years ago. It seems like it’s basically everyone in the band except for Colin. Were you guys secretly trying to get rid of Colin, because if so it’s the most awesomely passive-aggressive way to fire a lead singer ever. Well you know, it’s funny. When the band started, it was just me, Chris, Jenny, and a couple other Portland people. And then after the first record, we decided to add drums, and so John was the obvious perfect choice to add. It was a little weird. We definitely tried to keep open lines of communication with Colin about it. Even the way you asked the question it’s obvious that the perception is a little odd, that the whole band besides Colin would be doing this other thing. But we weren’t try- ing to overtake The Decemberists. It was just fun to have another outlet. And you know, Colin does solo tours too. If we’re not going to be threatened by that, then he shouldn’t be threatened by this. I think we all have a pretty healthy relationship with those kinds of things. What is the status of that project right now? Gone. Defunct, unfortunately. Rest in peace Black Prairie. But we had a good run. It was fun. It seems like a lot of the press has latched on to the notion that you guys have gone electronic all of a sudden, but it’s not like you’ve become Kraftwerk. I know the new direction was purposeful, but how aware were you during the recording process that what you were doing was going to be seen as a radical shift in the band’s sound? I think we were pretty aware of it. The first single, “Severed,” and then the first song on the record, “Once in My Life,” both make a pretty bold statement about sounding synth-y. So, we figured people would latch onto that. On “Severed” for example, there are live drums and live electric bass that I played with my hands. The synth-y sounds really jump out, but it’s electric guitar, bass, and drums. We’ve always used synth keyboards to a certain degree, it’s just never been maybe the headline before. Colin’s songwriting and the way the band plays together are sort of taken for granted, so the headline is obviously going to be these new sounds that are jumping out. I think we knew that was going to happen and just decided to own it and not be afraid of it, because we’re having fun and trying to mix things up. I actually read some of the early reviews before I had a chance to listen to the album, so I was expecting something outside the scope of what a normal Decem- berists’ album would be. It felt like you guys though. In fact, had I listened to the album before I read anything about it I don’t think it would’ve struck me as out of the ordinary for the band. Yeah, I can see that. In some ways, maybe it felt more radical to us than it even ended up, because with almost every song, at some point, we were going way be- yond where we ended up. There’s tons of instrumentation, and this time, in par- ticular, we were trying things we hadn’t tried—to get ourselves a little uncomfort- © Hundred-to-One LLC 2018. All rights reserved.