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Interview | Anand Wilder

Yeasayer guitarist talks stage design, touring, fatherhood

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 08:11


Psychedelic indie-pop band Yeasayer played the House of Blues last Wednesday. The Daily had the opportunity to chat with lead guitarist Anand Wilder about touring for Yeasayer’s new album and the band’s new stage set-up.


Tufts Daily: I want to talk to you primarily about the Creators Project set design because that’s pretty innovative and awesome. How did you guys come up with the idea for that?


Anand Wilder: That was really the idea of Casey Reas and he collaborated with Aranda/Lasch who are these kind of architects and then they fabricated it together. It’s these fully immersive environments that play off of these visual themes, which we’ve worked with in the band, like a lot of geometric shapes. It’s a pretty cool concert experience.


TD: Does it get imposing or difficult to play with that on stage?


AW: No, the only thing that gets difficult is when it’s too dark to see my guitar and then you’ll suddenly get blinded by the lights in front of you. But other than that, it always is kind of more helpful to have as much dramatic lighting as possible that allows you to get lost in the moment.


TD: Were there any particular influences for this? I know there have been a lot of house musicians and DJs who have been using stage designs like this for a while. Was there a particular show you saw or something?


AW: No, I think we’ve always tried to have interesting stage environments that make a rock band a little bit more mysterious and interesting than just four guys up there with guitars, bass and drums.

So before this one we used more homemade stuff, my friend did the stage environment for the Odd Blood tour. He used these flat screens that he would project LEDs onto, and it was kind of pulsating lights. So we’re just following the natural progression for the band. And it’s a tricky thing because a lot of DJs are covering for the fact that they’re not really doing much and we wanted to have it so that the background was really interesting but you would still be able to see someone when they were singing or playing a guitar or drum solo or whatever. So it kind of had to be this really well orchestrated piece.


TD: As a band, did you have any part in making that?


AW: No. [laughs] It was all Aranda/Lasch.


TD: I’ve watched a couple of videos online and seen the pictures. It looks like they’ve been pretty heavily influenced by sci-fi and ’60s art style. Was there anything in particular you guys had in mind when you were thinking of it?

AW: My manager is super into Logan’s Run, and he’s really obsessed with it so I think this was, like, his dream come true. But also Maya Deren and stuff like that.


TD: “Fragrant World” (2012) has been out for a couple of months now. How has touring for it been?


AW: It’s been good. You know, we had to stop in the middle of touring because I had a baby. We only toured for about two or three weeks right after the album came out but we did about two months of touring beforehand, so it will be interesting to see if more people recognize more of the songs. Right when we were touring, the album was so fresh and it didn’t really leak so people didn’t know the songs so well, so hopefully it will be a little bit deeper into everyone’s consciousness now.


TD: Personally, I’m also a fan of your eclectic music videos. Are you going to plan any more of those for the new album?

AW: Hopefully, definitely. I mean, we put out one already for “Longevity” and I think the next one’s going to be for “Fingers Never Bleed,” but hopefully there will be more music videos that will come out in 2013, and we’re also planning on releasing another live album from the 9:30 Club in Washington DC.


TD: Each of your albums has a really different sound. What do you listen to when you’re not playing music?


AW: Oh, well just right now I was listening to a Lindsey Buckingham album called “Law and Order” (1981). It’s really weird, it kind of sounds like the Dirty Projectors. He’s from Fleetwood Mac and I think it’s probably one of his first solo albums. It’s very strange. But yeah, I’ve been listening to a lot of different music because I’ve been showing my baby all these records I’ve been playing for her. I still need to do “Uprising” (1980), the Bob Marley album, “McCartney II” (1980), “Fairport Convention” (1968). There’s a lot out there.

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