Interview: Pierre de Reeder of Rilo Kiley

posted November 9, 2007

by Corinne

Pierre de Reeder of Rilo KileyHow are you?

Fine, thanks.

Care to introduce yourself?

My name is Pierre de Reeder (the third, actually)

The release of "Under The Blacklight" is quickly approaching. How are you feeling about the album?

Well the timing's different now, and now the record's been out for a few weeks. I feel good about it, regardless of that timing. It's much to hard to be brief about describing the record, but outwardly I'm excited that it's by and large (by in large??... that's one of those expressions I've never actually put in type before) been getting a good reception. There have been some divided opinions out there, too, which is unavoidable... especially when there's anticipation, and preconceptions and all that. But whatever to all that, I like the record and how we arrived at it... and it sure is fun playing the new songs live.

With the band having a number of solo and side projects, what makes you keep coming back to Rilo Kiley?

It's our home base, I suppose. Never felt like there was not going to be a return, either. We took a little break, to soil some musical oats, and we all met back up again just as we'd planned. But at the core of it, I think we all love this band... it's an old friend... for the good and the bad, the drama and serenity, all that, and most importantly what happens musically when we're all together.

It's been more than three years since the last Rilo Kiley album. How do you think solo and side projects affected the sound of "Under The Blacklight?"

I think mostly it cleaned the slate a bit. With our folk and country demons exorcized in side project world, it allowed for a more open book as far as this albums direction. Not to say we don't still have that in us, but it lent itself more to the want of doing something different. Also, it brought back that much more varied experience to the pot. More experience on production, song writing, playing, all that, which of course affects what we did on under the blacklight.

Talk to me about "The Moneymaker" music video. It's an attention grabbing first single with a video to match. Where'd the concept come from?

I'm not sure the exact spark that set off the concept, but it was something we all, along with director Autumn de Wilde, threw around our little video-making think tank. But the content was derived from one aspect, or one way to take, the lyrical content of the song. As a metaphor, the moneymaker could be applied to anything that you do that sells yourself. And the adult industry is one way to go with it. I suppose we could have gone any way with it... perhaps a lonely car salesman to forwent his dreams in order to pay the rent. Admittedly not as sexy.

The album will be your first on Warner. Why did you switch labels?

Well actually, our last album More Adventurous was on Warner as well. It did come out the gates with an imprint label that we made, but it was under Warner... and eventually 'upstreamed' officially. But whatever the case, going to them was just a logical step for us in order to get our music out there on a broader level.

With the album being your fourth as a band, what do you think when you look back at your debut?

It's always strange, funny, scary, exciting, etc. looking back, but I'm proud of our little journey. [Our] debut is nostalgic for all the reasons you might expect... we were younger, finding our way musically, experimenting, all that. All those adjectives, incidentally, can be applied to ourselves today. But there were some specific things about that record, we really took a long time to make it. We didn't really attack it as an album, we just kept recording what became a collection of songs. Near the end, we viewed it as a whole, and crafted in interludes and all that. And we recorded it a home, so that's where I honed my recording engineering and mixing skills.

Who are some underrated bands that you think deserve more attention?

Well, let's see... though he's not underrated anymore, I've historically mentioned M. Ward in this position, because I'd always thought he never got the full attention he deserved. But more currently, let's see... aha, Sea Wolf... is a relatively new band that I think it worth listening to. I think they only have an EP right now, but it's got some sweet songs. Another band, in a genre you probably don't get many recommendations for, is Gwendolyn and the Goodtime Gang. They're an original kids band (not kids in the band, but for kids) and when you put them up against other kids acts like Dan Zanes and the like, they just rise to the top in my opinion. I've have a little girl, so I have my ear to the ground in that world.

What have you been listening to recently?

I've been buying a lot of vinyl recently, so as a result I've been listening to a lot of classic stuff, because I've been trying to get some sweet records on vinyl. So the likes of Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life... Wings, Neil Young, Dolly Parton, Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and so on. Even a good helping of the Bugsy Malone soundtrack.

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

I'll have to think more on this one and get it to you...!! There are truly so many.