Interview: Here We Go Magic

Glastonbury 2010 marked a watershed in Here We Go Magic’s career – and not just because they forgot to take tents, either. Dancing in the audience during their set were Thom Yorke and Radiohead’s desk-driver Nigel Godrich, and Godrich loved their beatific indie-pop so much, he offered to produce their next effort.

Those sessions are showcased on A Different Ship, the Brookyn outfit’s sublime new album. We spoke to band leader Luke Temple all about it. Read the interview below.

Preview and download A Different Ship »

Hi Luke, where are you right now?

I’m lying on the couch at a friend’s apartment in Queens, New York.

So, can you explain how the band formed and where your name comes from please?

I thought of the name for a potential album title for a solo release. That record turned out to be the first Here We Go Magic record so I just took out the Luke Temple part and there you have it. I put the band together from a pool of friends that I liked playing with.

A massive congratulations on A Different Ship – it’s fantastic! Can you tell us a little about your inspirations please?

Sonically, I wanted clarity and space. We had worked with density in the past and I wanted to go in a different direction. Thematically, it just happened of its own accord. I don’t like thinking about that too much during the process because it takes you out of the moment and may create certain dogmas that hinder inspiration. The theme emerges naturally.

The album was produced by Nigel Godrich. How did that come about?

At Glastonbury, Nigel and Thom [Yorke] were the only two people in a very sparse, early-morning crowd that seemed to like our set and he liked it enough to continue to come to shows. One thing lead to another and here we are.

You’d always self-produced previously, so how was it relinquishing control and working with Nigel? Would you work with him again?

With Nigel it was easy because he came on board as a fan: he had the fire in his heart, as they say. Coupled with him being unbelievably tech-savvy, I just trusted him completely. He works very well with space and economy and, being that those were things I already wanted to employ, it was a good match. Yes, I would work with him again, most certainly.

Do you have a favourite track on the album?

I love ‘Over The Ocean’. It happened very quickly; written the morning we recorded it. I love the simplicity of it. It’s one of those things that just comes out perfectly-formed. I'm also very proud of the lyrics.

A Different Ship is very different sonically from Pigeons. Are you consciously aiming to change with each release or is it a natural progression?

Yes. In my opinion, there is no point in treading the same waters over and over again: I leave that to ‘Cats’ or ‘The Lion King’. There needs to be a certain [amount of] dissatisfaction in order to maintain artistic integrity.

Can you sum up your sound in one sentence?

It’s a musical tipping point.

And where would you like to go next sonically? Have you started writing for the next record already?

I always write but I’m not thinking about how any of it will fit on the next one quite yet. I’ll just have a bunch of songs when it comes time and we shall see.

You’ve toured with some great bands in the past few years: who was the greatest to tour with and why?

We loved touring with Broken Social Scene (R.I.P.) They are just such soulful, open people!

What’s on your rider? And how do you keep sane on the tour bus?

We have veggies, some whiskey and a pot bellied pig on our rider. The pigs help keep everyone cheerful in the van. However, there are a bit more than we can handle at this point…

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?

Probably Stevie Wonder. I would let him do all the playing and singing. I have a few songs that I think would suit him and I would just sit in the corner watching him, crying.

Aside from A Different Ship, what’s been the best record of 2012 so far?

I’m not abreast of new releases. I love the new records by Real Estate and The War On Drugs, but I think they were 2011.

Finally, what are the worst and best things about being in Here We Go Magic?

The worst thing is not getting your way and the best thing is being pleasantly surprised to learn that your way wouldn’t have worked anyway.

Preview and download A Different Ship