October 1, 2012


7 Things We Learned From Grizzly Bear's 'New York Magazine' Profile

Barbara Anastacio
Barbara Anastacio

Fresh off the release of their fourth album, the critically acclaimed Shields, and their sold out show at Radio City Music Hall (part of Fuse Music Week, natch), Brooklyn baroque rockers Grizzly Bear find themselves on the cover of this week's New York Magazine. There's all sorts of great stuff in Nitsuh Abebe's profile of the band, but here are some highlights you might find interesting.

Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear's third album, sold 220,000 copies in the US alone: That's a lot for an "indie" band, although not quite Lady Gaga or Mumford & Sons territory.

But that doesn't mean they're rich, or even that well-off: Ed Droste (vocals, keybords) shares a 450-square-foot Williamsburg apartment with his husband. Adebe estimates that, in years in which they release an album, Grizzly Bear members do about as well as your average dentist.

They don't aim to write songs for any particular genre:  Says Droste: "If you go into it with that goal, I feel like what’s going to come out is some sort of turd. Some people come out with a turd that does really well, but …"

And they care more about meeting their own standards than those of the public: "Just the feat of making an album that pleases everyone in the band is so much of an accomplishment,” (Droste) says, "that there’s no awareness of ‘We’re gonna top this, we’re gonna show the audience what’s next.’ To make it fresh for us is already so difficult that it’s almost irrelevant whether it’s fresh for the audience. We’re just so fried by the end—we’ve finally gotten to the point where we all agree this is cool. That’s the best we can f--king do."

They set a deadline for the Shields recording process: "Because we don’t really have a process," says Rossen (vocals, guitar), "things can kind of carry on. So this time, we set a deadline. It might have gone on forever if we hadn’t."

Ed Droste really wishes you'd pay for your music: At $9 a digital download, he says it's the same cost as "a f--king appetizer, a large popcorn at the movie theater, and you’ll have it forever, and they took two years to make it."

They're aware of the fickle (and fleeting) nature of success in the music world: "We live in a world of blogs that are super-judgmental, and we’re not in the clear yet—we don’t have a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. Once you reach a certain level of sales, and you actually hit radio, then I think it doesn’t matter. We’re not there. Mumford & Sons are in the clear—who cares what their reviews are? If you’re already selling a sh-t ton of records, selling out giant venues, it doesn’t matter.” Doesn’t Radio City count as pretty big? “Maybe I’m paranoid. I feel like people are so fickle, everyone can just turn on you so quickly."

Read the whole article at New York Magazine.