Thursday, February 28th, 2013
The Deer Tracks believe good things come in threes
Angel CeballosThe serial as a form of structure is hardly uncommon in art these days; it’s the standard for television, has been used as long as books have been published, and is increasingly the norm in cinema. In popular music, however, it’s almost the complete opposite – the three-minute single – which remains the fundamental unit of currency. But don’t tell that to Gävle, Sweden’s The Deer Tracks – the duo of David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors have spent the last two years crafting an epic song cycle they’ve called The Archer Trilogy, stretching over an EP and two albums and 103 minutes – to say nothing of the 40-minute ambient prologue.
And what’s more remarkable than the ambition – after all, anyone can come up with a grand concept – is how well they’ve pulled it off. The Archer Trilogy is a remarkably stylistically and thematically cohesive arc of distinctly Scandinavian múm-meets-Postal Service synth-pop that’s by turns atmospheric and anthemic, frail and forceful, mysterious and vulnerable, but always beautiful – and all written, recording, and toured worldwide in a few years. The third and final instalment was released in January and while it doesn’t contain the same heart-bursting moments as “Fa-Fire” or “The Archer” from the middle part, it’s more than a satisfying Jedi to Part 2‘s Empire, veering into more thoughtful if marginally less immediate territory as it glides to the finish line.
As The Deer Tracks tour the complete Archer Trilogy across North America, David was kind enough to answer some questions via email about making a trilogy of records. They’re at The Silver Dollar tonight around midnight and you may recall I skipped The Flaming Lips at NXNE last year to see them play and don’t regret it a bit– so consider that an endorsement.
How far in advance did you plan out the three parts of the trilogy? Was it written as you went along, or was it a fully-conceived whole from the beginning?
We planned to do a trilogy from the start. We wanted to do something that would grow with and on to us over a longer period of time. We had the whole idea story behind it mapped out and then we deliberately took different paths to come up with the end result.
Did you have an actual narrative in mind to tie together the three (or four, counting Prologue) parts of “The Archer Trilogy”? If so, is it meant to be discernable to the listener?
If you listen to the whole thing I think everything falls into place what the whole idea with this trilogy is. That there is a deeper meaning to the four parts and that their bond is obvious. It is like an own microcosms with it’s universal cycle of life, death and foreverness.
Did you have a specific aesthetic you wanted stick to across the albums? Did you find yourselves having to shelve good ideas because they didn’t fit, did you make them fit, or did you let the work evolve as you wanted it to?
The work with this trilogy has been lovely, inspirational, brutal, mind twisting, haunting and everything else in between and beyond. To develop a trilogy of a three part recording series (+ an Prologue) was a big adventure. It helped us understand a lot about ourselves as musicians, friends, spiritually beings and as most of all, what it really is to have a musical bond with someone else.
Should fans expect your next work to sound different from The Archer Trilogy? Are there aspects to The Deer Tracks that you’re looking forward to exploring next?
If you truly believe that only your own imagination and musical mind can hold you back, anything is possible in a universe of creativity. Now we can’t wait to share our journey and discoverys with you on another album. That will probably take on a another shape and form both sound and music wise. Creativity and exploring is what we love the most. Repetition is not.
Junip have released the first video from their new self-titled album, due out April 23.
Video: Junip – “Line Of Fire”
Elliphant is the stage name of one Elinor Olovosdotter, a new artist from Stockholm who’s another entry in the ever-expanding electropop field; she’s in town opening up for Twin Shadow at The Phoenix on June 7 so if you’re going or thinking about it, have a listen.
Video: Ólafur Arnalds – “Old Skin”