Ten Minutes With... Chairlift's Caroline Polacheck
Chairlift burst through the national scene last year when Apple used the Brooklyn trio's slightly twisted, chirpy love song "Bruises" to launch the iPod Nano. None of us could get its refrain of "I tried to do handstands for you" out of our minds. The song's-and band's-ensuing popularity led to Columbia Records picking up its album, "Does You Inspire You" in April with two new tracks, including one produced by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor.
The group, who combines quirky pop with electro-synth grooves, has toured with the likes of The Killers; Peter, Bjorn & John and Yacht over the last few months. Coming off its appearance at Bonnaroo last weekend, Chairlift is headlining a trio of dates in Los Angeles starting tonight at three different venues. Hitfix caught up with lead singer Caroline Polacheck on Wednesday to discuss the L.A. gigs, Bugs Bunny band-aids, AIDS testing and David Lynch.
Q: You have three shows in L.A. It must be nice to get to do a small residency with three different venues and audiences.
A: I love that. I wish we could do that more often, especially when we're touring in Europe. We'll go to a whole country and just play one show and the next day take off to another country. I really wish we could stay, particularly in places like London and Paris, and play a whole week, like gallery shows, outdoor free show, a club night, bigger bills, bigger artists, I wish we could take advantage of being in the city like the shows in L.A.
Q: You toured with the Killers in May, and with Peter, Bjorn and John earlier in the year. What is the key to being a good support act?
A: Get your gear on and off stage quickly (laughs). Beyond the logistical things, I think our set by itself makes us a pretty good support band. As you may know from the record, we dabble in all sorts of different genres and moods on this record that we're still touring now and it makes for a set that can be custom tailored to fit any kind of mood.
Q: Is how you get an audience ready for the Killers different from how you'd get them ready for Peter, Bjorn & John?
A: It's not so much as how we see getting an audience ready , we just see an audience having arrived with a certain expectation, so we can either go against those expectations intentionally or work with them. I don't see us as being an appetizer. It's more like a collage. Peter, Bjorn and John are part of the collage; here's the Chairlift part of the collage. At the end, you want folks to walk away with a combination for a nice, rounded evening.
Q: Your band has been based in Brooklyn since 2007. Is there something in the water in Brooklyn right now? There are so many great bands there.
A: Brooklyn is a hub; people move to Brooklyn because of what's already in Brooklyn. It's like how cities pop up like Seattle in the '90s. ...People talk about the Brooklyn scene as if there's one scene or one sound, but that's just it: there's 10, 12, 20 different scenes living right on top of each other. I think it's so interesting, there's a whole underground noise scene, there's an acoustic folk scene going on there, there's a bunch of pop bands like us. There's a whole revival, rock, post-punk thing going on there, it's not just one sound or one scene.
Q: Which one interests you the most, when you're home, other than your own?
A: Well, that question makes me a little bit sad because I haven't been home in a while; we've been on the road straight for the past year...there's an awesome little venue called Zebulon that isn't ever packed, but the artists who play there are consistently interesting and it's an awesome cross section of all the scenes going on there.
Q: Your songs tend to look at life a little differently, like "Planet Health," which, in part, is about discarding people when they get old. How did that one come about?
A: That song is about my experience growing up in the American public school system...I remember getting AIDS tested at Univ. of Colorado as part of a sex class that we took... afterward, they put a Bugs Bunny band-aid on the puncture where they had drawn blood. They put me in a room with a counselor to wait for 20 minutes. To look down and see that Bugs Bunny sticker on that spot that I might never forget for the rest of my life, this really strange kind of the combination of pop culture and very serious medicine...It was so surreal and something that it actually not uncommon. The whole doctor's office mannerism for kids, the public school health class, '80s pop music in these anti-drug videos and the way in which pop feeds into the whole world of medicine and drugs is super surreal to me so I kind of pushed that as far as a could and made a three-dimensional world of all that I was taught in health class. For example, that the food pyramid is an actual place, a trainer is actually like a spiritual guru who guides you through life...
Q: That's what's so intriguing about your songs... you're taking ideas and turning them on their head in a different way, such as with "Evident Utensil" and "Bruises." It's a very different way of looking at love and what we do for love.
A: [With "Bruises"], when people say "I'm crazy for you," they're actually right. They've done tests and National Geographic did a huge feature on it on love, that it actually does rewire the brains of some people, like the first six or nine months are similar to what's happening in the brain of a schizophrenic, but after a certain period of time, the chemicals stop being produced because literally, the brain can't handle it anymore. The chemicals are replaced by a different chemical set that foster long term attachment, but in the meantime there are these crazy chemicals that are literally making you crazy when you're in love and people end up doing all kinds of self-deprecating things while under the influence of those chemicals. ["Bruises"] is very much about that stage of a relationship when people are literally crazy for each other.
Q: Has anyone come up to you and asked you to sign their bruise?
A: No, they haven't, but a boyfriend did ask me to propose to his girlfriend for him before singing that song on stage while I was in Paris. She said yes.
Q: Are you working on the new album?
A: We actually have more than enough songs written for the next record already. Between now and January when we're going to track, we're undoubtedly going to write more. We're going to have quite a cornucopia for the next record.
Q: What can people expect?
A: We're going to continue to write pop songs, of course, but I think they're going to be more consistently dark and angular on the next record.
Q: To me, you guys are really dark and people just don't get it because there are cute little "la, la,la's" thrown in.
A: Yeah, I think David Lynch is the best model of how fucked up "la, la, la's" can be. I think it's an awesome template for us from the start of how pop music can actually be the scariest soundtrack possible sometimes.
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
Let Streaming Genie help you.