Between 2004 and 2012, Grizzly Bear put out four critically-acclaimed albums. Their newest album is called Painted Ruins, and it features this song, Four Cypresses. In this episode, two members of the band, Chris Taylor and Daniel Rossen, tell the story of how the song came together.
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Dear listening to song, explorer where musicians tech, support their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made. I'm ratification your way so
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between two thousand and four and two thousand twelve. The band grizzly bear put out for critically acclaimed albums the newest up
is called painted, ruins and features this song for cyprus, and in this episode to the member
The band chris Taylor and dale rossen tell the story of how the song came together. This is Daniel.
rotten. My name's chris Taylor, and
there's address, he knows Christine
who plays drums. He plays a lot of things we like
a lot of different instruments- none of us really like to get stuck in one corner chris bear
Where was up in my place, upstate state and
we are trying to approach where he would just put down a bunch of different drum feels kind of improvising. Different drone feels over the same progression
He played the slight rollicking drum groove that almost felt like he was very disorienting, and we didn't really. You couldn't almost feel where one was in the beat. It was just kind of like this rolling strange thing.
messing around with it and from that rum idea. He developed
this very kind of stable, almost like mention ec part, a little keyboard that starts the song.
The very first moment of the song is, I guess,
kind of a wrong note
and he was doing this like justice tom feel that something room drum recording that hear
Another thing that makes this an even more disorienting is the drum group becomes in. I think not even an one comes in on a different beat the way it develops within the first minute of the song. It's you don't really quite understand. What's going to happen, the whole thing is a crazy, improvised mess,
It's chaotic and then christmas
just put down this like series and base notes on world sir?
So he was playing wurlitzer part at the same time as he was playing, so the ex one hundred keyboard
everything it opens the tunis, like the first things that he Chris played on its own. Initially it was pre bare bones kind of idea, but I just found it really. Trance, like seems like, has just sort of slowly pulling even had a very satisfying like slow pace to it and nothing else. We were doing really felt like that at the time. So
It sat in this form for like six or seven months, like that. Nobody really knew how to approach it, but we knew that we liked it
I don't have any more, but events
be like I started coming out to for writing trips and the next spring. We were
it up again we were just kind of talking about it in christmas studio and that's when we laid that day
the chord progression with the little rowan strengthen the hand that basic guitar part the leaving something with so many unknowns for so long as we don't do that too often, he was kind of nice to do it actually kind of just let some of these songs develop very slowly over time, which is challenging because it's it can be kind of frustrating to not know what it's supposed to be too like. I really want this to be something, but if it's not going to reveal itself, then I'm just gonna, throw it away. You know, but something about that little progression of history kind of kept coming back to it. We usually we
as we're like coming up with the part, we're also just recording and, like that's very intentional, like let's make sure that the song is good before we even like decide it's a song. I think it just felt better to not put that pressure on it. It was like we're just working on ideas here, with no assumption that we were using. Any of this was like on the
aid to being a song, but
I needed someone to sing on it for to really turn into an actual song, actually
initially really thought ad was gonna. Do this tune, but never
billy clicked for him. So
I took a version of it home with me that night after
we had opened it up again.
kept finding my way to staying in these, like pretty d
pressing rentals, in a way that
I came back and there's a guy sleeping in the driveway
exactly what his story was be clearly was just like trying to stay out of heat and get some rest.
When I got the next morning, I was like this
now the song- and I was thinking about this- do there was probably still out there in life
I got up and I was sitting on the ground, trying vaguely to meditate unfailing unlikely in at the window, and thinking about us looking out at the same seen for
They persist in the neighbors yard. Thinking
got some kind of connection between total.
The unrelated experiences,
the basis of the lyric? That's
That came from any idea of displacement.
and homelessness really try.
The connect with someone else's experience and trying to find share
experience with some
having much worse time- and I am I
didn't, have anything to work with. I just had a my laptop and I think, he's use banned or something
record of vocal part like straight into the computer speaker staring into the wall tangled up in a piles early made no sound. I dont, like
sitting down and writing lyrics. I prefer, when they just happen, and often when they just happen, they're extremely literal or it's like whatever is right in front of my face, which doesn't
his work, but it kind of worked this time
When I can, I really prefer to be able to develop the melody in the lira can at the same time as one process
one thought because
the convention was so repetitive. I felt like
This needs a melody that kind of keeps moving and growing and changing, but so
grounding in soulful, but isn't
a series of repeating notes like something county just keeps moving along.
and I brought it back to the guy's dave
I think I got something that's always really exciting. He
recording, were both like whoa like this. Is it
like a new way of approaching a melody for dan, at least it was. This is felt refreshing were immediately very into it.
it's always like really cool, took as it means like a car now has some wheels like it's gonna go out of the garage. Now little did that it was
just gonna be like a vibe, it was gonna, be a song and that's all
That's always a really really exciting moment the ban took them.
