In just a few days, one of the most anticipated album releases of 2022 will be unleashed. The iconic alternative rock outfit Pixies will be releasing Doggerel. This is the band’s third album with producer Tom Dalgety, and I caught up with David, Joey, and Paz to talk about their work on the album, as well as some upcoming shows that they have, and what we can expect from Doggerel.
Hey guys, thanks for talking with me today! Now that the summer festival season and the European tour has come to an end, how was it for you guys?
Paz: I didn’t know how to pack. I had forgotten how to pack completely. It was like my suitcase was pregnant and I was carrying around this bulge of a thing wondering when it was going to give birth. These things that seemed to be so natural, didn’t seem so natural anymore and I had to relearn after it had been like two years.
There were little rough spots in the beginning, I got another suitcase. And I figured out what I actually needed! And it was just fixing these problems I never knew that I had. and because of the pandemic I didn’t even know how to pack, because I was staying in one place for too long.
But musically, I felt like I had played and sang better than I ever have in my life. I enjoyed being on stage more than I ever have. I don’t know if it’s because I took it for granted, but I just appreciated this tour.
Joey: For me it was just like an old hat. It’s like we weren’t going to be on tour until Tel Aviv. If we can tour there, we can tour anywhere, it’s like a third of the way. Because it’s really far, and for us it’s just the real test of that pandemic, that big trip there.
I told my girlfriend I just can’t wait till this becomes normal again, where I call you, and I’m just bitching about how I’m too tired to play. That’s when I know it’s back to normal! But, having said that, bitching on the road is such a luxury. What a problem, right? I’d rather be bitching on the road about wanting to be home than being home and bitching about not being on the road.
Paz: It’s tropical problems as they say!
Dave: I’m going to have to agree with Paz and Joe. Packing is something I completely forgot how to do, and the appreciation that I had from not doing this for two years period I appreciated everything from the hotel room, to the town that we were in, to playing, to holding a drumstick. You just have to soak it in and it was wonderful. And again, I agree that our musicianship went up. All these shows that we got to play, and I’m not consistent but I thought we did very well and it was a joy to do.
Have you been playing any new material other than the singles, and how does it feel to not only be back, but to be playing new music?
Joey: Yes. I like it because it’s a new feeling for those four songs, it’s just like being new again. It’s cutting your teeth, it’s like starting from somewhere where no one heard any of the songs just like back during the club days. People seem to be enjoying it.
Dave, I know you had surgery for carpal tunnel on both hands, are you more comfortable now playing the drums during this tour?
Dave: It’s been wonderful, and it was a silver lining that I was able to get this done during COVID. But it’s now a world of difference how I feel with playing. And celebrate I’ve actually changed the way that I play. I used to play with the traditional grip, and now I’m back to the match grip and that makes my drum-tech very happy because my drums are set up normally now, and he can easily sit on them and play them.
Paz, when you guys travel to Vermont and got back into the studio, what was that like, to be able to record again?
Paz: At this point I think it’s been our third album with Tom and this time everyone took their seat at the table. Before we were just trying to figure out who sits where and now it’s like everyone’s in position. We excelled because we didn’t have to do all that legwork that we had to do in the past, and we went straight into the creative. And we had all of this material before we went into the studio.
It wasn’t like, oh let’s figure out the songs and work on this record, the record was unfolding every day and it was a new way for me to see this thing kind of blossoming versus doing the dirty work, planting the seed, and doing the watering.
All the material and the demos were already set, so it’s like when we came in we just let it unfold, because we all knew our position. This is my third record, and also Tom’s third record and it did feel very organic. It was a joy where we were, I would take a walk to the studio which was like 1/4 of a mile uphill in the snow, and it just set the tone.
I love working in the winter, because you hibernate more and it makes you feel like you’re not missing anything and you just want to be inside. To me it’s my favorite record that I’ve ever made. Not just Pixies. It’s this time and place, when getting older takes center stage in your life, and it’s just like this is awesome. I’m proud of it and I can’t wait to release it, and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do.
Creatively, did you guys have any idea where you were going to go with this album before the recording, or did it just happen as Paz Said, and unfolded smoothly. Because Joey, I know you said there’s no songs that are under 2 minutes, though the Pixies twist is still there.
