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Black Keys

Black Keys

Friday 14th January, 2011 11:23AM

Black keys are returning to New Zealand to play Big Day Out along with a side show in Wellington, supported by The Greenhornes. UTR caught up with Dan Auerbach to discuss the new album, their recent projects and why they’re not massive fans of festivals.

You’re playing Big Day Out 2011. Are you excited about it?

We can hardly contain ourselves…to be honest not really. I don’t like playing festivals, and I don’t like them for a couple of reasons. Firstly I think it’s probably great to be a fan and be going to these festivals because you get to see so many bands, but when you are a band you don’t ever get to see any other bands - or at least we don’t ever - and also I don’t like playing in the sunlight because it feels really uncomfortable it’s gotta be in the dark I need to feel like we’re I’m plaing is a little cave or something.

Do you miss playing more intimate venues?

Is it something we miss? No not really there’s no reason to hark back to the good old days but there’s always ups and downs to everything and we’re happy with where we’re are at the moment.

Tell me a little bit about your latest album Brothers

Well we weren’t trying to do anything in particular. We didn’t talk about it as a band and we didn’t do any rehearsals and we didn’t practice. We didn’t do any pre-production or anything we just got together and starting recording. In terms of writing I’m always writing lots of songs anyway, so when we got together a lot of the melodies were done and ready to go. We just got together and filled them out. It wasn’t any different than any other record we’ve ever made, they simply are what they are.

Thematically, were you trying to explore anything?

We record them quickly and we try to record every song at the same time, so if we record ten songs in a five day period no matter how many different feelings we touch on it’s going to be cohesive. So that’s really the only thing we go for.

Were you trying to explore anything musically?

No I mean they are their own thing and we don’t try to do anything in particular. We just do it and do it and then we get the record. It’s a natural progression and it’s a natural representation of who we are in that moment of time. For those couple of weeks that’s who we are and if we made another record in another month it would be an entirely different record.

You have been a band for a long time, and maintained critical presence within the industry. Why do you think this is?

I think it mostly has to do with luck and timing. And we work hard. We work harder than any band we’ve ever met, actually, and I think that is really important.

How has your perception of the music industry changed from when you formed The Black Keys to now?

We were always outsiders we were from Ohio that is a small town and we never really felt any sort of allegiance with any sound or wave of music and you know we did everything on our own and we still do. We do all the music and all the artwork and I think we have that kind of mentality where we can do whatever the fuck we want with it and we are in charge and it serves us well. But it has a lot to do with luck, because there a lot of great musicians out there who struggle.

So obviously you’re a duo. What are the positives and negatives of being in a band with only one other person?

I would say it changes from day-to-day. It’s like any relationship sometimes you get along sometimes you don’t but ever since Pat and I started more often than not we’ve had this great unspoken connection we are able to pick up instruments - no matter what they are - and we can make something that sounds like music out of them. We used to add another person into the mix it just messed up what we had.

You’ve been collaborating with other artists of late. What do you like about the collaboration process?

It’s inspiring to see how other people work and see different processes for coming up with material. It was great for us to come up with music that was different to what we usually come up with. On the Blackroc album we created the instrumentation differently to Black Keys records - we started with bass and drums where we usually start with guitars. As a result it changed the overall feel of the record. We had so much fun doing that and so much fun exploring that method that we did it on Brothers too and it change brothers as a result and it’s all kind of fun and natural progression for us.

So, for those New Zealanders who haven’t seen you play live before, what can we expect?

Lots of fake blood and you know girls in skimpy outfits dancing and we wear three piece suits. What else? That’s about it, sums it up.

By Courtney Sanders