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Disappears' Jonathan Van Herik Talks Upcoming Third Record, Shelley's Influence on New Music

By Jon Graef in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 18, 2011 7:40PM


Recently, psychedelic rockers Disappears went on a month-long tour of Europe. During this trek, the quartet, with Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth in tow, stopped by at the A/B Club in Brussels, Belgium.

Some footage of the prolific band’s new material - their second record Guider came out this January, while Kranky debut Lux dropped last April - from the Brussels show emerged online.

One of the new songs, “Fear of Darkness,” (which you can watch above) caught our attention especially, with a rock-steady bass-and-drums two-note groove and a jangly, noir-ish guitar line.

Curious about what other new material the band was working on, we emailed Disappears guitarist Jonathan Van Herik to ask what the band may have in store for the future. Below is his emailed response:

["Fear of Darkness"] does have a bit more melody than some of our earlier songs, and I think that's a thread running through most of the new music we've been writing since Steve's joined the band. Not sure what the correlation is, if any, but it does feel like we're in at least slightly new territory stylistically ...

I think we're finding a nice balance between adding a bit more melody and some of that jangly guitar you mentioned and the crystallization of our old ideas of repetitive, but streamlined arrangements. There's a lot of dub going on in the van lately and it has definitely crept into the discussions about arrangement and production--that use of space and rhythm.

We still make use of a lot of dynamic shifts in the music in general but song for song we've been paying attention to the specific mood for each in a way that's good for the band. We spent a good amount of time honing our ability to hammer through a live set in a sort of frenzied chaos over the last few years, and I would say that the newer material still has that, but we've also learned to let some songs breathe and to create different moods with different songs


Van Herik also said in his email that Disappears will hit up the East Coast with The Psychic Paramount next week, and then tour the West Coast in August with Obits.

Post-tour, Van Herik says the group will record the band’s third record with Aaron Mullan, in Hoboken, New Jersey, who also recorded the band’s recent Plustapes EP, Live From Echo Canyon. If you’re out there Yo La Tengo, crash this session, because I bet it will be awesome.

For music fans in the fly-over states, the next Disappears action will be at this year's Lollapalooza. Check up our past coverage of the band here as homework. In the meantime, as a bonus, here’s the band covering Suicide’s “Radiation,” also at the A/B Club in Brussels.