Lion Tamer No More

The artist formerly known as Pedro the Lion is paying CU a visit. Shedding his old moniker to start recording and touring under his given name while recently signing to Barsuk Records (also home of Death Cab for Cutie, Mates of State, and Starlight Mints), David Bazan just released a 10-track EP, Fewer Moving Parts, which includes five new songs and their acoustic versions. Check out what Bazan, who some consider one of today’s best songwriters, had to say about his new music and career choices:

buzz: Was joining Barsuk Records a big move for you? Does something like that have any sort of effect on your new material?
David Bazan: The move to Barsuk is amazing, I was on Jade Tree for a long time and that was a good place for me to be, but not going under the band name any more feels really good and the camaraderie on the label is just amazing. I’m buddies with a bunch of the other artists – the Death Cab dudes, Dave from Aqueduct.

buzz: How did your recent tour with Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie) go?
Bazan: It was awesome. I mean, that guy is a huge star now; the shows are bananas. It was just fun and really easy.

buzz: Did your switch from “Pedro the Lion” to using your own name reflect upon your new music?
Bazan: I think that it does. It’s not like I was trying to branch out and do something drastic, but it was more me just trying to figure out what my process was. I have a deep love and admiration for bands that are real bands. My three favorite bands are like that – The Beatles, Radiohead, Deerhoof. They all play together and arrange songs, and I like that, but I was torn and I didn’t know what the best way to do it was. When the stakes are this high, having other people involved is sometimes too much when experimenting. People get hurt if stuff doesn’t work out. I just needed to be alone for awhile and take stock with what’s going on with me. The music is different, but I think that’s just because after a couple years, you change, and so does your music.

buzz: Does having your own studio at home help the creative process?
Bazan: Yeah, I haven’t had the pleasure of being in real professional studios too often. I used one for part of Winners Never Quit and Control. I’ve done most of my recording in a home area with my own equipment and that’s because my trial and error process works best in that environment. When everything crystallizes, you get those magic takes that make all of the botched ones worth it.

buzz: What did it feel like to be named one of the top 100 living song writers by Paste Magazine?
Bazan: That’s a crazy thing. I was very flattered, and you try not to take that shit too seriously, cause that can really derail a guy. It can go straight to your head. I just make sure that I really like my work, so I can get up in front of a bunch of people and play it and feel great. I don’t need that sort of feedback to continue.

buzz: Your recent EP Fewer Moving Parts features acoustic versions of every track. Are audiences going to be seeing you on stage with a band, or in more of a solo setting?
Bazan: I’m for sure going to be up there alone with an electric guitar for all of my fall dates. I really dig the Highdive in Champaign. I was there this summer and immediately wanted to go back, so I’m excited for the show.

Head over to The Highdive this Saturday, September 8 to see Bazan play his new material. The early show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $12.

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