different cuz I was gone for about two years on the road with other people and I wasn't living in Chapel Hill anymore. So he pretty much wrote all the songs on his own and would demo them and send them to us and the three of them would work out stuff on their own and I'd come in a couple days before the recording and we'd play them a few times and work everything out and then just go do them. Which was a great way of doing it where you just kind of aren't thinking at that point, you're just kind of going on instinct.
And the first idea is usually really good.
It sounds like a pretty fast recording process.
Yeah. Although it went over the course of a year cuz we'd grab a weekend at this studio we like to work at and we'd record three or four songs and then not do it again for another two or three months or so and come back and do two or three more. The guy we worked with was a great help and producer...
...I worked with him on the last two Mountain Goats records that I played on, and he's just great. He was really good, he pushed us a little bit more than usual to get better takes to just get a more cohesive basic track.
So that definitely helped the songs hang together better, yeah.
So the writing process for the record, like you were mentioning, the Leaves in the Gutter EP you put out last year was supposedly to "clear the decks" of the old songs you guys had written randomly over the last few years. So this record was written over the course of about a year or so? At that point did you guys decide then "hey, y'know what, let's do a full record now"?
Yeah, I think we realized that, y'know, if we're gonna keep doing this at whatever level, or any level, let's try to be relevant and put a record out and create something new as opposed to going out and playing our back catalogue over and over.
I think that was something that appealed to all of us, and it made it more of a real relevant thing.
And the time I guess seemed right for you guys to get back together and do something like this, you guys all seemed to be in the same headspace I guess?
I think so, and I think, y'know, there's kinda less to worry about now, which is really nice. When you're younger and you're in the middle of it, everything seems to be more life or death in a way...
And you're depending on it more...
That's not what it takes anymore.
---------------"Learned to Surf"---------------
I gotta thank you so much for doing this, Jon, it's been a pleasure talking to you, and like I mentioned, you guys have been a huge influence on me in getting into campus and community radio and wasting way too many hours of my life listening to music.
I have a question for you, who do you like better: Superchunk or the Asexuals?
Oh, Superchunk by far.
Oh, okay. Thank you!
Sorry...now if you put Superchunk and the Doughboys next to each other...
That's right! My second show ever with the band was at Maxwell's in Hoboken with the Doughboys.
If you put Superchunk vs. the Doughboys I would still pick Superchunk, but that would be a harder choice.
What about the Nils?
Uh...I'd pick Superchunk over the Nils.
How about Stretch Marks?
I'd still pick Superchunk. I'm giving you honest answers too, man!
How about SNFU?
I'd still pick Superchunk.
Oh my God, DOA?
Oh, Superchunk definitely. DOA – I only really like one record.
Oh, I knew it!
Hmm... Still Superchunk! The first two Sloan records, though, I stand by, but I'd still pick Superchunk, you're still more consistent!
Crash Test Dummies?
Oh God, are you kidding me!? Crash Test Dummies, baby!
Ok, how about Kim Mitchell?
Kim Mitchell? I mean, I wanna go for a soda...
...so I'd go with Kim Mitchell there. "Patio Lanterns"?
That's a jam, man!
I did a tour with A.C. Newman, and he was telling me about "Patio Lanterns"...
...and it sounded like the most insane song idea I've ever heard – I've never heard the song, but I've heard him sing it several times...
...and it sounds like the most craziest, weirdest teen song.
It was a hit too, man. It was a big hit up here.
When you come to Montreal, one of us is picking you up at the airport. If it happens to be me, I'll make sure to bring that song so you can hear it.
Please do, please do.
There ya go. Cool, thank you so much, Jon
---------------"Everything at Once"---------------
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