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15th of October 2018

Entertainment



Strange voice, strange words, all part of Destroyer's appeal

Across 11 albums as Destroyer, Dan Bejar has sung a lot of words and while his musical output is ever-changing, his albums have adopted the guise of stripped-down singer-songwriter, synth soundscapes and Dylan-esque folk-rock. 

He’s prone to psychedelic flourishes, has contributed songs to power-pop ‘supergroup’ the New Pornographers and yet Bejar’s lyrical approach has remained a constant. The 45-year-old Canadian pens verbose verses, full of playful syllables, references to other artists (and his own artworks), and impish intellectualism.

Destroyer, a.k.a Dan Bejar

Destroyer, a.k.a Dan Bejar

This approach has drawn devoted, obsessive fans, but curbs Destroyer’s appeal to a more commercial crowd. “I once had someone from Los Angeles, who worked in the publishing business, explain to me why Destroyer songs weren’t really usable as licensing things,” Bejar says. “He broke it down in a very matter-of-fact way: ‘your voice is strange, and your words are strange, and your strange voice says too many words’.

“Anything that creates some kind of fissure in the reverie of the pop-music sound ‘spoils’ the mood. It snaps people out of it, which is not supposed to happen. That’s not the goal, unless, say, it is your goal.”

When writing, Bejar says, he’s drawn to “words that clash up against each other” and that play against the music. “With Destroyer songs, there’ll often be a strange disconnect between the actual nature of the song - the chords - and the words, and between that and whatever production approach or style I’ve settled on.”

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