Joey: Smoothly. Now those 3 minutes songs became 3 minute songs because they were just three minutes. Just like the two minute, and one of the half minute songs were just that. The song is the boss.
Dave: There’s no formula.
Joey: Right, there is no formula.
Was this all new material, or did you guys bring along any leftovers from previous sessions?
Paz: Who wants to eat leftovers?! But no, this was all new original material. I just bring Paz into it. As Joey was saying, the song is the boss. If it doesn’t need me to write a bridge, or if it doesn’t need me to write a lyric, I’m just not going to do it.
And these songs were very well formatted and structured except for maybe one song. And in the end we were just like let’s move this around here or there, but for the most part I just did me. I played the bass, and I sang some backup. And that’s what I like to do!
There is one song which wasn’t quite there, just did a little arrangement and Joey brought in some new material. And to be honest, I was so happy to learn who Joey was just through his songwriting. Because it brought in a new layer to this person that I’ve toured with who plays guitar, and it’s just awesome, and now I get to know Joey in the Pixies as a songwriter. And I love everything he had to say as a songwriter. And for me I just really loved it and I want him to do more songwriting.
How was it working with Tom again, and how did his vision shape the album to what it became?
Dave: It was great. This is our third record with him. As each record got on, it was more of a family sort of thing, where he really knew about us, and we knew what he was offering. I think it’s very beneficial for us the way it worked out with us towards him, and him towards us. It made a lot of communication better, when you know someone and you can speak to them like family as far as viewpoints and ease and comfort.
Joey, as Paz Mention this time you did some Co-writing for some of the songs, such as Pagan Man. It’s a very infectious song in great of whistle along with, can you tell us more about that track?
Joey: It has such a great melody. All I did was turn these phonetics into words and made sense of them. That’s fun. And in the end, I swear to God I had to check what a Pagan was just to see. I mean I knew what a Pagan was, with the nature connection, but that’s when I started putting the moon in there, the tides in there and such.
So I have to ask, who plays the theremin on Haunted House?
Paz: It’s a mini mogue. We wanted a theremin sound, but we didn’t have one.
That was driving me nuts because I was wondering who’s playing this, because it’s so appropriate for the song, which is something you guys are great at setting a mood and a tone.
What are some of your personal favorite songs on the album?
Joey: I like ‘Get Simulated.’
Paz: Me too.
Joey: Guitar part wise, I love the part where I just channeled Keith Richards. They just kept telling me sloppier. And I was like alright, I’ll make it as sloppy as I can. I actually practiced it when we were in Europe. I thought we were going to do it, but it just feels really fucking cool when playing it. It just feels cool to do.
Paz: And David, what were you doing playing a tray with cutlery?
Dave: Oh yeah, I had this tray with forks and knives and I just banged them on the ground where the downbeat was.
That’s incredible, I love how creative you guys get, because I would have never thought that’s what that was.
Paz, now that you’re a few albums in with the band, how does all this feel for you?
Paz: I am honored to be the one to be a part of all of it and keep this amazing band pushing forward with all of it. Transformation is a part of everything. I’m happy to be a part of that which became better in the sense because it had to change. You just have to kind of figure out organically what it is you’re supposed to do. And with this record, it feels like I’m finally at the place where I can say, ah, we’re there. It feels like it’s a transformation and this record has become the butterfly.
I love the dynamic that you bring to the group Paz, and how the band approach this. On stage together, in the studio. And I think not just your music, but how you guys approach it is also a huge part of your legacy.
Paz: The hardest thing with any art is to be yourself. And there’s a lot going on in this world where everyone is trying to be something else, and here’s a band that’s just like no, there’s nothing to prove. We’re all just being ourselves. We’re at home on this stage, we talked to each other on the stage. We are there to do what we think we do best in this life, and we love to share it. But being ourselves is to me the highest art, because you are just who you are.
You will be playing a few back to back shows in Los Angeles, as part of a couple of dates in the US, But you’re also going to have Japan Australia and New Zealand. What can we expect from those shows?
Dave: We’re definitely going to be playing the new material, while we were in Europe we played I think 4 new songs from the album. And I should preface by saying this, we’re not an antisocial band, we’re not talking to the audience when we’re on the stage because we’re doing what we’re doing. It’s just bang bang bang bang. We’ve developed a stagecraft, and we love what we’re doing. And we’ll continue on.
Joey: Thank you!