A Winged Victory for the Sullen - 10.13.11

Interviewed by
A Winged Victory for the Sullen - 10.13.11The story of how you two met and started to make music is very fascinating. What made you think, “I’d love to make music with this person…”? Do you think you could describe how the events unfolded for our readers?

Dustin: Adam and I met in Italy at a Sparklehorse concert. I was living there at the time and my amazing engineer friend Francesco Donadello ( aka The Scientist) was friends with Adam. Adam and his ex-wife Christina formed the backing group for Sparklehorse that night. Christina did some amazing visuals for the show and I spoke to her about doing something for my solo project. This was how Adam heard my music, while she was working on this project. He sent me some of his music and we became mutual fans. About a year later we decided to try to do something together, not really knowing what would come of it – a song, a couple songs. He came out to Berlin where I live now and after a few days we already had the forms of a few songs. It was pretty clear right form the start we had some good chemistry. So really in the end it was because of Mark Linkous that we met. He will be missed...we dedicated this record to him and wrote a requiem.

Given that you’ve both been making music for a while – that is actually very critically acclaimed – how do you think this affected the way you approached the song writing and recording process? And how did the recording itself actually happen, since (I think) you live in different places?

Dustin: We had no idea if we could write together.. it was an experiment for sure. But as we discovered there was a real language between us, so it all felt really natural. We also decided pretty early on that we didn't want to do a record of file sharing..but actually be in the same room when we wrote. This is when magical things happen that cannot happen when your alone and the record would have never been the same. It's not always about the writing, it's about the conversations and having shared experiences. Adam and I have parallel lives in someways so we really bonded this way. There was a lot of going to Brussels, and Berlin, and all these journeys to record -- they all come out in the record and it would never have been the same if we just stay in our studios working alone.

What were your biggest influences in the making of the record?

Dustin: Time and space.

Two other great musicians that I admire, Hildur Gudnadottir and Peter Broderick, were also involving with this project. How did you bring them on board and what was it like working with them? What did they bring to the table?

: Hildur and Peter and both good friends and also happen to live in Berlin. We really wanted to have some unique string work on this record; no one plays cello like Hildur and no plays violin like Peter -- you can immediately recognize it's them, and they are both really amazing composers as well. It really cuts down the time to explain things when you already have a creative connection. It was really great to have them perform on the record. We also recorded with a quartet from Berlin headed by violinist Elissa Lee.

What made you pick Kranky as the label to release this album under? Did it have anything to do with Adam’s affiliation with the label?

Adam: It had everything to do with my history with the label. Mr. Kranky is a good friend, and he believes in my vision. What ever that is?

Dustin: you have also released another album this year, Lumiere, which is easily one of the most beautiful releases of 2011 and – in my opinion – your best work to date. Does it ever become challenging to work on many different projects and to remain original while doing so? Do you ever get writer’s block?

Dustin: Thanks for saying so. I worked for a while on the record and I'm very happy with how it came out. I really let this record simmer for a while. I wrote and recorded it over 3 years, while working on other projects. Sometimes you just can't rush things, especially this kind of music. I had a lot of records come out this year but actually they were all in the works for a while, so I'm as fast a writer as it might seem! When I was living in Italy I experienced writers block for the first time and it was devastating. In some ways it inspired the move to Berlin, and sometimes a physical move can also create a spiritual move inside and release these blocks. When I arrived in Berlin things seemed to open up again and I was able to finish the record. It made me realize the danger of being too isolated. Working on my own music is a really solitary experience, but I think after a while, you always need a collaboration to get out of your own head. I found this working with Adam -- a collaboration that really inspired me and brought something that I could never do on my own. I don't do a lot of collaborations as I don't find many people I can compose with, but I can honestly say with Adam it's one of the most natural feelings I have had in a long time.

Are there any plans for another “Piano Solos” release?

Dustin: Yes definitely. I like the idea of trilogies, it feels unfinished at Volume 2. But I think I will take my time with it. I need to really have something to say to make it worthwhile, and as always, these things take time. I also feel like I have not explored string work enough and will continue with this as well.

Can we expect any new material from Stars of the Lid, Adam? If not, what about your other projects, such as The Dead Texan?

Adam: As with everything SOTL, it happens very slowly. Someday we will release another record. The Dead Texan is probably a one off, but you should never say never.

I’m assuming that you are both a fan of each other’s solo works. What would you say is your favourite album that the other has released?

Dustin: Well that's how we decided to try to work together. I think my favorite album of Adam's is The Tired Sounds Of Stars Of The Lid.

Since this album is a collaboration, and both of you have worked with various other notable bands and musicians in the past, are there any others that you would like to work with? On A Winged Victory for the Sullen as well as other solo/different projects?

Dustin: Its always hard for me to think about the future. I just try to live in a serendipitous way. So I can't say there is anyone particular I want to work with. But I can say I feel that Adam and I have more work to do and another album we can create, so I am really looking forward to this.

Lastly, do you think you are going to tour to promote the record? Any plans to come to North America?

Dustin: Yep, we have a North American tour in OCT/NOV and then dates in Europe.
Displaying posts 1 - 5 of 5
09:28 AM on 11/01/11
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nickstetina's Avatar
I really enjoy this record, wish I could catch their upcoming show in Chicago!
11:10 AM on 11/01/11
blackest black ever
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boomerangslang's Avatar
Damnit, I love Kranky so much.

Thanks for this. Good interview, as always. Major props for asking about SotL.
07:08 PM on 11/01/11
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IWasHerHorse's Avatar
Just saw them the other day in Phillly. It was really great and I grab their record which is real nice.
08:26 PM on 11/01/11
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kazuma_ootaro28's Avatar
A Winged Victory for the Sullen's album is beautiful. Now I have to check out Dustin O'Halloran's album next.

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