The American rock band are back on the road and return with new music from their recently released album 'Painted Ruins' with a mix of traditional and electronic instruments.
When Grizzly Bear came to the end of the road with their fourth album, 2012’s Shields, the future was unclear. No dramatic decisions were made, no arguments were had, but there was a feeling as there always is with the foursome that a breather was required.
Five years later and the resulting fifth Grizzly Bear album Painted Ruins benefits from having the songs develop in a completely organic way.
“We had a lot of fun making the record. Even though there are serious themes we tried to keep the sound as light as possible.”
There’s a deep warmth, a flirtatiousness to the sonic ideas, and a sense of
playfulness that’s perhaps the most surprising of all. It’s a direct reflection of the joy they experienced while making it. It chimes with collective exhales, and the genuine love that came from reuniting with old friends.
The band who emerged in 2004 in Brooklyn, New York, have forever functioned as a self-described “democracy”. It’s equal and it’s fair but it can also take a lot of out of them. And so they went their separate ways and bedded down in different corners.
Vocalist and songwriter Ed Droste adapted back to life in Los Angeles, his new adopted home and decided to distance himself from music and the industry, vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Rossen moved to a remote area of upstate New York and continued to write and record on his own, drummer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Christopher Bear continued playing with various projects and worked on scoring a tv series, and vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Chris Taylor decided to go West to LA after a one-year stint in Berlin. He produced for other artists and made a solo record under the moniker CANT. Taylor, however, got restless.
The band’s mediator since the beginning, his feet started to itch after the usual six months of downtime. “I kinda kept writing everyone,” he says. “Telling them that we should start making a record. I wanted to be making music with my band again. I stayed busy, I wrote a cookbook, produced other people, but my favourite thing to do was work
with my band. I was getting bored over here.” He laughs. While all four members were strewn across their various corners, he took it upon himself to start a cloud account – essentially a Dropbox. The intention was to allow the band a gentler entry point for starting to think about coming together again. It was new for them, less
While all four members were strewn across their various corners, he took it upon himself to start a cloud account – essentially a Dropbox. The intention was to allow the band a gentler entry point for starting to think about coming together again. It was new for them, less pressurized, far more relaxed and a guaranteed prevention measure against creative stalemate.
The Dropbox was a home for inspiration, mood boards, ideas for music, demos, even songs. It was, however, quite a slow process, starting in March 2015. “Painfully slow,” chuckles Taylor. They did have one song – ‘Losing All Sense’ – that made it to the record, but Rossen was reticent to call this the beginning of something. The word ‘album’ was a forbidden utterance at this point in time. “We got into the water with one toe at a time to avoid freaking everyone out,” recalls Taylor. “Yeah this time around we came to it slowly,” agrees Rossen. “Tip-toeing towards a conversation.”
That relief, that momentum, that sense of a band really relishing the chance to relocate their mojo is apparent on the album, which wound up taking two years to make, via remote writing trips taken variously by Taylor and Droste, and Bear and Rossen, then a retreat to Allaire Studios in New York in June 2016 once there was more of a cohesive
collection of songs. That’s where they recorded a lot of 2009’s ‘Veckatimest’. In addition to Allaire, they recorded in Vox Studios in Hollywood and at Taylor’s LA studio in Echo Park. Rossen also continued to track parts for the record at his home upstate.
“It was so exciting when it was starting to work,” says Droste. Perhaps what was different this time around was the communication barriers were set free. There was a nakedness to receiving each other’s ideas and a lack of tying expectations to particular results. The whole affair was positively zen. “I was coming at it like – I have to be open with everything,” says Droste. “Let’s try anything and let it go. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Don’t be precious or get upset when other bandmates don’t like it. Keep trying.”
For all four members the results of the sessions were unexpected. Droste points to ‘Mourning Sound’ and closing track ‘Sky Took Hold’. “That song was fleshed out in a very different way, then one day they added an ominous horn section that repeats and it changed the whole thing for me,” says Droste. “That’s what I love about working with
them. They just have ideas I would never have, and vice versa. It’s a challenge to be in a democratic band with strong opinions but I also thank god because we get all these different creative ideas that don’t come naturally. It’s very much four people. It always has been. It always will for as long as we continue on. These are the three people who continually surprise me.”
Rossen came up with the title ‘Painted Ruins’. As usual, the band are more comfortable leaving the visuals, the lyrics, the themes to the listener’s imagination, so you can take from their art what you will. “I don’t relate to a lot of explicit storytelling music,” explains Droste, before making up something on the spot. “’Her name was Jenny and she broke my heart and then I went on a cruise…’ Ok, don’t know Jenny, haven’t been on a cruise!” Instead ‘Painted Ruins’ has a different meaning to each member of the band. “It’s the idea of dressing up something that’s falling apart and making something out of a situation that’s crumbling,” says Rossen. “In a way that’s how a lot of this music came together. Some of it was a pastiche and it found its way into a cohesive form.”
