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Harnessing a new life-enhancing sound, stimulating tidal waves of serotonin, Caribou releases four-year crossover project, Our Love, into the wild. Gliding through Caribou's overwhelming 9-track album, navigates like a multi-sensory pleasure centre. Constructing sonically warped, mind manipulating soundscapes, multi-instrumentalist Dan Snaith, aka Daphni, aka Manitoba, proves his skill lies beyond production alone. This latest spine-tingling flash of dripping brilliance solidifies the ten-year music veteran's compositional and psychological talents on one concise, expertly mixed record.
Breaking away from his UK producing counterparts, Floating Points, Joy Orbison, Pearson Sound and Theo Parish, what can now be heard from Caribou in 2014 is real love and loss, life events. Watching a new love evolve between his wife and their new baby, Tara—altering him as a man and his higher respect for life—the pulsing, heartbeat-like BPMs racing through Our Love have been created to celebrate the wonderment of simply existing. True beauty lies in his music's effortlessness.
Creating the album after playing Tara some staple formative albums from Stevie Wonder through to Kraftwerk, since her day one, Dan releases his debut LP offering no emulation to any musical heroes. Our Love is Dan doing Dan; only originality lives here. The heavy effect album transcends commercial, niche, and generational gaps, unifying his audience with euphoric, blissed-out builds—lead track, "Can't Do Without You" reps reciprocal audience and artist, artist and audience appreciation.
In the four-year hiatus since his last album, Swim, topped almost every taste-maker's number one album of 2010 spot, there has been a quiet void. It is simple: the world needs Caribou. Complex UK welcomes the talented Canadian musician, with open arms.
Interview by Milly McMahon (@MillyMcMahon)
What l find interesting about the music you make is the broad appeal it has. My dad is 65 years old. I left the record at home, came back, and he's around the kitchen with a margarita, totally loving it. Your music is celebrated in so many different ways. It feels accessible, but still very personal.
Thank you! That's exactly the thing that made me excited about writing this record. Before Swim, I had always felt like my music was niche and appealed to only people who were serious about music and got all the references that l was excited about, and with this last record, I revelled in the fact that it travels more broadly and widely than I ever expected it would. Some artists aim to be popular, they do everything they can to be as ubiquitous as they can, and I think it's a wonderful and unintentional consequence that meant so much to me because I never thought that would happen.
People commonly believe that to have commercial success, you need to dumb things down and therefore underestimate the audience who are listening to you. For something to be accomplished and interesting, for music to do exactly what it wants to do and still be very popular, I think everybody celebrates in that.
What was so amazing and affirming to me, was that I hadn't made any effort to create a cross-over record. I just done my own thing and it had taken on a life of its own, and that was really exciting and wonderful.
Who had introduced you to production?
When I was 14 or 15, I had a piano teacher and that was the first time I really got interested in music. Instead of teaching me just classical music, he taught me how to play popular music, like The Beatles. He also had a home recording studio with synthesizers in it, and stuff. At the same time, I started playing in bands with my friends, guitar-sounding bands, and we made a four-track tape. Then, I decided to make a four-track tape on my own, using a synthesizer that I actually stole from my high school that was just sitting in the back of the music department. Ever since then, I've been making music on my own.
What kind of music were you making in bands before, then?
The bands that I was in, I strenuously objected to the kind of music that we were making. It was like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr-type bands, the ones heavily influenced by what was coming out of Canada and the States at the time. A lot of Canadian bands signed themselves up for things like that, back then. I hated all that music. I grew up in a little hippy town, so I was really into Pink Floyd.
What gave you the confidence to break away from the bands and do your own music, independently?
I'd been playing music myself for a while and, before then, I played instruments. But it was also because I lived in the country, and this was before I could drive. When the summer rolled around and there were three months off—there's a really long summer in Canada—I couldn't get about to see any of my friends a lot of the time, because my dad would be going to work and I couldn't get a ride anywhere. I was left to figure out things on my own and that's when I started recording things on my own and learning to play instruments by myself. All of those reasons made my music a consequence, as much as anything.
Do you remember the first formative album that you might have been introduced to in a similar way?
My sister was eight years older than me and she was really into that period of the '80s with the Thompson Twins and Boy George, big hair and big makeup, Howard Jones, stuff she wouldn't like now. Music identifies you as something, and she defined herself by listening to these records. I listened to the radio mostly, the top 40 chart countdown in America and Canada. A classic experience, I remember listening to the radio with my finger on the record button waiting for my favourite songs to come on. I cant even remember what they were at that time, probably whatever was the biggest hit.
Was there a track from Swim that acted as your point of fluidity to continue onto Our Love, or was the project an entirely different moment for you?
With the last track on the album, I tried to emulate James Holden. That was the starting point for Swim. For the most part, Our Love heads off in a totally different direction.
Our Love is out on October 5.