After a recent boisterous and discordant performance at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Deerhoof's dressing room briefly felt like the center of the indie universe. Hanging out and sipping on the beer and wine that usually go to waste (Deerhoof is more of a tea-swilling bunch) were members of The Dirty Projectors, Yeasayer, The Fiery Furnaces, The Soft Circle, and Lichensyoung, boundary-pushing musicians at the heart of their scene, all ardent admirers of a band whose music usually belies a greater sense of calamity then cool. Before the impromptu after-show party took off, though, two other sets of visitors popped backstage to gleefully meet the band: a pair of wide-eyed stoner adolescents, and Kronos Quartet violinist David Harrington and a friend. The amazement and appreciation on all the visitors' faces was far from dissimilar.
That broad-ranging appeal has allowed Deerhoof to continue to make challenging music the way they like, even if they admittedly never have any idea what they want to create. Having recently completed a tour of Europe and Japan with Congotronics Vs. Rockersan African street music meets American avant-garde collaboration between Deerhoof, Konono #1, Kasai Allstars, Juana Molina, Wildbirds and Peacedrums, and Skeletonsthe band's own U.S. tour continues with an appearance at this weekend's ATP I'll Be Your Mirror Festival in Asbury Park. Deerhoof's free, just-released live album, 99% Upset Feeling, captures the mystifying urgency of their performances; it also contains covers that illustrate the band's devotion to both childlike bliss (Canned Heat's "Going Up to the Country") and caustic uproar (The Ramones' "Pinhead"). Drummer and recent Brooklyn transplant Greg Saunier talked with us about the lack of structure and prognostication in his band's creative endeavors, the coolness of Jeff Tweedy's offspring, the chaotic beauty of helming a 19-piece band, and whether or not one can have a perfect New York moment. More »