by Daniel Colussi | It was only last week that Destroyer wrapped up their Never Ending Tour in support of 2011’s very fine long player, Kaputt. Over the last eighteen months, Dan Bejar and ace backing band, The Kaputt Players, have criss-crossed the North American and European continents, hitting all the major festivals and too many seedy clubs to count. From Coachella to Utrecht, their focus remained the same: bring Kaputt to life every night. But now the tour’s finished and their last official band duty of 2012 is to DJ at The Waldorf this Wednesday night as a benefit for the Portland Hotel Society. The timing couldn’t be better; having lived a communal life on the road and spent nights in dark clubs only to walk out and see the sunrise (or not rise), the band is perfectly positioned to convey the madness and immorality of the road life through a carefully curated selection of mood music. I spoke with guitarist Nic Bragg and organizer Amber Webber about what to expect. Read on…
Nic give me some perspective on what a Destroyer DJ might consist of. We’re like marauders, we’re seasoned old dogs. We just got back from a tour in the land of no sun – Scandinavia – and the cold hard streets of Helsinki, where everything gets really real in a hurry. It’s enough to destroy your mind when you’re living on a bus and you wake up in a new city, and you’re never quite sure how you got there. So for me, I’m going to recreate some of the feelings of being out on the cold streets of Copenhagen, looking into the eyes of Scandinavia. I’m going to be playing wax. My set is going to be golden nuggets, I’m going to have some soul music, some blues, because my tour persona is smokestack, as in the song Smokestack Lightning, as in Lightning Hopkins, probably the best blues guitar player that’s ever influenced me. And a little bit of the crazy vibe of the Muscle Shoals, which I’m addicted to.
So the tour itself is going to inform your playlist? On tour, at the end of the night, after the after-party, the band is still just sitting on the bus playing tunes off Bejar’s iPod, because he’s still trying to teach us what it’s like to listen to jazz music.
Give me just one tour tale that’ll help attendees get into right frame of mind on Wednesday. A crazy thing happened to me in Stockholm. We wake up on the bus…everyone’s groggy. Usually Ted has already scoped out where the best coffee in town is, the best thing to get your life back on track, to find out where you are. The good thing is that when we play these clubs they’re usually in the bourgeois centre of town. So we find the place, we all enjoy some delicious coffee and as I’m coming out this woman starts speaking to me in Swedish. And I’m like, I’m sorry I don’t speak Swedish I just speak English, and she said, Oh no that’s the wrong answer. And then she asks me, How long are you going to be in Stockholm? And I say, I’m only here for six hours, and she says, Oh no that’s the wrong answer. So I had to ask her, What is this? And she says, I’ve been following you and I want to cast you in a Swedish television commercial and you’re perfect for the part. So I just said, Look I’m sorry I don’t speak Swedish and I’m leaving town after the show. But of course I had to ask her, What is this for? What am I perfect for? And she says, The commercial is for a person who loves to go to the racetrack and gamble on horses. So who knows, I could’ve stayed behind and made my career as a two-bit actor in Swedish TV commercials, and that’s the thing, when you’re on tour everyday something could change your life, and that day it happened to be that one thing.
Amber, can you give me a little background on what this night is all about? For the past three Christmases I’ve being working with the Portland Hotel Society. My job is basically to be Santa. I raise a bunch of funds mostly by seeking out donations and buying 1,500 presents, wrapping them and delivering them to all the residential buildings, shelters, Insite, women’s recovery centre, and Life Skills centre, etc. This year the budget was looking really sad – it was working out to be $2.65 a gift! And that’s just plain depressing. So in a final attempt to raise money I put together this fundraiser! Entry is by a donation of $2 or more, plus for every $2 you donate you get a ticket for the door prize draw, which includes so many killer gifts (spa and clothing gift cards, fancy cakes, pottery, band t’s/cds, and other random gift baskets). On top of all this, Destroyer will guest DJ the whole evening.
Destroyer DJ Night at The Waldorf, Wednesday December 19th. Suggested minimum donation $2.
Daniel Colussi is the Music Editor of Scout Magazine and a contributing writer to Ion Magazine. A veteran employee of Zulu Records and tuneage aficionado, he DJs on an infrequent basis (about four times a year) and is a musician around town who plays in several ensembles.