pitchfork on devendra

Interesting Pitchfork interview with Devendra Banhart, who instinct keeps telling me I should despise, but whose music I actually quite enjoy. Observations:

  • Major bonus points to D.B. for using the word “anthropophagic” — in a context that (a) makes sense and (b) applies to Brazilian ’60s music!
  • A memo from Pitchfork HQ seems to have directed interviewers to push them own personality into the conversation. Witness these words from our questioner, Dennis Cook: “I love the experience of cooking, especially for other people…It’s one of those experiences that places you in the moment. You’re only worried about what’s in the pan. You kind of salivate during the process. How many things in your daily life make you salivate?”; “I think a lot of people think of karma as this quid pro quo– you do this nice or bad thing then nice or bad things happen for you”; “Music, by nature, doesn’t want walls. Music wants to engage with every aspect of itself.” Speak it, Dennis!
  • The Devendra connection to Caetano Veloso makes so much sense. Great quote on that era of Brazilian music: “They were open to all these other cultures and experiences. There’s such a sense of humor. I love that they don’t call it rock ‘n’ roll. They call it ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah.’ You listen to Os Mutantes and they’re making fun of and honoring something that sounds American but it’s so Brazilian at the center. It’s a reinterpretation of things. It’s dealing with all these things that don’t have expiration dates.”
  • Dennis seems to get the definition of “catholic” exactly wrong: “You have really big ears and thoroughly non-Catholic taste,” meaning he listens to a wide variety of musical styles. “Catholic” means “Of broad or liberal scope; comprehensive; including or concerning all humankind; universal.” Methinks Dennis’ feelings for the Pope are subliminally affecting him. (Unless he’s referring to D.B.’s hatred of Gregorian chant.)
  • Obligatory faux-worldly quote from the interviewer: “We live in an age where many things are working hard to conk us out and anesthetize us. Anything we can do to shake us out of that — with no other purpose than to wake us — is valuable.” Only a person who has no knowledge of, say, every other age of humankind could say that the contemporary era — by leagues the most overstimulated in our biological history — is somehow uniquely anesthetizing or coma-inducing.

I don’t mean to diss on Dennis, who actually did a fine job. (And he fulfilled the Freelance Writer’s Pledge — namely, Always Get At Least Two Paychecks For Every Interview.)