Interview: Destroyer

interview by Gordon Downs


Dan Bejar is the missing New Pornographer. Tons of indie rockers are dying to see him. He also happens to be the man behind Destroyer. A deconstructed solo assemblage of pop music in perhaps its purest yet most vain form. Bejar’s latest album, “Your Blues” is a whimsical tryst through a faded Victorian wonderland of magical lust! I recently had the chance to catch up with Dan to see how he’s been, and perhaps have him shed some light on the fanciful nuances he conjured up on his new album.

The media response to “Your Blues” seems to be rather favorable of the record. What’s your take on the indie limelight?
Dan Bejar: I’ve been touring a bit more for this album, headlining a few more shows and stuff like that. So maybe that explains it. It seems to be a little more hectic than I was expecting. Hopefully that means that maybe there’ll be some people watching us when we play. Which is always a desired thing.

The way I found out about Destroyer was from listening to The New Pornographers. You played on their latest album “Electric Version” but didn’t tour with them. How’s that work out?
I actually haven’t played with them in three and a half years now. When “Mass Romantic” first came out which was in the fall of 2000, we played a handful of shows. Just like Western Canada, Seattle, Olympia and stuff like that. If they play here in town, I’ll get up on stage and drink some of their beer and belt out some numbers. But that’s pretty much the extent of it.

“Your Blues” seems to have a flow that is constant throughout the album. Is there a concept behind the songs or does it just feel all-warm and cozy like that unintentionally?
I don’t think that there’s one cohesive metaphor there from beginning to end. There was kind of a general sound that we went in and conceptually wanted to stick with. It kind of turned out a lot poppier than I initially expected it to. I was kind of hoping to have a spirit of faded European grandeur in there somehow. Just like with all the strings and the tented orchestration. That was the one thing that we were kind of working with. But I wouldn’t call it a concept album per say.

There’s a variety of sounds all over the album. How’d you achieve the sonic quality that’s prevalent throughout the release?
We didn’t really have that much to work with. We had an acoustic guitar, and then we had a sound module that had all of the fake sounds on it.

You seem to be able to play a wide variety of instruments and are certainly a well-established singer/songwriter. Though you say you still feel like somewhat of a novice?
As far as like comparing myself to like, an actual music arranger – yeah. If you listen to an old Sinatra record or listen to a Nelson Riddle arrangement, or some of the other older crooning material, I mean, that’s actually really hard to come up with. That was one of the things that I think we had to come to terms with half way through recording. Or at least I did. It just wasn’t gonna sound like one of those records, aside from like, sonically not having the CBS Orchestra at our disposal; we just didn’t really have the chops for that. So a little weirder record came out instead.