New Times: Do people come to you with interpretations of what they think your songs mean?
Den Bejar: People look at writing and language different than I do. I dont write in code -- theres no code to crack. I guess the current view of smart writing is writing thats tricky or has many different messages at once. I dont buy into that -- I just want to write one extremely poetic line after the other, as continuously as possible. So when people ask me what a song means, all I can tell them is that every single line means exactly what it says.
NT: When you perform, you seem to go into a trance. Is writing like that for you, too?
Bejar: The writing process is kinda thoughtless, idle -- it involves just me going on a walk, really. I wrote the bulk of the songs [on Dreams] while I was living in Spain. It was just really comfortable and natural -- just me sitting around strumming a guitar and barking out words when I felt like it.
NT: As an outsider, whats your take on America now that youre touring here?
Bejar: Im kinda from here -- my moms American and Ive lived in the States. But my relationship to the country -- Im usually pretty torn up about it. Theres things I really love and other things that Im constantly flabbergasted by. I also dont have much love of travel. Thats kinda why touring gets me down. I like to go to one place and stay there. I know I have this reputation for not enjoying performing, but I actually do like playing music. Im just not sure if Im built to be in front of an audience night after night after night for three or four weeks straight.
NT: A lot of musicians wont admit that -- its like theyre afraid of sounding ungrateful to their fans for showing up.
Bejar: Not enjoying touring and not enjoying playing live are two very different things. I think you can really love playing music in front of people and still kinda hate the machinery involved in touring. I mean, its just human to have good nights and bad nights. It makes it more interesting instead of being, like, a pogo stick born to entertain [laughs]. But if theres some sense of struggle involved, and you actually pull through, its kind of exciting.
Sun., May 18, 8 p.m., 2008