Interview: Brant Bjork

posted February 27, 2004

by Corinne

Brant BjorkYour latest album, "Keep Your Cool," is excellent. Did it turn out the way you had hoped?

Iím glad you like Keep Your Cool. I had no expectations going into this record. Itís my ďI donít give a fuckĒ record. I sat in a basement for 10 days with a friend Iíd never made a record with before. It's what it is. What more could you hope for?

"Keep Your Cool" seems to have a different sound than "Brant Bjork and the Operators." Was this a conscious decision?

I consciously try to make each of my records sound different even if itís subtle. It gets boring doing the same thing every time. I admit I like to obsess on certain things in the studio. I work at trying to preserve what Iím feelin at the time Iím recording. You know catch it as is. Capture the day. 1st takes and working fast are important. I think. ďOperatorsĒ and ďKeep Your CoolĒ clearly express what I was feeling at the time that each record was recorded. ďJalamantaĒ too.

Musically, how do you usually approach songs? Having been a drummer for so long, do you come up with a beat first, or melody, or what?

When I write a song I usually start on the guitar but it varies. Iíve written songs on the drums and bass. It depends on what instrument Iím hanging out with or what kind of music Iím feeling. . .Jazz, rock, instrumentals.

What sort of set up do you use for recording your drumming? What's your current drum kit?

I record with a late 70ís Ludwig 4 piece kit. Itís small and tight. Live I play an early 80ís Ludwig kit. Itís a little bigger. Itís the same one I played in Kyuss & FuManchu.

What made you want to start an independent record label [Duna Records]?

I started an independent record label cuz I like freedom.

Besides your own project, Brant Bjork and the Bros, you also drum for Mondo Generator. Do you find it difficult balancing both projects since they both actively tour?

It is tough to balance the Bros and Mondo. Iím dedicated this whole year to The Bros. I really want to concentrate on my own thing for a while. Itís the most important thing for me.

Do you have an opinion on regarding the recent Queens of the Stone Age happenings (the departure of both Nick Oliveri and Mark Lanegan)? And, will this mean a third Mondo Generator album will be recorded sooner than expected?

Thereís not really much for me to say about the Queens ďblowout.Ē I think they all wore themselves out. They got spread out a little to thin the last couple of years. Both Mark and Nick stand alone with no problem. I donít know Nickís Mondo plans.

Name an underrated band you think deserves more attention.

Underrated band I think deservers more attentionÖ? Mike Watt and the Secondmen.

What have you been listening to recently?

Iíve been listening to a lot of Chico Hamilton, Cream, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, and Blue Oyster Cult.

If you could have written any song, what song do you wish you had written and why?

If I could have written any songÖ I would of loved to have written the theme to James Bond. The absolute coolest music ever conducted. Period.