‘Painted Ruins’ isn’t a passing pleasure, it’s a body of work intended to be lived in. Its psychedelic grooves, challenging composition and pensive lyrics require repeated listens and develop significance, attachment and deep-rooted appreciation over time. That said it strays from getting too intense or introspective. Some of the tracks take on a more personal bent. The likes of ‘Wasted Acres’ and ‘Neighbors’, the former of which is about Rossen’s life in upstate New York. “That tune started as a simple and direct lyric about collecting firewood with my dog,” says Rossen. ‘Four Cypresses’, on the other hand, with its refrain of “it’s chaos but it works” is more political, though the band would prefer to keep the overtones less explicit.
Liima is a new band formed by Finnish percussionist Tatu Rönkkö plus Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen and Rasmus Stolberg of Danish act Efterklang.
Their debut album ii was released on 4AD in 2016 and features songs written in Finland, Berlin, Istanbul and Madeira during four weeklong residencies. Every residency ended with a live concert, performing the freshly written songs in front of an audience.
Translated from Finnish as ‘glue’, Liima found the spontaneity of writing and performing in a limited time frame hugely liberating. From a simple live set-up – synthesizers, drum samplers, vocals, effects pedals and a bass guitar – the four are able to draw upon their creative dynamic, playing by intuition like a collective conscience, to shape improvised sketches and ideas into songs.
The band has toured extensively throughout 2016 in Europe, South America and North America and have also found the time to write songs for a new album. In January 2017 Liima starting recording their second album. The album is co-produced by Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear and release is expected for fall of 2017.
Tatu Rönkkö – percussion
Mads Brauer – electronics, synths
Casper Clausen – vocal & synth
Rasmus Stolberg – bass & synth
“…weird in all the right ways” – The Line of Best Fit
“Without a doubt, one of the most exciting projects in music.” – The 40
Eat before the show
Why not begin your evening with a bite to eat? There’s no need to book.
- Chargrilled handmade burger with crispy bacon melted mozzarella, ice berg relish and side of chips & onion rings
- Breaded cod fillet with crunchy veg salad and caper mayo
- Roasted vegetable and goats cheese lasagne with mixed leaf salad and garlic bread (V)
- Spicy lamb meatballs, couscous, and mint yoghurt
- Spiced potato wedges with a cucumber & mint dip (V)
- Tomato, basil, and red onion salad (V)
Please note that Booking Fees apply on the following transactions:
Online: £1.25 per ticket + £1.50 postage or free collection at the Box Office
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In Person: Free
Please note that we are only able to post tickets within the UK. If you live overseas please select box office collection or print at home tickets.
- By Rail
Direct trains go from London Victoria, Brighton and Ashford to Bexhill.
There are also trains from London Charing Cross, changing at St. Leonards Warrior Square and from London Bridge or Charing Cross going to Battle. Battle is only a short taxi journey away (15 mins approx).
Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for up-to-date train travel information.
Town Taxis: 01424 211 511
Parkhurst Taxis: 01424 733 456
- By Car
If driving from the London area:
Take the M25, then A21 to Hastings. Turn off at John‘s Cross and follow the signs to Bexhill.
Take the A22 to Eastbourne, go across the Bishop roundabout to the A271 and follow the signs to Bexhill and the seafront. The De La Warr Pavilion is on the Marina.
From the Brighton area:
Follow the A27 out of Brighton until you arrive in Bexhill On Sea.
Please be aware the Rother District car park outside the De La Warr Pavilion operates paid parking until 8pm. After this time parking is free. There is also lmiited free car parking along the seafront.
Within the limits of this Grade One listed building, the De La Warr Pavilion strives to be fully accessible with a range of facilities to support your visit.
Assistance Dogs are permitted into the building.
Please contact the Box Office on 01424 229 111 to arrange a visit.
Facilities for disabled visitors
- Ramped access at the front of the building
- A low counter at the Box Office and Information Desk
- Disabled toilets on two floors
- A lift to all floors
- Accessible galleries on both floors
- An accessible Café
- Spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium for seated events
- Ramped access in the auditorium for events during the day
- Ramped access into the Studio
- Two travel wheelchairs are available for use at the De La Warr Pavilion. To reserve, please call our box office and information desk on (01424) 229111 or ask a member of staff on arrival. The chairs are provided on a first come, first served basis and are intended for use inside the Pavilion. Please contact us for more information.
Facilities for blind or visually-impaired
- Large print season brochures
Facilities for the hard-of-hearing
- An T-Switch induction loop in some areas of the auditorium (please indicate when booking as this facility is not available on the balcony)
- British Sign Language interpretation tours of the building and exhibitions are available on request.