Solar Power

Of Montreal's intricate pop revels in the dark side of the sun

"The sun comes up at 9 and goes down at like 2:30. I'm so used to Athens, where it's so mild and there's sun, and the sun goes down at 6 in the winter," Barnes says. "But Norway affected me deeply -- like a profound, devastating effect on me. I was totally messed up emotionally."

Not one to waste this uncomfortable source of creative inspiration, Barnes wrote another album's worth of songs, which he's eager to record. He says his time in Europe messed him up but gave him lots of new ideas.

"Now I can laugh about it, but at the time it was really difficult. But it was kind of good, too, because it shook me up emotionally. You know how you get sort of stagnant if you're comfortable in your environment -- I said comfortable as if it was this negative thing -- but you're so comfortable in your environment and things get dull and you stop paying attention?" he asks. "I was like, 'Oh my God, I'm feeling things that I'm not used to feeling!' I'm just used to sort of being kind of like a bland man. Like, nothing attracts me, nothing hurts me, nothing brings me joy -- I'm just on this steady level of mediocrity or something. So being out there was like, 'This is insane! People are insane! This is a crazy world!'"

Bright ideas: Of Montreal makes a pop collage of '60s, '70s and '80s sounds.
Bright ideas: Of Montreal makes a pop collage of '60s, '70s and '80s sounds.

Chances are, the next Of Montreal album will be anything but sunny.

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