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Interview: The Rapture

Interview: The Rapture It’s impossible to have missed The Rapture this year. The NYC-based group have been positively annihilating both radio and blogs with their latest single ‘How Deep Is Your Love’. Taken from their upcoming album In The Grace Of Your Love, it’s a crackling piece of dance-funk that also incorporates house and gospel. Along with the massive slew of remixes, it’s been simply everywhere, something the band are surely thrilled about. After receiving mixed reviews for their third album Pieces of the People We Love, The Rapture went a bit low-key for a while. Their explosion in 2011 has critics exclaiming “The Rapture is BACK!” But, as we find out, they never really left.

Electronic Beats: I’m sure you guys have been asked a lot of questions about why you’re back on DFA.
Luke: Well actually we haven’t talked to much about DFA… today.

Then let’s talk about DFA. You’re back on that label now… why?
Luke: For me I felt like there was unfinished business. Like we left in a messy way and it felt like… for me personally I just wanted to go back and explore what was there. And when we did that, it seemed natural and felt good.

So there are no hard feelings at all?
Luke: Not for me… at some point I feel like there is a lot of water under the bridge and in the beginning it was mostly fighting about money, which is just stupid. None of us had any money so basically it was a lot of paranoia about that kind of stuff. There’s more important things than money in life.

Tell me about the new album. I’ve only had a chance to listen to it for a bit.
Gabriel: What did you think?

It definitely had a different vibe to your last DFA album and definitely more so then your other album.
Luke: In which way?

It seemed more upfront… more friendly and approachable.
Luke: Yeah, I think the goal of the record was to… Echos was very much a kind of posturing record. The influences of the time where very much posey, like Suicide or Public Image, Ltd, and, you know, things like house music but the kind of snotty house music. This record … I don’t think any of us are that snotty anymore and I think the gift of getting older is that you still don’t give a shit but in a completely different way. It’s more of ‘I’m comfortable with myself so I don’t give a shit’, its not like ‘I’m really uncomfortable with myself so I’m going to pretend like I don’t give a shit’. So I think that’s sort of the difference.
Gabriel: For us what we were really chasing was like a feeling. For me the most fundamental thing about music, how I listen to music and how I experience music is what it makes me feel like. It’s not about what the lyrics are in terms of poetry; it’s not about posturing around being cool, it’s about how it makes me feel. And I feel that’s what we chased on this record.
Vito: It’s weird to hear some of the feedback. Someone earlier today thought it was an emotionally sad record about loss. For us, making this record was about chasing a feeling with every song, because that’s what we like about music, it’s whatever we’re feeling. It’s respecting that feeling and also enjoying the process and collaborating, and we each had kind of different things we were trying to do as individuals on the record.

What is the feeling that you mentioned that you are chasing with this?
Vito: I wasn’t really chasing a specific feeling but it was about chasing a feeling.
Luke: I think whatever we were working on, the way we worked on it was chasing a feeling in a song. Like trying to convey whatever feeling that would be in whatever song. In the past it was more like we decided what the feeling was before. Echos was very much like a hard, sharp record.
Gabriel: I think one thing we do well as a band is when the music works, it hits you more on a gut level then more of an electro level, and I think with Echos there was a lot of energy and emotions to it but it was a lot more surface-level. Like a lot of angst and anger and energy like that, and I think with this one, it feels like there’s more emotional depth to it.

So this is your more emotionally mature record?
Vito: If you want to call it that. We are getting older and maybe we’re not as childish about certain things.

Of course, this is kind of expected. You guys have been playing shows for so long now, and a lot of people and I have seen a lot of headlines like ‘The Rapture are back!’ and ‘The Rapture return!’ But you guys have just been playing, you’ve never really gone away.
Luke: Yeah, we have been playing and playing but for the past 4 years we have been relatively inactive in the public sphere. The shows we have played have been in Australia, a couple shows in Asia, we haven’t really toured Europe or the States. We’ve mostly been writing in the last couple years.
Gabriel: Things move so fast now. How quickly people move and how many mini-genres and musical things that have happened in the last five years is crazy

There’s this ADD music mentality where you put out a single and in a week it’s old news.
Gabriel: That’s like part of the perception of us being gone. Because it seems like a lot longer time period then it really was to us and to the outside world. And nowadays five years is a long time.
Vito: Five years is a long time between records, period.
Gabriel: Yeah, it is in general but I think especially now it seems like longer.
Luke: I’ve always touched based with what’s happening contemporary- wise but it’s never been all that much of a motivating factor in creating something. I check in with what’s going on, I look at Pitchfork or whatever and this band or this band looks interesting, but….for me the primary influences are really what’s contemporarily happening in the world of music from day one.

So what does motivate you musically?
Luke: On this record we just got into ‘60s and ‘70s black gospel music. I joined a church choir for a while and I got really interested in early music from the 1400s and stuff like Bluegrass and gospel music. I wanted to make something positive. I always knew intuitively that art doesn’t have to be dark to be good, but I grew up in an era of grunge like Kurt Cobain and Billy Corgan. The kind of John Lennon school of songwriting where it’s just like therapy on stage where you just barf all this stuff up. I wanted to go way past that.

That’s actually a really refreshing stance, especially considering how so much music is influenced by darker ideas and the economic times and all that sort of thing, and it is really nice to see somebody who wants to create something more positive.
Luke: I do feel like we accomplished that on this record. I’ve always wanted to do that since Echos but I just didn’t really have the guts to try it. There was always this part of me that was like ‘it wont be good enough if we go there’ because my heros were all people that didn’t go there.
Gabriel: I think we spent a long time thinking that the only way art can be really good is if it has a lot of angst behind it or if it’s coming from a place of hurt or being a tortured artist basically. The process had to be really painful. But we threw that to the side.
Luke: It’s not running away from darkness. It’s more like, if you’re going to go deal with something dark, deal with the transportive aspect of it. ‘Can You Find a Way’ is one of the more darker songs on the record, but the basis of the song is to find a way to get past this darkness.

So all this stuff that you have been writing for this long period of time… how much has ended up on the record?
Luke: Not very much. We gave our producer everything and he chose what he felt like was the best. One of our demos was called ‘Fuck Off and Die’ and obviously you could tell what that song was going to sound like. He was just like, ‘come on guys, you guys have a lot of really good, positive stuff in there.’ He’s a father, and I’m a father and Vito just became a father. That was a big influence for me as well. When you have a kid you’re responsible in a way that’s not just like ‘don’t tell me what to do, show me what to do’ and wanting to create a better future. But in a non-cheesy way, not like ‘I am not going to deal with whatever issues I have’ but more like ‘I am going to try walk through them and sit with them long enough that they turn into something that is resolved as opposed to constantly running way’. In a band it’s really easy to do that. You’re on tour all the time you don’t have to face shit. You just say ‘see you later, I’m going on tour for three years’.
Gabriel: It’s not like this album is the most positive album in the world. I think it was the way we project a feeling was dealt with in a different way it wasn’t as reactionary as it was before maybe on Echos or on the other albums.
Vito: The root is about whatever we love about music.

In the Grace of Your Love is out September 6th, listen to the album below.

Published August 31, 2011.