Blitzen Trapper at the Download Festival 2008

by Meghan Logue
July 22, 2008

Meghan: This is Meghan with Blitzen Trapper at Download 2008 for SomaFM. Can I have you guys introduce yourselves and give me what you play?

Erik: I'm Erik. I play Me.

Drew: I'm Drew. I play the keyboard.

Marty: I'm Marty. I play guitar and stuff.

Earley: I'm Earley. I play chicken-wire and walking stick.

Brian: I just play drums. I'm Brian.

Meghan: Nice to meet you all. So chicken-wire and walking stick, you mentioned? I didn't know those were very musical. But do you make it work?

Earley: They are! They're a long Asian tradition.

Meghan: Thanks for the heads up! So you guys have been together since about 2000, right? The year 2000-ish? How do you feel like you've grown and changed since then?

Erik: We've put on about 20 pounds each probably.

Earley: I've actually lost about 20 pounds. Each year. Since 2000. I'm barely here.

Meghan: Wow, congratulations. You're from Portland, Oregon? How did you all meet each other?

Brian: Well, we all kinda grew up together, in different forms.

Marty: I grew up as a raccoon, Brian grew up as a chunk of ice.

Meghan: You've developed well.

Marty: But yeah, we grew up together and we've been playing music for a long time. We just kind of gradually became Blitzen Trapper.

Meghan: And where did you guys get the name Blitzen Trapper?

Blitzen Trapper: [general confusion]

Brian: [to Earley] You found it, right?

Earley: Oh, I read it on the side of someone's Winnebago on the freeway.

Meghan: Does it have any special meaning to you?

Earley: Well, yes and no.

Meghan: You guys just recently got signed to Sub Pop, right?

Marty: About a year ago.

Meghan: To release Furr. Was it different recording that particular album because you were with a more major label? Did it have any effect on the way you write, record, produce, etc.?

Blitzen Trapper: Not really.

Meghan: Exactly the same?

Blitzen Trapper: Yeah.

Marty: That's why they hired us, I think.

Brian: Different four track machine. That's about it. The last one died.

Meghan: And you guys got a lot of critical acclaim on Wild Mountain Nation. That didn't have any effect on the way you guys approach studio time?

Earley: No.

Meghan: You're pretty constant. Solid as a rock. Do you guys do a lot of touring or do you prefer to be at the studio recording?

Marty: Last year we did a lot of touring. We were on the road for 8 months out of the year. We like being in the studio, too.

Meghan: Do you prefer one to the other?

Marty: I don't know. Probably being on the road. It's pretty fun to play music every night for crowds and see America and meet cool people. Being on the road is fun.

Brian: It's pretty new to us still too though. We've been playing together for ages but we have only been touring for about a year. So it's new.

Meghan: Do you do a lot of writing on the road or is it mostly just sitting in the studio?

Brian: I write in my journal a lot.

Meghan: Do you guys update your blogs from the road as well?

Brian: Not really. We flirt with it every once in a while but we really don't.

Meghan: It's hard to get the wireless Internet, right?

Brian: Yeah, yeah.

Meghan: What were some of your inspirations for Furr?

Brian: You wrote the songs, Earley.

Earley: I did. Um, I'd have to say Louis L'Amour novels and traveling across the Atlantic Ocean.

Meghan: Do you exclusively write or is it kind of a collaborative process?

Earley: I pretty much write it all.

Meghan: And these guys are kind of your bitches? They play whatever you tell them?

Earley: Yeah.

Meghan: Are you missing a member? I have notes that you have six.

Earley: (Makes a smoking sound)

Marty: Yeah, we're usually missing Mike, our bassist.

Brian: He's out having a "tobacco" smoke.

Meghan: Right, right, out of a pipe.

Marty: He claims he never says anything but there's a definite palpable absence, isn't there?

Meghan: There is little bit of a pocket of silence, yes.

Brian: We could ask somebody to step in for him. Perhaps one of these passers by...

Earley: You can pretend you're him. He's got kind of a beard. He's Cuban. Actually no, he's Puerto Rican. He came over on a raft.

Meghan: Good thing he's not here. He might have been insulted.

Earley: Yeah that's a good point. He might have knifed me. The bastard.

Meghan: Do you guys have favorite bands to tour with or do you bring buddies with you on the road or anything?

Drew: We try to keep it friendly.

Meghan: How friendly is friendly?

Drew: I can't really talk about it.

Earley: Sometimes too friendly.

Meghan: If I turn off the microphone will you talk about it?

Drew: Maybe. That and if you buy me some whiskey. Lots of whiskey.

Marty: We just got off a tour with Fleet Foxes. It was really long and they are great guys. And we had a really fun time.

Meghan: And you guys still like each other?

Marty: Oh yeah, we like each more than ever. And we toured with Two Gallants for about 3 months last year. We got to be really good friends with them.

Meghan: Do you guys have a favorite city to play in? I want individual answers.

Earley: I like the city of America. And I like the city of Europe as well.

Meghan: Way to be vague. Thank you.

Drew: Hattiesburg, Mississippi is good.

Earley: That's not a real city!

Drew: It's not really a city but it's one of the coolest places to play. It's this tiny little hole in the wall.

Earley: It's like a gas station with a train track.

Meghan: Do you guys have a big following there?

Marty: Oddly, yes.

Brian: It was about 70 kids.

Meghan: You guys broke even for the night though, right?

Earley: I can't remember.

Marty: There are lots of good cities to play in.

Drew: It's hard to really say one is better than the other. They're all different.

Meghan: You don't want their feelings to get hurt?

Drew: Yeah, exactly.

Meghan: What do you guys do to mentally prep for a show? Do you all hang out and drink whiskey?

Marty: There is usually a huddle, lots of headbashing. That sort of stuff.

Earley: I talk to my spirit animal which is a squirrel.

Brian: I have a complex ritual of breathing exercises and finger stretches. I'm the drummer so manual dexterity is key.

Meghan: Is there anything you'd like to pass on to your listeners? Anything you'd like to share with them or let them know?

Earley: I just thought of a bunch of things but I can't share any of them.

Meghan: Polite things, please.

Marty: We saw the ghost of Bill Graham's beard. He's roaming the Shoreline amphitheater.

Earley: What does that mean? Who is Bill Graham?

Meghan: Bill Graham is the famous concert promoter?

Brian: The preacher?

Earley: You mean Billy Graham?

Meghan: Are they one and the same?

Earley: They might be.

Brian: He had a beard?

Marty: He had a beard when he was a promoter but when he was a preacher...

Meghan: I'm actually pretty sure the promoter is dead.

Marty: They're both dead. Dual incarnations.

Brian: But are the beards dead?

Meghan: Does your facial hair die with you when you die? It's hard to say.

Brian: Something gets left behind. Something.

Meghan: Sort of a cosmic dent, if you will?

Brian: What was the question?

Meghan: Do you have anything to share with your listeners?

Brian: Who are they? In general, I mean.

Meghan: I personally am one of them.

Brian: Well then I would say "Hi!"

Meghan: We're past that stage.

Brian: "Nice to meet you!"

Meghan: Past that stage, too.

Brian: "This is pleasant!"

Meghan: Alright, I think that's about it. Unless there are any parting shots you guys have.

Marty: Thank you for listening, listeners. We appreciate you. Thank you.

Earley: We appreciate you appreciating us.

Brian: Get out there and vote. It doesn't matter for who or what for. Just be out there voting.

Earley: Or don't. Because I don't.

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