Q&A: Lotus Plaza's Lockett Pundt On Deerhunter's Musical Chemistry, His Recent Engagement, And Why "Black Buzz" Is The Best Song He's Ever Written
The titles of Lotus Plaza's two albums reveal a lot about the project's shifting aesthetics. 2009's The Floodlight Collective (Kranky) was a light-saturation exercise in an extremely literal sense, a suffocating gush of effects pedal-generated and otherwise so outsized that it was impossible to tell where instrumental parts, songs, or even Plaza principal Lockett Pundt ended or began.
Meanwhile, the followup Spooky Action at a Distance (also on Kranky) is a definitive grower that unearths its gifts by degrees: an admiration for the clarity and subliminal pacing of tunes like "Strangers" and "Eveningness" gives way to an appreciation for the way Pundt's vocals are closer to front and center, and then, just like that, diffidently confident songs rooted in traditional indie-rock aesthetics that seemed achingly familiar suddenly become companionable and comfortable.
There are bits and pieces of Stereolab, Flying Saucer Attack, Deerhunter (Pundt's main gig), and dozens of other acts in Lotus Plaza's gurgling, chiming flow, but once the current seizes you, it can be difficult to break free of it, or to even want to.
SOTC emailed with Pundt about Spooky Action, how his collaboration with his fiancé Shadya Yavari Nice Weekend came about, and the origin of the name "Lotus Plaza."
b>I heard that you're recently engaged. Congratulations!
Yes, and thank you! I proposed last year in August, and we're getting married this year in September.
That's just around the corner; you must be really stoked. Given that you and your fiancée play together as Nice Weekend and you're part if Deerhunter, is there any chance the ceremony will turn into a jam session?
Very excited. There probably won't be a jam session since it would probably clear the room, but I might play a song there.
You seem to have two sides to you, in terms of your songwriting as Lotus Plaza: there are the structured, contained songs that show up on your LPs, then there are more free-form tunes like your live improvised sets and "Come Back." Are you more comfortable in one mode than in the other?
I'm more comfortable with the more improvised structure of songs, for sure. They are generally more fun to come up with and always fun to play. With most structured songs, what is there is what you get and there's no getting away from how it is. It can get monotonous, playing them over and over.
With songs like "Come Back," you can sort of make up a new ending with it every time. You could even substitute anything at any time during the song and it wouldn't change anything. I feel like I've been writing more structured songs as of late, but some of my favorite songs I've written are a combination of the two styles. I like structure, but being able to move freely within structure is the best. Also, in improvised songs, there's no such thing as a mistake. You commit to it and keep going.