I recall once reading that you guys decided to record mostly because you didn’t like the sound quality of the bootleg live tapes people were passing around.
We were just playing and figuring out how to be a band. We weren’t thinking about recordings. Finally we found out people were passing around bootlegs. I listened to one and it was so, so bad that I said, ‘If people are willing to listen to that then we should probably start recording.’
While many of your songs are very loud and rough there is always a certain sensitivity and tenderness lurking within them? Is that intentional?
We don’t like to just be sort [laughs menacingly] ‘muhahaha.’ I think it’s kind of fun and nice to be a little gloom and doom but have things kind of pretty and maybe a little rockin’.
It’s fun to kind of put lyrics into melodies that are on another bed of music because they might be too dark. Melding the two together is very interesting to us. We love the idea that you could listen to a song and one person could bob their head to it and think, ‘Oh, it’s fun, it’s rock,’ while another could listen and get into the feeling of it. That’s kind of how we are. We don’t like to get over the top in any way at all. I think it’s because we’re crazy. We’re schizophrenic, we’re too afraid to jump completely in the pool.
Even though you write lyrics that are hardly accessible, it is always pretty easy to get the general mood? Could you explain how you go about writing your lyrics?
I talk about pretty general things, that everyone can understand, but I use real, real intimate details. By doing that it creates a sort of cryptic—I know I’m saying this like I have some master plan, but I really don’t. That’s how I write. That’s just how it happens.
Once you record a song and then someone listens to it and takes something from it, they’re right because it is their song, too.
Just because we wrote it, doesn’t mean we are right. It just means something different to us. We like that on all levels.
It’s so surprising how well in tune people are and they are never far off from what the song is generally about, but they have applied their own moments. We couldn’t ask for anything more.
Why do people have to hear about my problems and my pains? Everyone has their own, and if they are hearing them in the songs than I couldn’t want anything better than that. That’s why I always get intimidated about telling people exactly what a song is about. I feel like I’m robbing someone of his or her experience.
It’s a weird thing when you’re writing lyrics. I find it really difficult. It makes you shy. You’re kind of pointing out things in yourself and the only way I really know how to do it is to talk about things that are happening to you. Putting the spotlight on yourself is a little scary because it’s like ‘Who wants to hear what I have to say?’
Swoon is set for release on April 14. Silversun Pickups will be playing this summer’s All Points West Festival in Jersey City, NJ, on Aug. 2. For more information, visit myspace.com/silversunpickups.