Silversun Pickups Discuss Music Critics, ‘Mad Men’ + Getting Recognized at Target
Indie rock favorites Silversun Pickups have consistently released stellar albums since their 2006 debut, ‘Carnavas,’ and their latest is no different. Released last year, ‘Neck of the Woods’ contains all the dreamy layers of distorted guitar and shoegaze elements fans have come to expect from Silversun records.
Diffuser.fm sat down with Brian Aubert before a recent show at the Intersection in Grand Rapids, Mich., and the frontman shared his thoughts on fame, Target (yes, the store), finding new ways to play ‘Neck of the Woods’ tunes and more.
One thing people may not know is how funny you guys are.
I think that we are pretty precious about our music in certain ways, but that doesn’t mean we as people are. We don’t really take ourselves seriously, not even a little bit. You know who the funniest guy is? Jeff Tweedy from Wilco. At Wilco shows, you get excited when he starts to talk, and he’s quick. I think if you try to be funny, you’re in trouble.
When you’re interacting with the crowd, do you feel it out and see what you can get away with?
It changes. You just talk to them. There are certain things that you are going to say, especially now because with obviously [bassist] Nikki [Monninger] not being with us right now. You got to explain that just a little bit. You just have to have a conversation; that’s how you have to look at it.
How is Nikki doing after giving birth to twins?
She is tired. Two baby girls. She’s coming back in July. June is Sarah’s [Negahdari] last month, so we’re calling it Sarahsun Pickups.
Happy Birthday, by the way.
Oh, thank you. I want Sarah to walk in with my coffee and shoo her away.
Like it’s ‘Mad Men?’
Yeah, so we’re doing a ‘Mad Men’ birthday. You hang up the phone and never say goodbye. Somebody said that they don’t put the “hellos” or “goodbyes” in because it would just eat too much screen time.
‘Neck of the Woods’ has been out for about a year now.
I know. That’s weird.
I guess if I think about it, so much has happened since, but it doesn’t feel that long. Everything seems faster. We still sort of think of it as new, but maybe it’s because we’re still finding things when we play it. Little things that we really didn’t realize about the songs. We’re still having a little affair with it.
While reviews were generally positive for ‘Neck of the Woods,’ Pitchfork gave the album 4.8 out of 10. Do you think sites like those have become too snobbish with their reviews?
I think Pitchfork’s great. Without Pitchfork, none of these bands would be reviewed. No matter what they really say, people are either for it or against it. They’ve never really given us good reviews, I don’t think they have. I imagine we had hope it’d stay the same [laughs].
You went back to where you grew up near Topanga, Calif., to record ‘Neck of the Woods.’ Hence the title. Was that weird?
It was just sort of dumb luck. I wish I could say there was some big artistic scheme that we put together. I knew the tone of the record was going to be something more nostalgic. It just happened to be Jacknife Lee’s studio. He was the producer of the album. It was, like, two minutes from my old neighborhood, so I got to wander. It was really, really cool at first, but then I got really over it. A lot of memories came floating back, and then you’re like, “Hmmm, I don’t want to come back here.”
In general, do you guys get recognized a lot?
We get recognized a lot, but I’m terrible at that stuff. I never catch on to things, but people around us will see it more. People are generally pretty nice. I can’t even imagine what somebody famous deals with, like Thom Yorke or Bono. Probably once a day someone will come up and say something, and it’s usually in airports. We have a lot of traveling fans. And Target, for some reason. I always get recognized in Target.
I remember buying Halloween decorations for the bus at a Target in Albany, N.Y. I was waiting for the cab, and these people came up to me, and they’re like, “Hey, man. What’re you doing here?” I had this cart full of candy, and it looked like I was trying to trap a child. It didn’t look right at all.