The Crane Wife
Are you thinking about the next record yet?
Do people feel burnt out working at that schedule?
Are you actively against playing arenas?
Well you played that secret Acme show a few weeks ago. Do you think you're going to do more shows like that for the Portland community every once in a while?
Well, you don't have to be drunk.
Essentially, the move to Capitol hasn't changed the way you go about playing shows. You're still pretty much on the same tour schedule as you were with Picaresque, but is it strange to not play out that often and be able to work new songs out in front of a crowd? You go into the studio, cut these songs and never really get an audience reaction.
And so now you're really excited to go out with this batch of songs?
Are you a little frightened to play these songs to an audience that isn't totally familiar with them?
In your mind, what songs do you think the crowd will grab onto?
As far as the album goes, you choose to do the three-song Crane Wife cycle, but you do the third song as the first track. What was the thinking behind that?
Well, it's a good song to start off an album.
The Crane Wife is a story from Eastern mythology, so it's definitely a narrative. Do you feel like you miss out on that story by breaking it apart?
Where did you find that story?
It feels like the writing on this album is very different from the earlier albums. The song “The Perfect Crime #2” stands out to me, where it is a series of images, rather than being a traditional storyline at all. Are you playing with the way you write? Are you getting bored with the way you used to write?
Do you regret the verbal acrobatics of the past releases?
So you're progressing as a storyteller, maturing. Do you see, not an end goal, but maybe a progression that you're following. I guess I'm asking if you're going to do a concept album.
Does that open it up for the other band members to be able to flex a little more. With “The Island,” say, do you come in and tell Jenny that you want that certain kind of sound?
What about the fact that this is the first record that John Moen plays on? How does losing Rachel Blumberg and adding John change the dynamic of the band?
It seems like the bass lines are more pronounced on this album.
In “The Crane Wife 3,” when that bass line kicks in, it's one of the best parts of the album.
But that bass line doesn't work without having that rolling drum part going along with it.
Do you feel, in the last five years that you have been humbled in your songwriting, that your idea of a song has changed, that maybe the story isn't as important as putting together a piece of music where all the components work.
Are you scared of losing your voice in that collective?
Do you worry about being pigeonholed at all? I think about Death Cab. Death Cab writes a certain kind of song and their audience counts on them to write a certain type of song, which is love songs from the psyche of a 15-year-old, which they do wonderfully. But you're counted on to provide a certain song.
Do you think that there is only so far you can go before you change your voice drastically?
How do you do that?
What's the most surreal thing that has happened to the band since all the major label machinery has kicked in?
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
What did you say to Mr. T?
So, even before Picaresque came out, you knew that the fourth album was going to come out on a major.
I think you might have. We talked about it.
Sure. Yes. I think there was at least the consideration.
What was it about Capitol that turned you off?
Did that make you feel like they were taking you more seriously, as a business venture, rather than as a hip group?
The Decemberists celebrate the release of
with Lavender Diamond on Tuesday, Oct. 17, and Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Crystal Ballroom. 9 pm. $18 advance, $20 day of show. All ages.