(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "RED AND PURPLE")
THE DODOS: (Singing) There's nobody here to tell us a joke.
ALISON STEWART, Host:
That's a track from The Dodos' recent album, "Visiter." Fourteen tracks at the hands of just two men. All right, they had a little vocal help here and there. But for the most part, the San Francisco duo are on their own to make music. The Dodos, Meric Long and Logan Kroeber, join us in studio with a special guest, but we'll get to Joe in a minute. Hi guys. How are you?
M: Very well.
STEWART: So, Meric, you were on your own for a while. But then why did you decide you needed a professional partner?
M: Actually, I never really wanted to do the solo thing. I moved to San Francisco, and I was looking for other musicians to fill in, specifically a drummer because I had the idea for this band while I was studying bolognese gamelan. And I started playing shows out hoping that somebody would like what I was doing and come to me. And I met Logan through a cousin of his. And we started playing together. And then it morphed into what it is now.
STEWART: Had you heard Meric's music before, Logan?
M: Mm hm.
STEWART: And when you saw Meric play, could you picture yourself, could you hear yourself in this mix, or did you think, gosh, we're going to have to do some collaboration here?
M: It was less of an easy, sort of like, oh, I know what I can add to this, but more, just like, this is cool. I would like to do something. But it took a while to iron out what that was.
M: I think you were looking for people to play with, too, at the same time. I remember getting a CD from him on my doorstep.
M: I remember giving it to you.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
M: I remember giving it to your doorstep.
STEWART: Well, you were by yourself, and you said - you just told me, never thought of it really like a solo thing. But then you add one person. Why not add more than that?
M: Well, for one, I've played in bands for a long time. And I'd had trouble, you know, dealing with more than a few people. Just scheduling and trying to write music together, it's hard. You know, the more people you have. And also, I wanted things to be practical. The portability was, like, huge at first because we were sneaking time off from jobs and trying to do as many shows as we could. And just being two of us made that possible because it was just like, I can get time off, you can get time off. Let's go and try and tour. And we don't have to schedule five people into the mix.
STEWART: Logan, what job were you sneaking off from?
M: Printing. I did paper printing in San Francisco.
STEWART: And how about you, Meric? Where were you sneaking off from?
M: I was sneaking off from working as a line cook at a restaurant, fancy restaurant.
STEWART: Were you any good?
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
STEWART: Logan's giving me the "yeah, he was pretty good."
M: I didn't have any formal training in cooking, and I've learned over the past few years of working in restaurants that it's more about the cutting and the dicing and the burning than it is about the actual food. So I wouldn't exactly brag about my cooking talents.
STEWART: We're talking to Meric Long and Logan Kroeber who make up The Dodos. And normally a duo, but then there's Joe.
M: And then there was Joe.
STEWART: Joe, come on down.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
STEWART: So, Joe's visiting us today and is going to play on his track. Joe, you're playing something rather unusual. Tell us what this is so our listeners can kind of perk up for it.
M: It's a jamar toy piano. It's kind of like a little percussiony kind of piano sort of thing.
STEWART: All right. Well, let's listen to "Red and Purple" from The Dodos, plus Joe.
M: Ready when you are. OK, one, two, three, four.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "RED AND PURPLE")
DODOS: (Singing) There's nobody here. To tell us a joke. We tear off our ears. The fire that we stoke. You wrote me a note.The pages were blank. And I, I should have known. Invisible ink. I know that I am yours and you will be mine. Come and join us in the trenches. Red and purple by our side. Say you'll never leave us.In this company of mine.You carry this dirt.We stole from the source. Its tongue will be hurt. Attack from the north. The color was red. The number was six. Now you're in my head. No more to convince. I know that I'm yours and that you will be mine. Come and join us in the trenches red and purple (unintelligible). Say you'll never leave us in this company of mine. Bring us back home. (unintelligible) they have changed. So that you all know, just how I'm deranged. But you're off on your search. You tried and went to church. You sang and at least I heard until to me you return. I know that I am yours and you will be mine. Come and join us in the trenches, red and purple (unintelligible). Say you'll never leave us in this company of mine.
STEWART: We're talking to Meric Long and Logan Kroeber of The Dodos, along with Joe. Jacob, our director, went to see you play, and he said he was really impressed by how much racket the two of you can make. Just how much noise can come out of - good noise, can come out of two guys with no amplification. Did you ever feel like you might have needed an additional person to make it sound bigger, or are you just pleased with the way it's going?
M: Joe's kind of the third person. It's not so much about making it bigger, you know, adding another person is just kind of filling in and adding different sound textures.
STEWART: Fuller, maybe?
M: Not even fuller, it's like.
M: I feel like Joe's refining it, because when it was you and me, we were kind of psyched, there's just two of us, we got to like, make this big. And now that there's another person, it's actually getting like, more refined.
STEWART: And we should mention, Joe has a last name, right? I've just been referring to him like Cher or Madonna. Joe, what's your last name?
M: Hayner (ph). Joe Hayner.
STEWART: That'll make mom and dad Hayner happy. You guys are on tour now. You have kind of a pretty chunky schedule ahead of you. And the new record's out on a pretty decent-sized indie label. Have you noticed a change in the audience at all?
M: Yeah. I guess.
M: Yeah. I guess so. From the first tour, definitely.
M: From the first tour, for sure. We toured in August, too, kind of doing the same cities that we're doing now and it's definitely.
M: Some people have been calling out some tunes at shows. I think that's probably, like, a good sign.
STEWART: You like that?
M: It's all right. I mean, I don't like, being like, I'm not going to play that song and letting them down. But you know, it's nice that they know the songs.
STEWART: We're going to hear another track from the record. It's called "Fools." Meric, will you tell me what this is about?
M: This is about, just us. It's a, kind of an anthem of our travels, running around and not really having a goal and knowing what we're doing.
STEWART: The Dodos are Meric Long, Logan Kroeber, along with Joe Hayner in the studio. You guys, thank you so much for coming in.
M: Thanks for having us.
M: All right, thank you.
STEWART: We really appreciate it. OK, this is "Fools" by The Dodos.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "FOOLS")
DODOS: (Singing) Our fathers have been entangled in things He's been squandering, he's been squandering And we don't do a thing, 'cause we're busy and think We're just wandering, we're just a-wandering like fools His son is his prize, he tells a few lies He's got his father's eyes, it's in his father's eyes And he thinks in his mind that he's just getting by But he's a compromise, he's just a compromising fool And the stance that we take isn't much to bear Yeah, we leave things to change on their time And our failure to care for it leaves us blind 'til we're tired and we're crazed in the mind
STEWART: You're listening to The Dodos playing "Fools" from their new record "Visitor". You can get video of the full performance plus bonus interview, you can hear the band tell the story behind the cover art for the record. That's at npr.org/bryantpark.
MARTIN: Coming up on the show, new movies featuring Clooney, Foster, and Jones, Norah Jones, that is, Metro Newspaper's Daniel Holloway, the announcement that our new BPP new book club selection, we're going to announce what book we're going to be reading. That's coming up on the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.
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