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Sound evolution

Fruit Bats: Part Two

[Part 2 of 2]

Read Part 1 of the Fruit Bats interview here...


 

[more:]Prefix Magazine:
I was wondering what your take was on the recent explosion of folk music in pop culture, with the whole neo-folk/freak folk thing. At the same time folk music is gaining popularity, you've moved toward a more pop-centric sound. Was that deliberate?

Fruit Bats:
No, but I do find it funny. You're totally right. I guess I just wasn't aware of what was going to be the hot thing in 2005 [laughs]. I really like the stuff I've heard, but there was no conscious decision to react to it. I just did what I wanted to do. If we're gonna garner comparisons to other stuff, then so be it.

PM:
You often get compared to bands such as the Shins and Holopaw. Does that bother you at all?

Fruit Bats:
Yeah, it does a little, and I like those bands a lot. It only really started bothering me when it turned into every other review, or every single review, that would make the comparisons. I try not to even read them anymore. I try not to get mad, though, especially since most of our press is favorable. Even our press release for Sub Pop mentions those bands.
The only time I get annoyed really is when people write that we're influenced by those bands. I don't mind if people say we sound like the Shins, but I don't like it when people say we're influenced by them, because that implies that we're ripping them off. I mean, our records have come out before the Shins' each time. It's just that James (Mercer, the Shins' frontman) and I both listen to the same kind of music and are influenced by the same sort of things. It's just lazy on the part of the music press to say "this is a more popular band that kinda sounds similar, so they're ripping them off."

PM:
One review in particular that I read, the entire premise was "This is Holopaw, only not as good." I found that really unfair, since your album had even come out first.

Fruit Bats:
That was the Pitchfork review, right? I remember that one. A lot of times when I read bad reviews they're usually reviewing the first song of the record, so clearly they didn't even listen to the whole thing. Holopaw and we have acoustic guitars, and I think that's about where the similarities end. But it's always weird the way we're almost pit against somebody like that. That's what I always feel with those reviews. And we're good friends with those bands, so I don't want to feel like we're in competition with them. The guys in Holopaw read that review and found it hilarious.

PM:
Have you ever called out a journalist on a review?

Fruit Bats:
I would never do that in a million years. That should be an unwritten law. [Journalists are] going to say what they're going to say. I might say something passive aggressively like I am now, but whatever. People are gonna say what they're gonna say, and it's not always going to be nice. And I'm not too worried about it.

PM:
Some artists are famous for hunting down journalists who give them bad reviews and ripping them to pieces.

Fruit Bats:
We've been lucky enough that our reviews have generally been favorable. With the few bad ones that we've had, I guess I can understand why someone would feel that way (toward the press). The things that piss me off are when rock journalists make sweeping assumptions about what you do, what you were going for, and where you're from. But if they're just like, "I don't like this, it sucks," then what can you say?

PM:
You guys are going on tour this fall with Rogue Wave and Chad Van Gaalen. What are your thoughts on touring? Is it something that you enjoy doing or is it just part of the profession?

Fruit Bats:
I enjoy it for the most part. Maybe sometimes on the longer ones I get a little tired of being out there, but I love it. You have about forty-five minutes of responsibility a day. All you gotta do is go play a show, and the rest of the day is just driving or walking around somewhere.

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