A year removed from the release of their sophomore LP Dunes, Gardens & Villa have returned with their latest for Secretly Canadian, Music for Dogs. Thus far, tracks like "Fixations" and "Everybody" have only pointed to influences like Roxy Music, Brian Eno, and psych and glam-heavy pop-rock, removed from previous days with synth pop. It brings to mind a more focused Of Montreal and stands up as an interesting listen, and one available in full below, along with a few questions with the band. Order your copy of the LP, which hits on August 21.
NOISEY: Dunes is three years removed from your self-titled debut, but Music for Dogs follows Dunes a year later. What were the circumstances that lead to a quick follow-up as opposed to the space between your last two records?
Chris Lynch: The time in between the first record and Dunes was filled mostly with touring. We couldn't really spend time to write and record. It took us a while to get back into the studio and we were getting a lot of outside pressure from the label and people around us to be a synthy-dance-poppy thing. We've always been into mixing genres and we didn't really want to just be this dance-y thing. Dunes was heavily produced and totally mapped to a grid and even thought we will always like the songs, there are moments where it doesn't really even sound like us. When it came out we received a lot of negative criticism. We had to stay on the road for a while to make payments on debts. We thought the label would drop us.. Our girlfriends dropped us. Our drummer of six years left. We were broke and we sort of came home with a feeling of "is this the end?"
Thats when Adam and I decided to move to LA and give it one last hurrah. We felt like we wanted to go out with a bang and make the album we always wanted to make! For us and for the sake of love and fun. We immediately started recording demos and sent them to our label desperately hoping they would finance us and give us another chance. I remember when we showed them the demos of “Everybody" and “Fixations" and they kind of freaked out. We wanted to redeem ourselves and everything sort of fell into place! We discovered a lot and fell back in love with the craft. We tracked most of the record live, to tape (like our first LP), and did almost all of it in seven days. So happy to get it out there.
How do you think that your move from Santa Barbara to LA is reflected in the LP musically?
Santa Barbara was our young adulthood and our first love and the beach and I get sentimental when I think of it. But we had to move to LA. Cheaper, weirder, more diverse, sprawling, more ugly, and full of adventure/inspiration. Sometimes you gotta try to swim with the big fish. You gotta pack up and head to the city. And we kinda fell in love with LA. All of the record was written and recorded there. We lived in this giant warehouse next to a trans bar, with a really dynamic group of people, there was always interesting, weird, sometimes sketchy shit going on. Everyone from different places and backgrounds, everyone struggling to live and chase their dream. sort of together. It was amazing and full of curious happenings. We have always been like sponges and we soaked everything up. It all found its way into the songs. Plus, when we were finishing up the record the whole building suddenly received an illegal eviction notice from the evil property owner. It got low. and there is still a lawsuit going on. Maybe that helps explain some of the more frantic colors and flavors.
For the newly christened G&V fan, how would you say that Music for Dogs fits in the canon of releases?
This is sort of re-awakening record. Getting real with ourselves. Returning to our roots. Falling in love with guitars and pianos and voices again. Feeling too connected and yet at the end of the day, disconnected from everything/everyone. Feeling like our modern lives are starting to resemble a sci-fi world. We are not pissed about it just like noticing it and wanting to explore it, figure out ways to navigate it. Trial and error. Almost like a playful look into a mirror where you notice that you are kinda weird looking. you try to laugh it off. how could you ever change it?
How would you describe it with relation to your last two efforts?
Self-titled LP was first times, golden times and starry eyed and innocent. idealistic.
Dunes was darker, road weary, pressured, grid-like, cold.
Music for Dogs is more explosive, return to original methods, playful, paranoid, sarcastic, a little nihilistic, but along for the wild ride and excited to be here, in front of you fine people, tonight.
You have a full North American jaunt planned for September, but what are the plans going forward?
Gear up, push the button, play the string, shake yo thang. there is nothing but space and time. accept the future even though you can't see it clearly. try your best to make as much cool stuff happen as you can.
Do you think you’ll try and work on additional material to keep this same momentum going?
We want to keep them coming and we feel like we are just getting started. Feeling freaky and fresh and excited to get out there and let the new record get out there. Get more out there…