Britt Daniel, Dan Boeckner, and Co. chat about their genesis and why they don't want to be called a certain term
The members of Divine Fits aren't about to throw a heavenly tantrum at hearing the term "supergroup" used to describe them, but they don't much like it. The fact is, though, that the band, comprised of Spoon frontman Britt Daniel, Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs dynamo Dan Boeckner, drummer Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks, and keyboardist Alex Fischel of Papa have the pedigree to deserve that particular sobriquet. The quartet's spiky, catchy, and eagerly anticipated debut, A Thing Called Divine Fits (Merge), is out August 28, and prior to the album's release, Divine Fits will playing shows in Daniel, Boeckner, and Brown's respective hometowns of Austin, Montreal, and Columbus, Ohio. (They scooped their own official first date by one night, performing as Hot Skull yesterday in Austin.)
Over plates of migas in Austin, the bandmembers spoke about their origins, making the record, and, yeah why they don't want to hear that term.
First off, how did you, Dan and Britt, two meet?
Daniel: We first met at a Handsome Furs show. I knew of Wolf Parade but I hadn't heard them, and then I saw this really dark creepy video [for "Dumb Animals"] by Handsome Furs that kind of reminded me of the darkest Cure song I'd ever heard. It was so bleak.
Boeckner: In keeping with most of our videos, we get killed at the end.
Daniel: We need to do that in our video, don't we?
Boeckner: Yeah. That's a good way to end a video.
Daniel: So I showed up at this Handsome Furs show. And we stayed in touch and Dan played with Spoon at Radio City Music Hall. And we were just talking on the phone last February, and Dan mentioned that Wolf Parade was winding down, so I just immediately, without thinking, said, "Well, we need to start a band, then."
Boeckner: And I was like, "Yeah, absolutely."
Daniel: And that was just what I wanted to hear. I was kind of throwing it out there as a joke. I mean, if he didn't want to do it then I would have acted like it was a joke.
Boeckner: But I said yes, right away. Britt sent me some music and I sang over top of it, and actually the vocals that I put on that song, the first song that we worked on ["What Gets You Alone], we ended up using that vocal take for the record. Which, the more I think about it, the more I'm happy about that, 'cause that was the first day that we started working on stuff together. I was in Montreal, I recorded [the vocals] in my kitchen and put them over the top of this demo that Britt had put together, and those are the vocals that are on the record. Then I flew to Los Angeles and Sam was out there, and me and Britt and Sam started playing, and at the first rehearsal, I was like, "This is great." Then the next time we came out and were writing and working, that's when [Fischel] joined.
Does it feel weird to have a new project garner so much attention before you've even played for an audience?
Daniel: Yeah, absolutely. And it felt weird to get to the end of the process of making a record. It started out pretty lackadaisical and fun, and everything seemed to happen real fast. Just to get to the end of that process and think, like, "Well, we still have never played these songs in a show," it's nothing I was familiar with. That's not the way you start bands when you're a kid or just starting out. It's always shows first.
What's the plan for the rest of the year?
Daniel: We're gonna be doing shows. We have a couple of tours of the U.S. in the works and then one in Europe and hopefully Australia.
Boeckner: Yeah, a real band doing real band things, touring.
Have people suggested it's not a real band?
Boeckner: No, I just kind of want to reinforce the fact that it's a real band, because I think often when people in established bands get together and make a record there's maybe sort of a misconception that it's a vanity project or a recording project or something like that. But it's not.
You don't like the term supergroup?
Boeckner: No. No, I really don't.
Daniel: It sounds like a bunch of managers got together and said "You know, if we got these people in a room ..."
Boeckner: Can you think of many bands that were called supergroups that were actually good? No, not really.
Fischel: Or Superheavy, with Mick Jagger, that was so bad.
Boeckner: Yeah, Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart.
Fischel: The guy that scored Slumdog Millionaire.
Boeckner: You know how that happened? My friend worked on an early marketing campaign for that. They spent a year trying to figure out how to sell that delicious combination.
Daniel: Yeah, just like what we were talking about! That's what you think of when you think supergroup.
Boeckner: So, yeah. I think our band is super.