Brooklyn indie band Yeasayer‘s new album Fragrant World is in stores today, and to celebrate the drop, we got on the horn with one of their three core members, Anand Wilder (above middle), for a game of Word Association. It was a good time, and hipped us to a bit of Yeasayer hip-hop history, like the time Jay-Z gave them a shout out on stage at Coachella, and also Anand’s stance on drugs and gun control. Oh, and we found out what Anand’s favorite fragrance is, though he had trouble pinpointing where to get the best crab cakes in his hometown of Baltimore.
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Anand: “Okay by me. No [problems with the hipsters]. If a hipster is someone that’s interested in culture, [then I consider myself one]. If the opposite of a hipster is someone who’s dull and preppy, I definitely prefer the hipster. [Laughs.] I always think the people that are critical of hipsters are probably hipsters themselves, or just insecure about being uninteresting, boring people, I guess.”
Anand: “Stupid TV show, but kind of a guilty pleasure. They [played our song in the credits of one of the episodes], I think it was as someone got kidnapped or something. It was well placed. There’s no real way of figuring out [if that helped our fan base grow], but I think a couple dozen people found out about us that way.”
Anand: “Best rapper alive! Jay-Z’s amazing. We’ve met him before, and he gave us a shout out at Coachella in 2010 on stage, which was pretty surreal. I think he called us ‘The Yeasayers,’ but it was an honor nonetheless. I think when he performed he was like, ‘There’s a lot of great acts tonight. Grizzly Bear, The Yeasayers.’ Something like that.
“He actually came to our show to see us. I think his sister-in-law Solange is probably a bigger Yeasayer fan. She’s more into the indie world, and I think she brought Jay-Z and Beyonce to see us. I think we were strumming the final chords when they showed up. But we had some photo opps. I didn’t really get to talk to him. Ira talked to him more.”
Anand: “It’s a pretty amazing drug that I wish had a better ritual around taking it. One that was more hygienic. [Laughs.] I can’t imagine someone who tried it not enjoying it. It’s kind of the most enjoyable drug there is. It’s a drug of enjoyment. [Laughs.] Obviously, I don’t promote anything in excess. Everything in moderation.”
Anand: “I wish I had a favorite place to get crab cakes, but I love crab cakes. Our manager, Jason Foster, does not buy crab cakes unless he’s in Maryland. He’s more of a crab cake Nazi than I am. If there’s a crab cake on the menu, I will probably order it, at least as an appetizer. I probably would’ve tried crab cakes more growing up [in Baltimore], but my mom is deathly allergic to crab. So I was never really able to eat crab cakes in the house.”
Anand: “Oh brother. Annoying debate. It’s like, this guy goes into the theater, and massacres twelve people, and the people that are NRA supporters say, ‘Well, this is proof that if everyone was allowed to carry weapons we’d be able to stop things like this.’ And then the pro gun control peoples say, ‘Well, if you just had gun control, this kind of thing would never happen.’ It’s one of those debates that seems like it will never get solved.
“But, NRA, I don’t know. It seems like a bunch of lunatics. It’s the National Rifle Association. They should just be about rifles and hunting, not automatic weapons. It’s totally, completely, insane.”
Anand: “Well, I can tell you, one of my favorite fragrances would have to be saffron. I think saffron is more expensive than gold. Don’t quote me on that, but I’m pretty sure it’s worth its weight in gold, and maybe more expensive.
“Actually Fragrant World came from a song [with the same title] that’s not on the album. I think you can get it as a bonus track on iTunes or something like that.”
Anand: “My favorite part of music is harmony. Melody is obviously important, but I get the most thrill out of creating harmonies, from chord progressions to vocal harmonies, to bass lines, it’s all harmony.
“We definitely try to work on our vocals always. Just try to get them as in tune as possible. It’s hard to sing in tune when you have such loud instruments. A lot of the sounds that we’re using are non-traditional, so it’s hard to stay in tune to a bass that’s playing something intentionally out of tune, or a guitar that has a really strong phaser on it. It’s always an area that we have to work on and improve on, but I think it always makes things sound much better.”
Anand: “Dirty rats of the sky. But, useful. Homing pigeons are cool. You know, pigeons that can be used to send messages and stuff.”
Anand: “Wish I wasn’t terrified of planes. I’m getting used to it. I’m not a fan of flying. But if there’s enough distraction, I can calm my anxiety.”