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

Lotus Plaza, "Strangers"

Was "Untitled," the opener for Spooky Action at a Distance, meant to serve a bridge of sorts from Floodlight Collective?

I had made this long, ambient song out of that synth loop and I knew I wanted to begin the album with it. It makes sense to say that it acts as a bridge, because I feel like the synths at the end of "Black Buzz" are acting as one for what I want to do next with music.

Spooky Action feels more open and less hermetic than The Floodlight Collective did. It's as though these new songs are able to breathe better. Did you go into this album with that in mind, as a direction?

For sure. I knew I definitely didn't want to make another record like my first one going into this one. I wanted the songs to be more direct. There's a lot going on inside each song on my first record that is lost to obscurity by effects, and I didn't want to do that for this one. I'm not sure how I would recreate a lot of the songs from my first record in a live setting and have them sound the way they do. That was a mission when recording this record: I wanted the songs to be stripped down to five parts, and when played live, not lose their personality and body.

What was the first song you wrote for Spooky Action?

The first song I wrote was "Strangers," followed closely by "Out of Touch. Both songs began on this kid's drum set I bought at a thrift store.

Was that set awkward to play?

A little bit. It's sort of like riding a kid's tricycle or something. I only used it when I wrote the songs; on the record I used a regular drum set.

"Strangers" does some interesting things with rhythm late in the song, some hallucinatory things that stop the listener dead in her tracks.

I wanted the end of the song to slow down until it had this long, stretched-out feeling—sort of like changing the tape speed or putting a finger on a record and slowing it down.

I did the first demo on an 8-track cassette recorder and changed the tape speed at the end to slow the song and change the pitch down until it was really long and drawn out. When recording it for the album, I wanted to have the same effect, but I decided against the downward pitch that comes with slowing down tape, so I slowed down the drum beat and all the instruments with it instead.

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