Doug Martsch on 40-year-old Rock and Roll

Despite Built to Spill's success, it's impossible to deny how down-to-earth frontman Doug Martsch is. He remains modest almost to a fault. We talked with him recently about everything from the state of music today to keeping one's artistic freedom on a major record label to last year's NBA finals. Read the entire novel-length interview on DC9 at Night.

In an interview with Pitchfork back in '09, you said of the amount of time lapsing between You In Reverse and There Is No Enemy that "no one's in a hurry to hear anything new."

You know, I'm just being honest. Of course I'd like it if people liked my most current thing, if everyone liked the most current me, if people thought I was better-looking now than ever. But in all honesty, the way I feel about other bands, I see people have the same kind of feelings about ours. That's just sort of a natural thing, especially with rock and roll. You're in your prime in your 20s, maybe into your 30s, but who cares about 40-year-old rock and roll?

Your bio mentions you don't like to explain your lyrics to people because you think it would take away from whatever meaning they've derived from the songs. Is that something you've always felt?

I don't know. It might be something that was intuitive as a child even. Listening to a song, everyone's hearing something different. Not just the lyrics, but the music, you know, everything about it. How you pay attention to it, and what sort of mood or effect it has on you. It's so completely subjective, more than any other art form, I think. Anything is subjective, whether it's a movie or a book, but music more than anything because it's ethereal. Except for some songs that are telling a story — "Boy Named Sue" or something like that — where it's real straightforward.

 
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