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The Breeders - Let Them Breed

Author: Steve Tauschke
Monday, 21 July 2008
Back in Australia next month for the first time in five years, American indie champs The Breeders are sporting new album Mountain Battles and a new state of collective sobriety. 3D's Steve Tauschke speaks to bassist Mando Lopez on the phone from North Carolina.

Hey Mando, how are you finding touring at the moment- it must be exciting with the band gaining momentum again-
It is, yeah! I'm really proud of this record and I'm glad we've incorporated enough new songs in the set where people aren't going to be bored. Also everybody's sober now and that's a huge difference because everything is a lot tighter. It's weird because before we'd go to different cities and as soon as we landed we'd be off to a bar but now we'll just go to a movie or a museum or go shopping. It's a complete new way of touring for us.
Was alcohol starting to adversely affect the band or the songwriting in any way-
I think Kim [Deal, of Pixies fame] went to rehab and everybody sort of followed suit. Kelley [Deal, Kim's twin sister] had already been sober but the big thing about being sober is that everybody has quit smoking, which is huge because everybody was a chain smoker! Now we're suddenly clear-headed about stuff and so better decisions are being made.

The new album Mountain Battles was pieced together over four years at various studios, was there an issue with cohesion-
We went to four or five different studios around the US and that process was tedious because there are not a lot of studios that we like that have the analogue form. But it's cohesive because I guess we're all very aware of the sound we want and that's consistent throughout the album.

Tell us about this All Wave production technique you used on the record-
It's analogue recording basically - we use no digital recording. Kim has this whole theory that you're not really recording in the dimension of time if you're digitally recording. When you're analogue recording everything is coming through as you're playing it so it comes out warmer and everything is a little more real.

That would fit with your engineer Steve Albini's stance I imagine-
Yes, he has this room that he built with this special mud with these bricks at the bottom and the sound bounces off these walls really well. He's not really a producer - he'll tell you that himself - he's a recordist. I was playing something once and I said 'What do you think Steve, did that sound OK-' and he'll respond by saying, 'Well, is that how you want to play it-' It's almost like being with a therapist.

Did Kim's time on the road with Pixies inspire her to record again-
I know she was writing on the road with the Pixies. We were in a complete hold here so we all went off and did other projects. But I think the Pixies thing really helped because it was just a touring thing so when she came back she was really excited about this album. We immediately jumped back into Breeders mode writing songs and getting things together.

WHO: The Breeders
WHAT: Play The Metro Theatre / Mountain Battles through 4AD/Inertia
WHEN: Saturday 2 August