Interview with Dave Davidson of Maps & Atlases

How will the new album, Perch Patchwork, compare to previous releases such as the multiple EP’s you released in past years?

I think one major difference came from the process which had been recording songs during tours whereas this time around we decided to go into the studio and record them all very quickly. I think with this album we took a very different approach by spending more time in the studio which allowed the songs to contain a lot more mood and diversity. I also believe the lyrics are a major difference in this album.

Would you say that this sort of writing process is more favourable?

I learn a lot from doing both. I think that while writing during tours was fun, there was a little time to work with individual instruments; we just sort of went in and recorded them really fast. The result from that is very enjoyable when you just go in and record a finished product very quickly. I think both are very fun and interesting and it’s hard to say which I prefer.

Was this sort of writing process influenced by your band’s signing to a label?

Actually, up until the release we hadn’t even been involved with Barsuk Records. After we had finished it, they asked us. It was really something that would have happened regardless

After this release do you intend to stay signed to Barsuk Records?

We were really excited to work with them. We really liked the stuff they had released and they were really nice people and we’re looking forward to releasing more records with them.

Where are you going to be touring for your upcoming album?

We are going to be starting on April 24th with Frightened Rabbit that will lead up to the release. After the release we hope to do a full U.S. tour in July and August.

For a more general question, what are your writing influences?

That’s a really good question. Musically when we started we were more interested in just establishing our sound. Lyrically we had all this whole method of non-linear writing such as telling more obscure stories. And I think that those two methods worked well together.  I think we didn’t really focus on others and were more interested in expanding our own sound. We really enjoyed being abstract and them still are pretty non-narrative.

How would you describe the genre of the new album, Perch Patchwork?

That’s a good question too; I guess I haven’t really thought about that. It definitely still has an element of technicality and it does have more of a pop element to it. It will be interesting for people to listen to it and classify it. There are also a lot of experimental components that we did that we have never done before. I guess it’s still technical pop and experimental (laughs).

Would it be comparable to bands such as Minus the Bear and Animal Collective?

Yeah, I guess so. I could see that. I think there are actually qualities of both. It’s funny because other people in the band like Minus the Bear. We did a tour with them a few years ago and it was pretty exciting. We definitely learned a lot while playing with them.

Do you think this album is a lot more layered as far as sound as you mentioned you spent a lot more time in the studio?

Yeah, I hope so. There are definitely a lot more layers and a lot more sound production. We spent a lot more time on it. We never spent that much time before. I think one of the things we really wanted to do was to try things that were a lot more challenging in terms of writing. Add a more theoretical aspect to it. We’ve been really lucky experimenting with things. A lot more innovative tempo and key changes that is a lot more seamless. There was a lot more revision on many of the parts and we kept adding a lot more different parts each time we listened to the recordings.

What was the appeal for you to write non-linear lyrics?

Well when the band first started us were all going to college and I had listened to a lot of different poetry and a huge variety of writing methods. We ended up writing music that was a bit more surreal as opposed to a traditional way of writing music. As the band went on, we still focus on a very visual aspect of life even though this release may be a bit more linear than past. We focussed a lot on writing about obscure stories we had read earlier and wanted to see what that would sound like in a song. It didn’t seem really appropriate to have a very basic over the music we were playing; it would have sounded out of place.

Another question, when Maps & Atlases first started self-releasing music was it difficult to circulate your albums to the public?

It was definitely easier that it used to be. We just started doing shows and while no one showed up at first, we kept at it and eventually people started showing up. I just think it sort of built up from there. There were definitely some challenges but looking back it wasn’t as hard as it could have been.

Thank you for your time Dave, hope all goes well with the release.