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A Bored Singer-Songwriter In The City Of His Dreams

A monosyllabic interview with Damien Jurado

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A Bored Singer-Songwriter In The City Of His Dreams | PlayGround | Music Features
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He says that there are only walls and a bed in the room where he is. “And a sense of humour”, he adds. Damien Jurado is not a very talkative man. Although the songs on his latest album, “Maraqopa” (Secretly Canadian, 2012), paint previously unexplored landscapes of raw (and defeatist) Seattle folk lo-fi, Jurado doesn’t feel much like talking about where they came from. He only admits that he is “exploring” some other place and that, for the moment, he is thinking of following this course along with his friend Richard Swift, with whom he already collaborated in the intense and harsh “Saint Bartlett” (2010). The release was recorded in Swift’s National Freedom studios, with a live spirit (polished lo-fi) and the firm intention that the songs should expand and contract as if they were alive. Here Jurado, “the godfather of the folk boom” according to the Seattle Times, continues to experiment - using children’s choruses (“Life Away From The Garden”), unexpected falsettos (“Museum Of Flight”), and melancholy pop (“This Time Next Year”). His is a sound built over the course of the last 15 years (and 11 albums), but about which he has hardly anything to say. If you don’t believe me, judge for yourselves.

What does “Maraqopa” mean?

It’s the name of a fictional town that I visited in a dream.

Although this is the second time that you have collaborated with Richard Swift, “Maraqopa” seems to be almost the opposite of “Saint Bartlett” in terms of calmness, at times closer to rock than to folk. Was this just something that happened, or was it premeditated?

“Maraqopa” is continuing the process that we had on “Saint Bartlett”, only taking it further.

Nothing Is The News”, the first song on the album, is sort of a perfect introduction to the album: it has a little of “Saint Bartlett”, specifically the end, something progressive, and at the same time it serves to set the stage for the listener for “Maraqopa”. Was that your intention? What is the song about?

No intention really. It was how the song was written. Every song starts with just that, a song. We record it and then build around it. I could say what the song is about, but would rather leave it up for interpretation.

On other songs, like “This Time Next Year and So On, Nevada”, your sound seems like the perfect evolution of “The Ghost Of David”, a ghostly lo-fi that has gained in intensity and form with the years. Were you trying to maintain a sort of balance between that sound and that of “Saint Bartlett”?

Sure. I don't know if I see it as such, but that sounds good.

In “Museum Of Flight” you play with your voice in a way that you hadn’t explored so far. Do you think that you are moving in a new direction?

Not really. When we tracked that song, it was early in the morning. So, that may have had something to do with it. As far as something new? Sure. I mean, again, it's the continuation of a process. You go on living. Breathing.

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