In their own words, it's been a ridiculous year for The Antlers, one of Brooklyn's finest purveyors of moody widescreen pop. But ridiculous in a good way. Their album Burst Apart won rave reviews, they've been touring nonstop and this Saturday they'll play their biggest New York headlining show yet at Webster Hall. Somehow the trio found time to also put together (together), their recent EP of new songs, remixes and collaborations. (The duet with Nicole Atkins is particularly fantastic.) Nonstop Sound recently talked with drummer Michael Lerner about that duet, his year and his love of Rihanna.
Nonstop Sound: So how's your year been?
Michael Lerner: "It has been ridiculous! I think we're all just really pleased about the reception that Burst Apart has gotten. We've been out touring to support the record for most of the year and it's just been one amazing experience after the next."
NS: It seems like it's been a big year for the band. Have you been able to wrap your head around it yet, or have you not really had the time yet?
ML: "It has been a big year for us. I'm not so sure that I've been able to process it all yet. Part of that has been due to our crazy schedule, but also because of having the opportunities that we've had. It's all pretty surreal. A little while back we were promised that things were about to get weird -- that was the understatement of a lifetime."
NS: Peter and Nicole's voices play off each other really well on the version of "Hounds" on (together.) How did this collaboration come about?
ML: "We are friends with Nicole. The idea of having her come in to record, as with Bear in Heaven and Alan (Palomo ) from Neon Indian, was really just as much about her as a person as well as being a great musician. We liked the idea of having friends in the studio because of that comfort level that you have with people you know. There wasn't much rehearsal -- we were just able to enjoy hanging out and recording."
NS: You guys did a good job with "VCR." But why is everyone sampling and covering the xx so much? Is this a topic you might one day discuss with Rihanna (who sampled the British band on her new album), if you guys ever get a chance to meet?
ML: "Thanks! I think a lot of the appeal of The xx is in their simplicity. They leave a lot of room to reinterpret their songs. And yes, I would love to talk to Rihanna about that and anything else, for that matter. It's no secret that I'm kind of a fan."
NS: There's a lot of ideas introduced on (together.) There's some very abstract remixes and Darby sings a song. Are there any hints on this EP as to what direction the band will go in next?
ML: "I wouldn't necessarily say that this EP is indicative of any direction that we are going. It was a chance to go ahead and release something without any pressure or pre-conceived notions. That being said I think that we are all looking forward to holing up in the studio and doing some more recording soon."
NS: How'd you get involved with the upcoming Weezer Cruise? It seems like a bit of an odd pairing.
ML: "I guess it does seem a bit odd. Although we opened a show for Dinosaur Jr., who will also be on the cruise, a while ago and have played some festivals where others on the cruise line-up were playing, Wavves and Yuck, for example. All I know is that when we heard about the offer to go on an an indie rock cruise from Miami to Mexico, it took about two seconds for us to decide to get on board. Like I said, things have gotten pretty weird lately."