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We Have Band Best of the Decade Artist Survey

Darren Bancroft

Dec 21, 2009 We Have Band Bookmark and Share

Under the Radar’s Best of the Decade/Year-End Issue features our Best of the Decade Artist Survey. For Under the Radar’s 7th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the last decade and asked them for a list of their best albums of the decade. Some of the surveys didn’t make it in the issue and some answers from surveys that did make it in the issue had to be trimmed for space. Those surveys and answers are posted on our website. Pick up our Best of the Decade/Year-End Issue to read surveys from Camera Obscura, The Dodos, El Perro Del Mar, Final Fantasy, The Hidden Cameras, The Horrors, The Invisible, Ladytron, Sondre Lerche, Jamie Lidell, Loney Dear, Los Campesinos!, Mew, Midlake, Okkervil River, Stars, Telekinesis, The Twilight Sad, and Vivian Girls.

Darren Bancroft

We Have Band

Top Ten Albums of the Decade

Sorry but these are in no particular order, we didn’t want to decide:

LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver

M.I.A: Kala

Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

Daft Punk: Discovery

Björk: Vespertine

The Strokes: Is This it

Rufus Wainwright: Want One

Rapture: Echoes

Sufjan Stevens: Illinois

Radiohead: Kid A

Top Ten Albums of 2009

Again in no particular order!

Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavillion

Sleeping States: In The Gardens Of the South

Fever Ray: Fever Ray

Grizzly Bear: Veckatamist

Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca

Micachu: Jewellery

The Flaming Lips: Embryonic

Gossip: Music For Men

Wild Beasts: Two Dancers

Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

What was the high point of the last decade for you, personally?

Thomas and Dede got married four years ago, which is a beautiful thing. For all of us collectively, it has to be forming the band. It was so unexpected but it’s changed all of our lives so drastically. Unplanned things rarely happen this special.

What was the low point of the last decade for you, personally?

Thinking musically it’s probably been the steadily increasing struggle for musicians to survive and to get their music out to people as a result of the industry changing so quickly. Like anyone else we need to live our lives healthily and happily and make plans, and that’s increasingly hard to do, which is sad. Art wasn’t protected as much as it should have been this decade.

What are your hopes and plans for the next decade?

Our debut album is coming out at the very beginning of it, so we’ve got so much planned. We want to let the first one stretch its legs all around the world, and then we want to move on pretty soon and write loads more, and see where some experimentation will take us. It feels like we’re laying the first bricks down to build a huge skyscraper but it’s a nice feeling.

Which artist and their music do you think most defines the last decade and why?

To be honest, we couldn’t really pick our just one or even a handful of artists. But that in itself is significant. Unlike decades of the past where its been a bit clearer with bands like The Beatles or Kraftwerk or Radiohead or even someone like Oasis, its so much more about a wider range now. Kids in their bedrooms are making amazing albums as much as bands in expensive studios. It would be nice to think that that has been a defining musical feature of this decade.

Which musical trend or scene from the last decade do you feel was most overrated/overhyped? Which one was most underrated/under-hyped?

Almost all trends and scenes are overhyped. And they’re normally pedaled by the most mainstream media, so by the time they talk about something it’s already gone!

Do you think what is considered “indie rock” is different than it was when the decade started? With the commercial strides made in the past decade, how do you think the definition of “indie” rock has changed?

Indie is still indie and as much as strides have been made the mainstream music army, and is as strong as ever. They tend to hold the purse strings, too, so they probably always will be. Something like Grizzly Bear’s last album may have done quite well on sales, and that’s a great thing, but they’ll still only get played on MTV 2 or on specialist radio. It’s no bad thing though, it’s like being at a great party playing great music that only your best friends know about.

What big issues and challenges do you foresee musicians and the music industry facing in the next decade?

The demise of the CD, piracy, private funding, the struggle of independent labels, and the desperation of the majors. These are all big issues.

What are your thoughts on President Obama’s job performance thus far?

One thing that was clear from the beginning with Obama was that as amazing as it was for him to be elected, he’ll need to be given a great deal of time and patience to do what he wants to do. Ask us again in 2020!

Which global issue (or issue within your own country) would you most like to see resolved by 2020?

Global warming is a huge problem that needs to be tackled super quick. If we don’t solve that, then nothing else matters because the planet will die. Also, everybody on this planet should have access to clean water and food. It’s a horrible and shameful mark on humanity that in 2009 this doesn’t exist. How can we have put a man on the moon but not be able to give everybody clean water. It’s completely unbelievable.

What was your life like in January 2000 and how has your life most changed since then?

We all had desk jobs in January 2000. Thomas and Dede weren’t married, and none of us knew each other. Things were very, very different.

What has been your most embarrassing/surprising/memorable moment onstage these past 10 years?

It’s all just beginning for us so we’re a bit like a baby out of the womb and it’s all kind of weird and surprising and memorable. Something we’ve really enjoyed is watching our relationship with audiences grow as they’re getting to know us and the music better. Shows have just gotten crazier and crazier, but it’s not just about them being wild, it’s also that they become more and more like a big house party of old friends or something. You kind of know each other already but you don’t necessarily see each other that often, but you all love the same music, and you really just let go and have fun. Then every show becomes such a unique experience and it’s lovely.

Given the exceptional variety and innovation represented by the albums that have been released over the last 10 years, do you think the 2000s will be remembered as one of the most vibrant eras in the history of music?

Yeah, for sure. This was a decade when at the start it sort of felt like everything had already been done, so I think musicians really had to twist and turn the way they think, and make sounds to keep themselves interested, which is where that innovation comes from. It wasn’t so much about new technology or instruments but finding new ways of doing things with them. It’s definitely been vibrant.

Do you have any other thoughts about the current state of the world or the state of the music industry?

Well, as an artist, it’s equal measures a really exciting time, as it is a very scary one. It’s great that it’s so easy to get music made and out to people now, and that record labels aren’t the grand deciders of what people get to hear. And the live scene is as good as it’s ever been. The less positive side to all this though, is that bands are having to rely more and more on corporate money to be able to work, and although it’s not implicitly bad, it can muddy the waters a bit. But who’s to say that corporate money is any dirtier than label money! One thing that is for sure is that lots of people are still making amazing music, and it’s still spreading and making people happy and interested so its not all over yet.



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