Dan Snaith has been making Caribou records since 2001. He won Canada’s Polaris music prize in 2007, and this month, he’s releasing the seventh Caribou album, Suddenly.
In this episode, Dan breaks down the song “Home.” He talks about how he managed to get past several moments of creative uncertainty to figure out the final track.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You listening to song explode her where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made. My name is recognition. Here we saw
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propose that to me before I started this process that oh yeah Dan, I think you should make a kind of hip hop influenced track. That's like a duet with and seventies soul. Singer out, it's been like. That's never going to work. Dense and eighth has been making caribou records since two thousand and one he wasn't
it Polaris Music Prize in two thousand seven, and this month,
he's releasing the seventh caribou album. Suddenly, in this house,
damn breaks down the song home here
but how we manage to get past several moments of creative uncertainty, to figure out the final track?
she's going she's going home,
play from caribou every day,
down in my studio and make something I can turn off the
critical part of my brain. That thinks is this something that's going to be a caribou track? Is this going to be something that goes on an album, I'm just,
find other every everyday
the process is to just enjoy that. So that was very much the spirit in which I put this together. I
browsing Youtube when I first
I'm across the sample, that's the kind of core of this track, which is the track by Gloria.
Aren't also called home
it's kind of lost soul jam
Time my life digging for records and dusty warehousing fully markets a things now, just as often I'm looking for music on Youtube and that's how I came across this track
I kind of miss that sense of stumbling across something when you're there in a kind of backroom of a record store or wherever you might find something
to be honest with you, the thing that I'm really interested in is the musical ideas, and that's always just as thrilling, no matter where you find it.
so it's a beautiful song. So
Lovely to listen to it's so memorable and there's so much emotion in her recording and her performance. You know. First,
almost I'm a music fan and that's just finding out of
peace music that is new to me and exciting is the root of
everything I do really. I mean, I think, just a love of
music as a listener. But then it's hard.
to hear something sometimes and not think. Oh, my goodness, you know how it is
This thing relate to the music that I make, and could I
Do my own version of this idea or sample this in some way, I think, maybe from growing up,
listening to hip hop, you know finding the samples on WU, Tang and tribe called Quest,
records and idolizing
like mad labored cetera. I just have
impulsively like ok, that's a loop. The part that I've used from it is just the first few seconds. Looked the other part
It loops is kind of the bit that repeats baby, I'm home, I'm home on home afterwards, baby baby. I could immediately hear it oscillating back and forth between those two sections.
I didn't know that it was going to be a caribou. Try
echo be attracted was, can be released, her beauty in any way like that, but I just wanted to make a quick beat out of it.
in my head. It was like a hip, hop instrumental. You know I'm kind of taken a loop from this record,
done what I imagined a kind of ninety
hip hop producer would have done with it, but it wasn't
you're like how that world, which I love, how that
related to the music that I was making or that I've made in the past,
I'm just always
making these kind of little loops and ideas, and then I come back and revisit them later, with a bit of hindsight are a perspective from time passing and think
oh, maybe that
be useful in some way, or maybe that does fit in with the other things I've been doing lately, but I just
know what to do that. It sad that
play four years, probably a year and a half two years just to on my hard drive with a collection of all these other. You know: draft
Yes, that I've been making over the course of making the record- and you know it was like- I keep coming back to this-
but so what? Next to it, wasn't at all clear to me at some point
thought. Well, maybe it's still like hip hop drums that are kind of preventing me from seeing it in the prism of the music that I'm making. Aside from that. So
I played my own drums over the top of it, the drum
parts that I played a played really really quietly with them,
her phones really really close to them. You scared
we dry intimate kind of drum sound, which I liked along with this, and then I play it for other people.
I put it for, for example, Kirin gear inhabitants.
that is my one of my
and go to about, hey
give a listen to this thing that I've been working on really think about it about
who giving me a kind of feedback about the music that I'm making and I can reciprocate with the music that he makes and in the
it's to the song the first time this ever happened is Kieran for
his credit is as an arranger and on the song as well,
and it was his idea actually having the two versions. The one with the kind of hip outbreak beat on it and the one,
with more mellow me playing a drum kit on it.
And immediately I was like oh that's great, and he actually said hang like. I can hear this so exit.
ask me what I want so well. Let me just chop
these two versions that you've given me together.
to be easier to do than to describe, and so he
This version back to me when I came in
at the beginning and has a tougher beat
and then, when I sing it got if it had. This kind of more intimate feel
she placed she's happy. I tried to
I thinking about how to sing alongside the sample and a number of different ways,
it was actually the serendipitous coincidence or something that well
unfortunate in some ways, because
of mine had like been through a difficult kind.
Toxic relationship and had left that relationship and
I mean literally gone home, but also kind of figurative.
Grounded herself in her sense of home in within herself, and that kind of thing. So, all of a sudden, I was thinking about writing a song about her
earn about that experience.
I just realized that this loop that had been sitting there forever kind of
exactly those connotations within the lyric of the sample.
