But you were always beloved. You just weren’t recognized as a weirdo.
[Laughs] Right. That was part of the fun of writing this record was to get more experimental. The first record was meant to feel classic. Was meant to feel like an old record you found, or an old friend that was comforting you in a difficult time. When you’re writing songs about revolution, it can’t feel comforting necessarily. That said, I feel like toward the end of the record I did want some of the songs to feel comforting and positive and uplifting.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being no way and 10 being definitely, what are the chances you ever run for office?
Oh. That’s an interesting question. It’s funny, there’s someone, I live in Omaha now, and since I moved there I’ve become very, very active politically there. A couple people have said to me, “Oh, it’s the next mayor of Omaha.” And they joke about that all the time. And I’m flattered; I don’t know if I could get elected in a place like Omaha for sure.
I think I might be a little too radical. Maybe city council. But I’m not sure about mayor. I don’t know that I’m cut out for politics. ‘Cause it can be frustrating. Politics can be extremely frustrating, and there’s definitely a game involved. But I want to be involved doing whatever I can, that helps move things forward. So who knows about that, but definitely involved in helping educate other people about what’s going on.
The first track on the record is “Karma Debt.” How much do we owe, and how do we pay it back?
Again, that’s such a big question. That was a question I was asking myself. “Can I even as a musician even talk about this?” A lot of people say musicians shouldn’t talk politics. “It’s annoying; shut up and sing. You’re an entertainer. Entertain us. Make us dance.” And it was fun to say, “OK, I’m going to make you dance, but I’m going to make you think too.”
Where the band ate in Chicago: Native Foods Café (the afternoon of our interview) and Big Star (where they were heading after the interview)
What’s to come on the next album: “I have no idea. I’ve thought a lot about it. I would love to write an album of straight love songs. But maybe in a trip-hop kind of a way. I love Portishead, and I was touring with Bright Eyes last year and we did some festival shows in Australia, opening up for Portishead, and that was really amazing to see them play every night. And it rekindled my love for “Dummy,” that album from so long ago, which was the quintessential make-out album from my youth. Along with My Bloody Valentine. And the idea to make that sort of a record would be fun. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s next.”