DEE interview November 18, 2006.
by Magali Surcin. French original can be found here: http://www.musique-chroniques.ch/woven_hand.php
Hand plays the Romandie in Lausanne, their charismatic leader DEE talks
what he’s been up to this year, his tour, his creative
process and ongoing
projects. While his persona is awe-inspiring, off-stage, he is
approachable and humble. He chooses his words carefully, and sometimes
few moments of reflection before answering our questions.
have spent most of this year touring. How was it?
This is our fourth European concert, we
were in Germany
yesterday. Before that, I spent about 4 weeks at home, after an
on my own with Serena Maneesh.
you see a difference between touring Europe
and the States?
is more expensive, and it’s a bit more difficult, because of
distances, but the
audience is nice, especially on the East and West coast. But I spend
most of my
time in Europe, I
guess more people want to
hear us there, and the audience is nice wherever we go, which is why we
quite surprising to hear that you’re more successful in
Europe than in the
States, although you come from Texas
and the Midwest tends to be more religious than Europe
or big cities. How do you explain that?
explain that (laughing) – [translator's
note: maybe because he himself
know he came from Texas?].
No, really, I can’t explain how it works or why
we’re successful in some places
rather than others. I’m sure there are a lot of factors
involved. I’m just
happy whenever people want to hear us.
performances on stage are always very intense. How do you feel after a
after a concert, I just feel like going to bed, but the night
isn’t over, we
still have to take our equipment back to the bus. I listen to music and
relax, but I’m usually so spent that I go to sleep.
do you feel during concerts?
really know how I feel, I don’t focus on that. I feel the
music and everything
that the songs imply, but I can’t really put words on it. I
don’t really think
about it, it just happens and that’s it. I already do a lot
of things at the
same time, as I have to sing and play different instruments, and
to keep me busy! I do my job, and that’s difficult for me,
because I’m not
necessarily good at what I do, so I have to stay very focused. And at
the same time,
I go where the songs take me.
talk about your new album. What does its title, Mosaic, mean?
different things to me. My wife came up with the title, but I was
thinking of a different title. She does mosaics herself, and we had
make some together. The underlying idea is to gather broken pieces and
something whole. That’s the way the songs on the album were
created, they were
scattered pieces that formed a whole once they were put together.
the connection with Moses and the tables of the covenant.
seems to draw inspiration from European folklore. How are you connected
to a lot of medieval music, as well as traditional Native American
traditional music from all over the world in general. Folklore of any
always been on top of my list. This is where I come from, in a way, and
what 16Horsepower represented, and I like showing different aspects of
personality. I’m particularly fond of medieval music, because
simplicity: heavy percussions, constant sounds like drones, and simple
sometimes use antique instruments on your albums. Did you do that on
use many on this album. There’s a fair amount of hurdy-gurdy,
more so than on
the other albums. A Swedish friend who played with 16HP for a while
lent me an
instrument; it’s a sort of mix between a hurdy-gurdy and a
violin. I also used
different Indian percussions and a little Russian harp that belongs to
was the creative process behind that album?
already played some of the songs on stage, and then we recorded them. I
on the others at home, and one or two were done directly in the studio.
generally use a Dictaphone to record myself.
know - everything inspires me. Depending on the moment, everything
one way or another. Being alive and going through life is enough to
although books and art do influence my mood and tend to have an impact
way I write.
do you transform your ideas into songs?
write the music first, I very rarely write both music and lyrics at the
time. Apart from that, I have a notebook on which I keep writing
words that I’d like to use, and then I insert them into the
music, like a
the music isn’t a reflection of the lyrics, as I
intentionally cultivate the
discrepancy. Lyrics are very important to me, and they are important in
songs I listen to. They are important to me, yet at the same time
saying that they are important to everybody or that you should listen
you tell us more about Puur, your new project with dance company Ultima
I’ve only recorded a bit of music. It’s a dance
show, but it’s also a movie. I
wrote music for Puur and I also used music from other bands. Some
similar in spirit to songs from Mosaic, although I haven’t
done any singing on
the album. It is a compilation bringing together different artists and
different projects I’ve worked on, and it is completely
of yet, the only way to buy the album is through mail order from your
company. Would you like to see it more widely distributed?
don’t know. I don’t see it as an album of mine
–it belongs to Ultima Vez, and I
think they sell it during their shows, but it’s not something
I wanted to
release only under my name.
are often compared to Sufjan Stevens in terms of faith, what do you
his work? What kind of music are you listening to at the moment?
extremely creative, and among artists who openly sing about their
probably is the most talented. He is brilliant. I’m currently
Suicide. As for new bands, I don’t even know…
have any ongoing projects?
with Ultima Vez has now been completed for a good while. We are
touring a lot. I have recorded a few bits of song on tape, but there is
definite. We might release another album next year.