NPR’s Scott Simon speaks to Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein about their new album, “Little Rope.”
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Within the mid-Nineties, two younger guitarists in Washington state started to play collectively of their day off from different bands.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “HELL”)
SLEATER-KINNEY: (Singing) Hell do not don’t have any worries. Hell do not don’t have any previous. Hell is only a signpost once you take a sure path.
SIMON: They took a reputation that was proper in entrance of them, Sleater-Kinney, from the interstate exit closest to their follow area. Thirty years later, Sleater-Kinney is out with its eleventh album, “Little Rope.”
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “HELL”)
SLEATER-KINNEY: (Singing) You ask why like there is no tomorrow.
SIMON: And we’re joined now by these two musicians, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker, each in Portland. Thanks a lot for being with us.
CORIN TUCKER: Thanks.
CARRIE BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having us, Scott.
SIMON: I’ve received to start with that tune. You do not hear a variety of songs about hell. I imply, there are extra songs about, you recognize, New York, Chicago, heaven for that matter. Why did you wish to do a tune about hell? Corin Tucker? Yeah, please.
TUCKER: I feel that tune type of got here from a second of revelation concerning the type of tradition of violence that we reside with in the US and the way we have come to type of normalize it as one thing that’s an on a regular basis prevalence. And so it is actually meant to be a metaphor about dwelling with that and feeling prefer it’s – you recognize, it is taking on area in our on a regular basis life and simply, you recognize, having a second to type of reckon with that.
SIMON: And, Carrie Brownstein, how are you coping with it emotionally? I imply, the – a number of the lyrics are simply overwhelming.
BROWNSTEIN: For me, the tune “Hell” is about embracing the mess, reconstituting and type of reclaiming it, you recognize, not considering of it as a spot to banish oneself however a spot to to reform ourselves, a spot to only come to phrases with, I feel, a number of the realities and, and the ugliness and perhaps rework that into one thing that is highly effective.
SIMON: Carrie Brownstein, hope you do not thoughts – I’ve to ask you a couple of robust interval you went via only a couple years in the past, even much less. Your mom and stepfather died in a automotive accident. First, how are you doing? And was music a type of mild that helped information you out of darkness?
BROWNSTEIN: Nicely, I am OK as, you recognize, anybody is or will be after type of the construction of your life is dismantled in a very sudden manner. As the whole lot round me was misshapen, music – it was a kind that I knew. Taking part in guitar is one thing I’ve completed since I used to be in my teenage years. And the ritual of putting my fingers on the guitar neck and the fretboard – that was a solidity. That was a continuing. And I feel if you end up thrust into a spot that’s incoherent, music – it is phrases. It is language. It is one thing to repeat and a ritual that I actually understood. So I actually wanted it. I wanted to listen to Corin’s voice. She has a voice that is greater than me. And I felt fairly diminished. And this band is larger than me.
(SOUNDBITE OF SLEATER-KINNEY SONG, “SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT”)”)
SIMON: Let me ask you about one other monitor, “Say It Like You Imply It.”
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT”)
SLEATER-KINNEY: (Singing) Go softly with me. My coronary heart is uncooked. Too many losses have left me down. You’ve gotten your story, your hidden scars. Simply inform me one factor. Simply say the phrases.
TUCKER: All of us should say goodbye in some unspecified time in the future. And, you recognize, it type of is supposed to take the listener on a journey. And a few of it’s unhappy, and a few of it’s offended as a result of that is type of the value you pay for loving somebody.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT”)
SLEATER-KINNEY: (Singing) Say it such as you imply it. This goodbye hurts once you go.
TUCKER: You already know, that goodbye is coming in some unspecified time in the future. And I do know it sounds prefer it’s a downer, nevertheless it’s meant to really be type of, reside life when you have it. Say the issues you could really say to that individual when you have the time collectively.
BROWNSTEIN: The counterpart to me to that sense of restlessness and urgency is that you simply additionally hit, like, the excessive factors, too. You already know, even in “Say It Like You Imply It,” like, there is a freedom in having somebody say it. What’s it? Love me such as you imply it. Depart me such as you imply it. Dwell such as you imply it. Like, to me that it has such a weight to it. You simply need somebody to step forth with honesty.
SIMON: Carrie Brownstein, whereas we’ve got you, I am an enormous fan of “Portlandia.”
BROWNSTEIN: I am not shocked, Scott, as a result of to me, like, that is “Portlandia” and NPR. We have been holding fingers for years, have not we? We’re, like – we’re cousins.
SIMON: Alas, sure.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “PORTLANDIA”)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) The air is humid in Portland, Ore.
BROWNSTEIN: (As character) I shut my eyes and attempt to think about rising up in a spot like this, dwelling with the sensation that I will by no means be capable of go away.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) It is a closed briefing. There is no press.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) No, they’re good. We had the choice between physique cameras and podcasters. I went with the podcasters. My children love them.
SIMON: However I like the way in which “Portlandia” makes enjoyable of all that.
BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. I feel in the end, I look via life and phenomena with a really absurdist lens. And I actually favor, in the end, to see it with humor and to have the ability to make enjoyable of ourselves, to type of know our failings…
BROWNSTEIN: …Know the methods we’re foolish and be capable of acknowledge it. That is a shared language the place all of us have our flaws out within the open. And we type of study them and chuckle at ourselves and at one another. That, to me, is an actual pleasure.
SIMON: How do you two write a tune collectively?
TUCKER: Yeah. I imply, I feel we use a number of methods. Typically, we simply sit in a room and play guitar collectively and see what occurs and jam on one thing. Typically, Carrie will begin a tune and ask me to return in and sing on a component together with her. Typically, I will begin a tune, and Carrie will fully rewrite a number of the music beneath it and write guitar over it. So I feel we use a variety of completely different methods. But it surely’s all about making the tune what we construct collectively for Sleater-Kinney, type of the world that we’ve got that we expect is that this Sleater-Kinney world, if that is smart.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “CRUSADER”)
SLEATER-KINNEY: (Singing) Ceaselessly rings a life lived out loud. The shock, the peal, the sound.
BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, I imply, nearly 30 years in the past, we got here up with a sonic vernacular, principally as a result of we have been self-taught. These detuned guitars enjoying these type of half-formed inverted guitar chords. And that turned the lexicon with which we wrote. And I feel we nonetheless return to that. However there’s simply one thing concerning the two of us in a room collectively, you recognize, talking this type of esoteric language. And there is all the time somewhat sourness there. While you’re in C sharp, often, there’s some dissonance. And I feel we like enjoying with that dissonance as a result of then it permits moments which are melodious to essentially, actually shine.
SIMON: How do you retain a artistic partnership going for 30 years?
TUCKER: I feel we’re grateful for one another’s expertise and concepts. You already know, we have completed different issues in our lives which are nice. I am a fan of “Portlandia,” too. However, you recognize, I acknowledge that I feel what we do collectively is exclusive.
BROWNSTEIN: I spotted this not too long ago – that she’s type of an ongoing thriller to me. That, to me, looks as if a superb foundation for any relationship, artistic or in any other case, simply having one thing ineffable concerning the different individual that you simply’re all the time making an attempt to uncover. And I feel that actually helps with the creativity as a result of I simply wish to determine her out. So we’ve got to maintain returning to the writing.
SIMON: Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney. Their new album, “Little Rope,” out now – on tour quickly. Thanks each for becoming a member of us.
BROWNSTEIN: Thanks a lot.
TUCKER: Thanks, Scott.
(SOUNDBITE OF SLEATER-KINNEY SONG, “CRUSADER”)
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