The original song, it's kind of love.
about Gloria by seeing in character about somebody who's coming home to the person that they love in some sense, whereas the song that I ended up, writing inspired. My my friends experience was more about break
no way from a relationship that was toxic and finding home within yourself. She
Do you shudder? She
she's peace. That was everything
First time I thought. Ok, maybe I could sing kind. I in some sense, in some weird sense, a duet which, if you'd, have proposed that to me before
I started this process that we adapt
thank. You should make it kind of hip hop influence track. That's like a duet with an 70s soul singer I would have been like that's never going to work, but this
if personal input from a friend's life and wanting to kind of honor them through telling
the key that unlocked bringing that together.
It was easy to write the lyrics for this one, because I was thinking of such a specific situation, and you know that
refrain was kind of there.
In place already so when I'd say,
It would be responded to by the baby on home, vocal part, and she takes her business she's going she's a baby
The thing that was missing was kind of third
section of the song middle aid or bridge it just needed
something so that you move harmonically somewhere else so that it can kind of
satisfying satisfyingly going back to the loop, and I always got like
a minute and a half in or wherever it is two minutes. I can't remember like I'm stuck, you know,
there needs to be something here and there just isn't, there's just a hole here and that was
the real stumbling block for months and months, and I tried so many different options,
none of which quite fit this one. This, like version of the bridge that never was kind.
two more contemporary place. It's a kind of glossy blade, runner sounding, but also kind of referencing, aren't be, maybe to some degree, but it just when I
put it in the song. It was like the mood changes too much. The change from the verse
forest of the bridge,
feel more natural, and this one felt like too much of a stretch, and then I really thought
I I landed on it,
This is something that I built up playing like a piano part in the drum part.
kind of very vintage sound to it fits
with a kind of soul, funk jazz influenced here right, I was like a fire
the cracked it. You know this is going to be. Can I'm going to finish that song and then
that came back too and I was like I don't know. If it's quite the one, it is quite it again. It takes it into a different place.
The rest of the song is kind of so classic sounding that I
This section to have a bit more of a kind of connection to can,
emperor airy hip hop production, but that references that era. So actually, when I was finishing this the newest time,
the creator album had come out, that's Igor, which just one
Grammy for best RAP Album, and I was like.
Listening to that and thinking this is
treating old samples and things but cutting them up in a way that seems really contemporary. So there is a kind of thought,
to do that. To have it be
new and old, sounding at the same time, this species
fix section of the song,
That's me playing a kind of
after where version of a piano
processing it so that the kind of pitches.
oscillating in and out of tune
just the kind of really clean piano, sound
two straight, to save all
did in some way, and in this case using that kind of effective of it. Warbling inner tune a little bit.
I'm always kind of trying to tread that line between something this familiar and unfamiliar, whether it's
Piano sound and then affecting in a way that you haven't heard before
taking a human voice and chopping it up is so that it's kind of disembodied,
this idea of this really loud, disembodied voice. That is not quite saying anything you here, just a syllable or a kind of beginning of a word and make a kind of
sense that there's somebody there about to sing, but they are not quite singing lyrics or words, but you kind of get a sense of a human voice in there. So it sounds more like a percussion instrument than it does like a vocal instrument.
And then this is a kind of classic ubiquitous sound on contemporary hip, hop and rb, and pop music is the kind of tuned eight await based on sound. I thought I'd be interesting to have it in this case
ex, if something sounding more old, they get a really
Grady rough sounding eight await kick drum, that's tuned kind,
playing a baseline
I played this on a keyboard.
a lot of the field to the records I make, I think, comes from, not
a person who corrects things and quantities as meaning leaving things leeway to be a little sloppy and off beat,
that's something that I think gives the music that you make personality in. If you put it locked, everything on a grid just sounds like very robotic
So the saxophone on this track. There is actually some saxophone in the original sample
the additional saxophone is played by a musician named call and Fisher from Drano. He heard that there are
maybe a baritone sax or something in the original sample. Maybe he was like what, if I doubled that and then harmonized- and it just adds
it so nicely
In this song, the saxophones or something that allows you to play-
It was the dynamics and and can make the song have more of a narrative arc and feel more like a song
if there isn't a loop.
that was like the last piece of the puzzle and then
I remember actually sitting back and listening to a nice like that's a song
Because you live with it so long when it's just
some pieces of something- and it's not.
a clear how it's going to come together at such a relief.
So thrilling to think yeah. I've got all the pieces to fit where they shed
a lot of the songs on this album and this one in particular tell a story. The people close to me, the people I love you ve, been through very difficult times and last five years, and I want the music to the kind of be a big hug,
he supportive of the person that still protagonist in these situations. This
sounds very optimistic and it sounds very positive, and
out of this situation. This relationship for this friend of mine was difficult, but was the best thing that could have happened.
when I found the lyrics she's better off than she has ever been. That was like a central thing that it could have that kind of uplifting sense to it that it should feel-
jubilant in some sense, but also a lot of the time. The making of the music is like a therapeutic process to myself
starting with nothing and then having something you know. I still enjoy that so much after you know
more twenty years of doing it
now, here's home by Caribou
in its entirety, dishes, please. She suddenly exert beast: she's going home, she's gone home, she's, going home, she's cool baby, I'm home.
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.