You have been fairly consistent in your rate of album output with 12 albums having been released since 1997. How do you manage this kind of consistency? Is there no desire for any sort of more lengthy hiatus?
Between albums is not a hiatus, it's a tour. We just get tired of touring. All those screaming fans can get on your nerves.
In your experience, what are some of the difficulties of playing in a band for this length of time?
Such a good question. It's the kind of difficulty you never see coming. Each person changes and goes through different phases of life, and there's no guarantee that the people who got along at the beginning will still have any magic when they've become different people.That's why a band like the Rolling Stones is so special. It's like 5 puzzle pieces that keep changing shape and still manage to fit together.
In your experience, what are the advantages of playing in a band for this length of time?
You're that much closer to being considered legends.
I often hear what appear to be jazz-influenced moments in your music. Who are some of your heroes from the so-called world of jazz?
Well you'd get four different answers from the four of us. Personally I hardly know where to start. For a musician to look at the history of jazz is daunting. The musical sophistication. The crazy technique. The intense listening and interaction, the thinking-out-loud. The emotional range from romantic passion to the most intense anger to the deepest sorrow to the silliest comedy. The originality and personality of individuals. The fearlessness, the balls to not get thrown off your game in the competitive environment of the cutting session that improvisation is. Lately, Duke Ellington.
What’s your general impression of differences between Asian, European, and North American audiences, if there are any perceived?
Every audience is different and it's not about the continent. Big city people often have more open minds but are also often more jaded. People closer to the equator often dance and sing more, but often have more conservative taste. Audiences at big venues make a big impression but the small venue audiences often go crazier. Actually forget everything I just said. There is no way to predict what an audience is going to be like. At our concerts the audience is usually all over the place. Some dancing wildly, some still and listening, some singing along to every word, some just looking confused.
You played the Strawberry Music Festival in Beijing in the spring of this year. How was that experience?
Actually we were lucky, we played twice. Shanghai and Beijing. So cool. The volunteers were incredible. One minute I was discussing Wittgenstein and getting corrected on my German pronunciation, the next I was getting told why modern classical music is inferior to Mozart. The whole trip was just smiling and laughing and goofing around, which was great, because in America all we get is bad news about China, as if everyone there was just permanently miserable.
What do you think of when you think of Taiwan?
Do you approach playing a festival any differently than playing a smaller indoor venue, and if so, how?
At the big shows we make an effort to play slower and think about big gestures. But when it comes down to it we play the way we play and it's always different.
At what stage in the songwriting process of a Deerhoof song do the lyrics make themselves present?
First we'd better decide whether there is such a thing a Deerhoof songwriting process. I'm not so sure. Every song is different, and we have four songwriters in the band. Sometimes lyrics are first and sometimes last, and best of all is when music and lyrics are simultaneous.
As a band, is there a brainstorming process you go through to conceptualize an album as a whole before the songs are written? What is the usual process these days, and how has that changed over the years?
I can't answer that because that is one of the things we disagree most about in this band.
If you have a song that’s almost finished, but needs a little fixing, what is it that usually needs to be fixed?
If I only knew, then I wouldn't have left it unfinished. You never know. The process of figuring out what needs fixing is the process of fixing it. It's the process of writing a song.
I understand a lot of your new material is written from ideas from the individual members that are e-mailed back and forth. What do you gain from doing it this way? Is the reduced interference from the other at the ideas stage helpful?
I actually think writing together would be much better but we haven't figured out how to do that yet.
What can we expect from your show in Taipei?
You can expect us to play some wild rock and roll on stage but nobody knows what to expect from the whole experience. You Taiwanese rock and roll fans have to bring it! I want to see if you know how to have some fun.