Do you guys actually write out your songs in sheet music?
I do not. Greg sometimes does. He doesn’t write it out in that sort of very formal way that it’s written out there. He might have a melody, he’ll write it out, and he’ll know what chords he’s thinking of beneath it or something. Ed writes out a lot of his music. Ed’s got these crazy systems when he’s writing music, where he builds this musical prison for himself and kind of thrashes about it in it, and it comes out with this amazing music. I don’t really know how else to explain it, I don’t know how to describe how he works on some of the stuff, but basically he has some very interesting systems that he uses to work on things. He does write a lot of it down. Satomi and I, neither of us reads—I kind of know what notes are on the staff but I don’t sight read and I’m basically useless in that area.
So Ed wrote it out?
No, Greg wrote most of it and Ed had to end up rewriting some of it because of a screwup and basically at that point Greg and Satomi were out of the country, so Ed came in and saved the day. But actually, that’s not for the ‘Fresh Born’ one. What I’m talking about—we actually have made an entire book of all the songs from the album as sheet music. I guess there’s like the first five hundred preorders on Kill Rock Stars are getting them and we’re just going to have them with us on tour. It’s all the music arranged for piano and voice.
I could see that. It could probably work. There are a lot of really tight melodies and the big chords generally wouldn’t be so hard to transpose to piano.
Some notes have had to be dropped, kind of deciding ‘In this fifteen note chord, what are the most important notes?’
Have you or have someone that you know played it out, the entire record, on piano?
Actually, no. I can’t read it. I would like to do that soon.
So you do have it all arranged for piano and voice but you have no idea what it sounds like?
Besides for something like what you did.
(laughs) It’s just ideas, thus far, in my head.
Just on a nerdy copyright level, you did release at least the sheet music for ‘Fresh Born’ on the Creative Commons license, so are all the arrangements free or just that one? Is the book free?
(laughs) We actually haven’t talked about that. My guess is that it will be the same.
It just makes it interesting for publishing, because if you’re going to publish a book for piano and vocals, it makes it free for anybody to Xerox it, willy-nilly, as they like.
Yeah. Which as far as I’m concerned, I would be stoked. (laughs)
Deerhoof will be performing at the Fillmore At Irving Plaza in NYC on Oct. 22 as part of the CMJ Music Marathon. Offend Maggie is available now through Kill Rock Stars.