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Hanging with Stephen Colbert and the joy of collaboration are on the agenda as Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen explains how they’re now a different band.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 05 Oct 2012
Never believe the promises of a musician. They’ll only break your heart. And so it was that your correspondent didn’t end up circling the air carnival-style with Daniel Rossen at Stradbally. It’s pre-Electric Picnic, he’s in Brooklyn, I’m in Dublin, and I’ve just suggested that he and the other three-quarters of Grizzly Bear join me for a ferris wheel interview at the festival. “Absolutely!” he laughs. “That sounds good, let’s make that happen!”
It never comes to pass, but maybe he saw right through me – I’m just trying to one up Stephen Colbert in the ‘unlikely interview setting’ stakes. The band lauded to high indie heaven since the release of third album Veckatimest are back after a two-year break and chose to mark their return with a performance on The Colbert Report, talking beforehand to the faux right-wing comedic host in a rowing boat dubbed the USS Intrepid.
“That is about the best thing you can do. I love Colbert, he’s a gem. He’s an American hero! So sitting that close to him, it was definitely very hard to conceal the giddiness. For the first performance since 2010 to be on television was pretty intense. A little bit scary at times. A good way to start though, throwing ourselves right back into it. Might as well go all the way, right away!”
The period apart was one of both recovery and self-exploration.
“The success of Veckatimest resulted in a lot of touring and a lot of pressure in a way that we hadn’t experienced before. It was exciting, but also really exhausting. We got to the stage where we thought, ‘We have to step away for a second and not be a band for a while’.”
Solo projects surfaced, with Rossen – the band’s co-voice along with founder Ed Droste – slipping out an EP in March.
“When I did stuff on my own I made it really low pressure and only did a few shows, barely did any interviews. I just went, ‘Put a record out!’ and left it alone. Part of that’s because I’m not particularly good at promoting myself anyway, I tend not to do it.”