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Grizzly Bear Tell Us About Brooklyn Philarmonic Hook-Up
The Quietus , March 3rd, 2009 11:05

Could the strings collaboration be coming to London?

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Grizzly Bear look set to make something of a splash on 2009 with their much-anticipated new album Veckatimest out in May - the Quietus is off for a listen to the record tomorrow night, but first we thought we'd bring you tidings of the concert that Grizzly Bear played with the Brooklyn Philarmonic orchestra at the weekend.

Grizzly Bear founder Ed Droste told us that the collaboration was "one of the most challenging, exciting, exhausting but rewarding months of our lives." He added that it took a huge amount of preperation to put the event together, in part because of working practices: "So much work going into this one show! So much rehearsal as a band listening to MIDI versions of the arrangements and only a few hours we were allowed with the orchestra to rehearse because they are unionized and very strict with their time. So needless to say there was a sigh of relief when it went off without a hitch!

"I sure would have loved more time with the orchestra to rehearse and talk about the songs and get used to playing with 40 extra people behind you. It's so vastly different from performing just as a band because there is a score and a tempo and things need to be JUST SO. Luckily the conductor was BRILLIANT as was Nico Muhly and the two of them if needed, could casually adjust the tempo if one of us fell out."

Droste went on to say that the evnt was such a success that Grizzly Bear may consider repeating it at some point: "I'd LOVE to do it again, maybe in London sometime, but I think we now REALLY know, it's something you can't just whip up quickly, takes weeeeeeeks of preparation. I have a few friends that have seen us a good 30-40 times and are the first to tell me 'that was a shit show'. They all said Top 5 they've seen us, so I'll take their word and feel really great."

What were you trying to bring to the Grizzly Bear sound that you couldn't do as the normal fourpiece Grizzly Bear?

"We were trying to do a totally different show. We didn't play songs we've played a million times before like 'Knife' or 'On A Neck, On A Spit', but instead took the opportunity to tackle songs that we never felt our arrangements as a four piece, did justice. So what was cool was getting to play all these older songs that we'd never played before and finally giving them a stage to shine with the orchestra. Also we played some new songs which was really excited to debut."

There's been talk recently about orchestras being a hotbed of alcoholism. Did you breathalise the players first?

"Weird! I've NEVER heard this and I didn't notice anyone sneaking in any drinks. If they were drunk I sure didn't notice. That's cracking me up... how funny."

We're off to listen to Veckatimest on Wednesday. What should we do to get into the right frame of mind?

"You should have a few drinks (but not tooooo many). Close your eyes and listen. :)"

How's the snow?

"I love snow so much. I'm from boston and the only redeeming quality of a freezing winter is a white blanket of snow. Sadly in NYC this lasts only about 24 hours MAX before it turns to brown slush. Sigh, city life. Still WHILE it's snowing it's so much fun to run around in and pretend you are 12."