INTERVIEW: Silversun Pickups (USA), September 2010

When I go back and look at things like this, I find myself increasingly grateful for what I was able to achieve a few years back for a no-name freelancer more or less working for peanuts and some extracurricular uni work. It comes to a head here, where I get to interview the lead singer of one of my all-time favourite bands. I couldn’t begin to tell you what this band means to me, and especially what they meant to me at this point. I think that around this point, I’m starting to find my voice as a features writer, as well. It’s not entirely there yet, but I can really see it in this article. I’ll never not love this band, essentially. This is a good one to revisit.

– DJY, October 2014


Call it cabin fever, or ‘brain damage’ from touring as he puts it, but something tells us that Brian Aubert is not quite all there as he calls from his Los Angeles home, barely a week off coming off tour.

“I’m looking at my dog right now – what does it want?” questions the Silversun Pickups frontman. “Food? You wanna eat? Whatcha wanna do? She’s not talking to me – we need some kind of translation device, like the movie Up … although my dog would be all like ‘throw the ball, throw the ball..park! Park! Park! Park! She wouldn’t really be the kind to sit me down and go ‘so, Brian, what do you think of the new Band of Horses record?’”

Okay, so maybe Brian’s losing it just a little, but when you consider the band have been constantly touring for the past year or so on the back of their successful sophomore Swoon, it begins to make a little more sense. The band isn’t particularly sick of the album, either.

“We’re still in somewhat of a love affair with it,” says Aubert when asked to look upon the record in retrospect. “When we hear things like that it’s been out for over a year, it kinda blows our minds. When we’re playing it live, we kinda bounce off a few things, and then you end up bouncing off the things you bounced off a little while ago – it’s important for us to go back to the record and kinda see just how far we strayed.” Aubert also sees Swoon as a very personal album, making the experience all the richer.

“When I listen to Swoon, or even when I’m playing the songs live, I think back to where I was when I was writing it and what was going on. There was a lot going on. The thing is, I don’t feel that way anymore – I understand it, but I can’t quite get to that level of despair. It makes me happy to think that, because it was such a cathartic experience. Because of Swoon, I was able to get through a lot. I’m so happy that I just had something that I could just put things in, and that’s where they lay now.”

Interesting that Aubert – along with bassist Nikki Monniger, Chris Guanlao on drums and keyboardist Joe Lester – now revisits these experiences with countless sold-out audiences across the United States and Europe. Although the touring is considerably more extensive than ever before in the band’s career, Aubert maintains that much less has changed than what one may think. “I feel like this tour essentially picked up where [debut album, 2006’s] Carnavas left off,” he comments.

“That was a big shock for us – we were so excited that Lazy Eye was on the radio, but we just thought it would be ‘that one time’ in our career where we were on the radio. We figured we’d just keep making music, and whoever stuck around, stuck around,” continues Brian. But then we were amazed at how well this record has been doing, and everything just kicked off. The actual touring process, I’ll admit, it’s harder than ever. Although, I think our psyches are more readily prepared for it – personally, anyway; though I’m sure the rest of the band would agree.”

One would hope the group are prepared for their upcoming tour of Australia, opening for the chart-topping aviary Birds of Tokyo on their national tour, as well as stopping at the NSW central coast for the Coaster Festival. Any doubts that the band are ready are swept away the second Aubert is asked if the band are looking forward to the tour: “Oh, GOD, yeah,” he chirps.

“Birds of Tokyo asked us to play, and it’s so nice that they did. The reason we’re there is because they’re bringing us. But yeah, the last club shows that we did you would have had to drag us out of there kicking and screaming. The Annandale in Sydney, the Ding Dong in Melbourne… those were definitely some of our favourite shows of the last world tour. Who knows what’s gonna happen this time around?”

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