Dave Longstreth has been recording music under the name Dirty Projectors since 2003, and currently tours with a band made up of three others. Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian and Brian Mcomber help him put on one of the more amazing live shows this city has to offer -- just check out this Take Away Show (and this one) filmed around New York earlier this year. Their sound is bi-polar...anxious and somber, muddled and crisp, a weathered familiarness mixed with a new sonic punch. Tomorrow night they play at Mercury Lounge before heading out on a tour that will take them on the road through the season.
Let's get this out of the way, where did your band name originate from?
I really don't remember how I made it up. Its ambiguity is one of its charms, but what it means to me is like, baroque creative confusion as a life force.
We hear this latest album has something to do with a tape you found of Black Flag's Damaged album. Can you tell us about the process you went through to create Rise Above and how Black Flag's album helped inspire it?
I tried to rewrite Black Flag's album Damaged from memory — ie not listening to it, reading lyrics on the internet etc. Absurd hermetic brain challenge.
Do you always go through a similar process while creating music? How did The Getty Address become an opera of sorts about Don Henley?
No, I try to make each album differently. The Getty Address was an adolescent attempt to make sense of the entire universe. Don Henley, Aztec mythology and the battlefield at Gettysburg, PA were the closest handles.
Have you ever tried to create a song or album through a non-fragmented, more straight forward approach?
You know, that just kind of started happening. I've always just written songs however they come.
Are there any instruments you'd like to include in your live show or in the studio that you haven't yet? What have been your favorite instruments to work with?
Every instrument has a different color. Right now I'm not on an exotic sound trip though, I like guitars and voices. Tom Petty-type stuff.
What has your experience been like as a musician in New York?
I've met a lot of amazing and incredibly talented people, found a community of sort of like-minded people like no one should be able to expect or hope for.
Please share your strangest "only in New York" story.
Not the strangest, but one of the most fun: Producing a song for the Bed Stuy-based male vocal R&B group Sidetrack. These guys are amazing!! What an incredible experience!
Which New Yorker do you most admire?
The historical Bob Dylan.
Given the opportunity, how would you change New York?
More trees! More air! More space!
Under what circumstance have you thought about leaving New York?
Every time I go on tour.
What's your current soundtrack to the city?
I've been on tour and barely in Brooklyn at all. When I was there last, though, I couldn't stop listening to Janet Jackson's Control album.
Are there any least favorite bands/musicians for you out there right now? What kind of music bores you?
Music that doesn't take chances. Music that plays to win!
What's the best subway line?
I have no idea.
Best cheap eat in the city.
I'd have to say Punjab on Houston
Best venue to see music.
Todd P shows.
You've got a long tour coming up, we read somewhere that you were re-reading some Nietzsche on the road previously, is there anything you'd recommend from your bookshelf now?
Right now I can't read too good.