Birmingham Weekly: David, thanks for your time. We are enjoying Strange Negotiations. If you will, talk about the evolution of the album. Were these a newer batch of songs or ones that had been around for some time?
David Bazan: Some of the music and lyrics had been hanging around for a while. The guitar riff and melody that are the basis of "Wolves At The Door" I wrote in 2002. It tried to make its way on to various releases, but it just never was right. I wrote "Eating Paper" with a buddy three or four years ago. There are a couple of those on there that were hanging around for a while in various forms. I just collect little bits and pieces here and there and I went to the "bits-and-pieces pile" pretty hard when I went to make this record and I was able to turn the bits and pieces into tunes that I really liked.
BW: When you find a song - or piece of a song - that you wrote several years ago, does it present itself in a new way when you revisit it?
DB: There's always something new there. Part of that is just my process. I'm pretty unsentimental about cannibalizing a song for a melody and discarding the lyrics for brand new lyrics. If there's a bit that I'm turned on by, I'll just do whatever I need to do to turn into a tune that I like now.
BW: Do songs continue to evolve even after you take them into the studio?
DB: Absolutely. With this record, when we did the drums and the bass on most of the tunes, we didn't know what the guitar parts were going to be. When it came to doing the guitars, it was like icing.
BW: How would you describe the Seattle music scene these days?
DB: I think that it's constantly evolving. There's such a strong heritage of smart songwriters and great rock bands - it's the way the gravity goes over there. The content itself is constantly changing. Right now, it's Fleet Foxes and The Head and The Heart, that kind of thing happening.
BW: How do you feel about the state of the industry in the age of iTunes, Internet and satellite radio?
DB: I think that the democratization of the music industry is a mixed bag but, ultimately, it's a net positive. There's a lot of people who are great songwriters and singers who couldn't have navigated the landscape of the music industry 15 or more years ago. Now, you dont have to. It's a challenge to make a living, but I was never owed a living from doing this anyhow.
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