What about the label [Jagjaguwar]? Were they always on board with this ambitious idea, or did you have to fight to do this kind of a record?
France: They were a little freaked out, a little nervous. But they were supportive. They were like “OK, if you wanna do this, we’re just sayin’. People don’t do this, but if you wanna do it, then do it.”
Rado: I think they were behind us the whole way. The only thing was when we turned it in, they had a few like mixing notes that they might want to change.
You know, the label, they’re kinda weirdos there, too. They reissued, like, the Swell Maps records. And some of that’s like kind of gnarly and homemade. And I think they realise you can’t whittle a complete piece of work down. They would never say, “Why don’t you make this just one album? Why don’t you cut this?” I feel like they understand.
As with so many things with Foxygen, there seems to be a little mythology around the name of the record. Last fall on Facebook you even seemed to suggest you’d be changing the band’s name to …And Star Power. Now in the press release for the album, you say, “Foxygen have joined Star Power. It’s a punk band, and you can be in it too if you believe in it.” Can you elaborate on the concept?
France: The concept was basically that we thought of ourselves as a new band. What we were doing was so different that we wanted to kind of create this vague idea that maybe we were a different band altogether, that maybe there were other people taking over this record as we were making it.
With this monster record, it’s almost as though you’ve doubled down on the skeptics and said “OK you think we’re gratuitously weird, shameless appropriators of this and that? Well, here’s four times as much shameless appropriation.”
France: [Laughs] Probably a little bit. And there’s also the live show aspect. Things just kind of snowball at our shows, and we kind of go with a new vibe, kind of an impulsive thing that people aren’t used to seeing nowadays. But we definitely enjoy a bit of friction sometimes, although it’s better nowadays. Now at our shows, we’ve kind of figured out the formula to put on an entertaining show but not alienating people, not creating a bad vibe.
Rado: People still hate us though [laughs]. And they’re forever gonna hate us. It’s fine. I read a John Cage quote the other day that was like, “If your music doesn’t irritate people, you’re doing something wrong.”
Rado, I read where you said that it didn’t surprise you that people took to the last record, because came from a sincere place. And I thought that was interesting coming from a band whose detractors like to say Foxygen is just one big tongue in cheek send-up. Any expectations what people will make of this one?
Rado: I have hopes. I hope that people take to it because it’s the same level of sincerity. We don’t do anything tongue in cheek or sarcastic, because how could you make music ironically? Like, people call us an “ironic band” and that makes no sense to me. How does someone have the drive to make ironic music? I could never do that. It’s a real, sincere thing. It’s something that we sat down and labored over for five months, so I hope people really enjoy it.