Caroline Polachek of New York act Chairlift doesn’t have an issue with their single being used in an iPod ad- and neither should you. Their sunny, adorable ‘breakthrough’ single Bruises from their debut album Does You Inspire You was used to promote the iPod Nano in 2008 and Polachek resents the term “sellout.”
“People like to throw that word around because it protects them as fans from being mainstream; when people say it, it’s more a statement of them than the band. People like to protect their coolness. Before Inspire had even come out, I was at university full time, working underpaid side jobs for artists and we really didn’t exist as a band but we were building up some attention in New York. When we were offered something like an iPod ad, we said yes without thinking about it at all and have no regrets. It was so crazy seeing it on TV between classes. I remember not being able to speak for a while, I just thought, “We’re a real band, we really exist!”. That was a fun moment.”
I mention that most people assume musicians that reach a certain level must make an absurd amount of money from it. Polachek agrees, but sets the inaccurate assumption right.
“The big ones are rich, I guess. The best thing was getting involved with people that never would have heard of us outside the indie hipster scene, suddently we have seven-year old fans and seventy-year old fans…we’re not advertising cars, we’re advertising the consumption of music.”
With a sturdy level of acclaim already under their belt, Chairlift will be releasing their second album, Something in 2012, the first single of which- Amanaemonesia- shows a new kind of maturity and delightfully dark weirdness in the band, see below.
“I actually think that people that know the first record will enioy the second one the most. On the first album, the songs were all over the map; country, spaced-out synth prog…on the new record we kinda defined more of what we like about our experiments, so it’s more muddled up and tied together, more restrained. We are slowly figuring out what we like about certain sound textures. It’s a lot more consistent, but you might be surprised to find it’s more energetic and aggressive”
“Does You Inspire You was mostly written at night, too. Mostly written alone, so it has that dreamy nocturnal sound, a sunset feeling…this record is high noon, eyes wide open, digging in your claws. It’s more grown up; we spent about a year and a half touring our first record, which made our skin thicker and forced us to grow up. Happiness does come with an undertone of resentment and sadness has a silver lining to it.”
With the band coming to Australia for both the 2012 Laneway Festival and their Melbourne and Sydney sideshows, talk turns to the delights and difficulties of touring.
“It’s kind of what you would expect; the hardest thing about touring is that you’re never alone; sharing hotel rooms, on the bus, every bathroom is a public bathroom- it starts t0 wear me out not to be alone. Music is my only time to be alone…whether I’m wearing headphones or writing a song no-one sees…it’s introspective privacy.”
“I think Australia as an audience is much more forward thinking…” Polachek says, when proclaiming excitement about hitting our shores. “Especially with radio. Radio is so super conservative [in America], it’s still based on buyouts from record labels, it’s not as forward thinking and experimental in the states.”
Chairlift sideshow dates:
Tuesday January 31, 2012 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney w/ Elizabeth Rose
Tuesday February 7, 2012- East Brunswick Club, Melbourne w/ Elizabeth Rose
Head to the Laneway Festival website for acts and details.
Words: Lisa Dib