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The band Deerhoof has been together in one form or another since 1994

The band Deerhoof has been together in one form or another since 1994 (then as a drum-and-bass duo of Greg Saunier and Rob Fisk). In 1997, they released the album The Man, The King, The Girl, and this year they put out the new album The Magic. The current band line-up features Greg Saunier (drums, vocals), Satomi Matsuzaki (vocals, bass), John Dieterich (guitar), and Ed Rodríguez (guitar). KS caught up with drummer and founding member Greg Saunier in the lead-up to their Japan visit.

Deerhoof is described online as experimental rock veering between noise pop, punk rock, and avant-garde. Does this hit the mark or would you have a different description of the Deerhoof sound?

I describe our music all the time. I might say something like, “that melody is not loud enough,” or “we are playing this part too fast,” or “my drums sound terrible.” I might say “D major.” Those other descriptions are for music journalists or people who design record-store layouts. Good or bad, I am a musician.
Next year marks 20 years since the first Deerhoof album The Man, The King, The Girl. This year saw the release of your latest album The Magic.
Looking at the two albums, what has changed musically about the band and what is still the same?

We had a big change in 1999 when our guitar player quit, and we replaced him with John Dieterich and later added Ed Rodriguez. But I wouldn’t say that our music changed. I would say we are making a large painting and we keep adding to the painting. It is already a much larger painting than we ever thought it would be, and it just keeps getting bigger. The Man, The King, The Girl came out 20 years ago but it’s still there and we’re just putting more decorations on it. Every time we add to it, our music doesn’t so much change as it gets bigger.

Right now we are on tour with Red Hot Chili Peppers. Playing arenas inspires me to write different kinds of songs than playing basements. Also, we are less embarrassed than before. Every year we propose songs to our bandmates that are farther and farther from what we are already comfortable with.

US experimental rock band • Shangri-La, Osaka • Rock • 7pm • ¥4,500/¥5,000 • Tel: 03-6304-9255

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