They done in los angeles and brought it to all our studios in upstate new york. The added,
if all the sections was kind of determined by the time we got upstate and it was just
matters like executing. It took
settle up all those questions before actually going into record made
the recording process itself just really fun zoo them
just painting. It was like.
choose your favorite sounding thing in the room that you can imagine, make it sound as good as you can is we already know the part in
wurlitzer has a kind of more like,
mid, rangy, singing kind of quality to it, but wanted to add some weight with a giant subby since, when the bass, guitar kind of creeps in slowly and then the bass veers off of the initial baseline thing and does it's own kind of coral pardon and that's like riffing off the guitar part of the guitar part in the bass part. Do this kind of like arpeggiated thing together the kind of interacting with each other? I also
very poorly play, cello not actually studied in doing it, but I can peace it together. So that was something I recorded my place
I am personally a really big fan of dance cello playing, even though you know it's not classical, but it's gotta feel to it that I'd find you know charming. I think it's kind of better. That sounds a little rough around the edges kind of okay that doesn't sound great,
scattered them more. Human away
Chris bear often
is around with pedal steel,
he was trying to see if he could play the whole chord progression all at once on a pedal steel and was kind of impossible, and he doesn't really play pedal steel, but we really like tuning around and then it was like what, if you cut the chord progression up into two separate
stages so that it goes like you do, one chord the play, the other only pull the other one. You play the other ones which I come with chimes in, like
in response. The two played the whole line in two separate parts, kind of call and response thing, and then he added on top of that. He built this like stack of ascending fourths, can a prophet just kind of triggers this weird
to glow. After you, release noted sort of like opens a shelter that make this sort of way.
he crystalline sound turn of creeps out in the kind of
release of sound.
Electrified Celeste, with like a tremolo function, I played out this just very simple top notes of the court.
And then I took all those sounds. The pedal steal, the celeste and the press.
it synthesizer and bills,
the stereo ex structure and to the things will go up in an out
it's bloom, the all working. I remember it feeling, like wages, ecstasy, the sort of wave of like whoa, just wow, like taking in all of the
yes, like one of my favorite arms in the whole record, it just was
Such a strange combination of elements is very unexpected, but
We had a new that, like
well ass. To leave this place that it
you can't just continue rollicking in the same way, you're like ok,
well, we have this first part and the second part should sort of erupt. The watching chris playing drums, something to be old, is just such an incredibly talented drummer and he is like christmas, a little bit like in awhile gift until we sort of like making big broad strokes in terms of general energy direction. We have a really open moodboard, like this feel the, but we had no idea what it was going to be.
There is some unresolved questions of how to balance
the energy of some of the parts. There's this
section of repetitive, clarinets and then kind of moving around it are these electric guitar parts the hand there's this like biting. Dea distorted electric guitar part the, and it just felt too much like heavy metal or something
fun way, but it was a little bit over the top
crystal really tried. To help me like
keep the guitar, it wasn't so repetitive, and so relentlessly car relentless in its initial format, so
Solving this section was kind of a finish line and in it
a process that I know Dan and I both really enjoy its like it. When there's a big pile of stuff, you know, say: okay, this is kind of a morpheus brick of weight.
What can we lose its really fun till I just
work things out and be like. No, we don't make the cut
I dunno it's just it's cleansing you.
Have these bans? Are there really actually just one person driving the whole ship and woods
exciting. To me about this band is that it.
Really a band still
There isn't a leader
that sense or just doesn't know one calling the shots like. We are really democratic in that way as much as you really can be with the four
people having opinions on stuff. It's got a lot,
work with their in redefine the collective voice of a band. I feel like it's great
privilege to be able to like, I can't wait to hear what is gonna do with this, or vice versa. Like being able to look forward to everybody's country
Perspective is really exciting. Lucky thing, and now here's for cypresses, I grizzly, bear in its entirety
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or about grizzly, bear this episode.
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-16.