Silversun Pickups share the EdgeFest 2012 main stage at Downsview Park on Saturday with Billy Talent, Death From Above 1979, the Sheepdogs and others.
L.A.-based Silversun Pickups have a third album out called Neck of the Woods. They play the main stage at EdgeFest 2012.
Special to the Star
Published on Thu Jul 12 2012
The title of Silversun Pickups’ newest album, Neck of the Woods, has a literal meaning for front man, guitarist and chief songwriter Brian Aubert.
When the L.A.-based stalwarts of the Silver Lake music scene started the sessions for its third full-length album last fall at Grammy-winning producer Jacknife Lee’s Topanga abode, Aubert unexpectedly found himself back in his old neighbourhood.
“Making that record literally two minutes from where you were born is a strange thing,” noted Aubert over the phone last week, 24 hours prior to departure for his band’s first concert trek to Anchorage, Alaska.
“I found myself walking around my old neighbourhood at midnight. I’m not sure what I was trying to do — maybe evoke something — but I tell you, it doesn’t say a lot for neighbourhood watch.
“I would find it kind of creepy that there was this guy wearing headphones, staring at houses at 1 a.m.,” he laughs.
Nevertheless, the trip down memory lane must have unlocked some creative inspiration: Aubert, who formed Silversun Pickups a decade ago with the current lineup of bass player Nikki Monninger, keyboardist Joe Lester and drummer Christopher Guanlao, claims Neck of the Woods contains songs that are his most personal yet.
“Every time you make a record, it’s an encapsulation of your life experience,” explains Aubert, whose band shares the EdgeFest main stage at Downsview Park on Saturday with Billy Talent, Death From Above 1979, the Sheepdogs and others.
“But this record was more like trying to spelunk inside your soul and kind of figure out why things are the way they are. It forced me to look inside myself in a way that I never have.”
While Aubert remains cryptic about the meanings behind dream-textured alt rock songs like “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)” and “Simmer,” he admits he’s not sure people want to delve that deeply.
“I always find it scary,” admits Aubert, whose band has been able to live down Smashing Pumpkins comparisons. “Luckily, my band is always there to tell me, ‘Don’t worry, nobody knows what the hell you’re talking about.’
“But you always feel so nude. Who wants to hear that stuff? It’s just so personal. Even when we’re making music of it all, you forget that it comes out and people discuss it, because you’re in your own little bubble.”
As a result, Aubert says he finishes his lyrics as the last step of the recording process.
“I like to save lyrics for the end and have as much time with the song to fix it up as much as I can. Even then I try not to fill in the details all at once.
“I try to map it out in a way where I don’t have too much to write, because that throws me into the craziest headspace. You literally have no metaphors left and you’re speaking to people in caveman, saying things like “I happy,” and then they look at you as if you’re in a strange world,” he laughs.
Less fuzzy and distorted than predecessors Pikul, Carnavas and Swoon, Neck of the Woods seems to have a more spontaneous air about it, and Aubert confirms that producer Lee’s guidance helped break some bad habits.
“We had these little Silversun rules that we would fall back on,” says Aubert. “Now we’re a band that’s different just from not trying to control things too much.”