Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, La Dispute
Historically, La Dispute’s albums have explored very explicit experiences or emotions. Regarding ‘Panorama’, vocalist Jordan Dreyer explains what the record will entail. “This record talks about grief in a very general sense. More specifically grief and how it lingers, how cyclical it can be in the person’s life. Grief from the perspective of somebody who maybe hasn’t felt it particularly recently but still copes with its lingering effects, and how somebody attempts to cope and heal.
“The album structurally is what the title suggests, a panoramic shot of an area, a neighbourhood particularly, a stretch of road that ties two places together. But then also a wide angled shot of the stories that populated and how they connect emotionally to the people whose perspective you hear on the record.”
In terms of the organic change of sound that the band has achieved through the transition between records, Dreyer says, “there was a natural evolution for all of us in our individual lives and what we are doing creatively, and the music and the various media we were absorbing. You find particular inspirations and new influences. But I think there always is for us the desire to try new approaches in an effort to not let your creativity stagnate.”
Having already “failed miserably”, in Dreyer’s words, the album was originally scrapped and started over. He explains that the band decided to change their approach, and move what they felt they needed to move in order to create better. “We went from working in individual rooms to working together… And then we went through a revelatory week where we just cranked up songs, and it was really cool to feel that spark again.”
Regarding other outside influences that affected the writing process of the record, Dreyer talks about what literature he was delving into throughout it. “I have been reading Don DeLillo pretty nonstop for the last four years of my life. Periodically moving away and coming back to his work. Also reading a lot of an American author named William T. Volmann, who messes around with structure and format a lot. He has very bizarre, highbrow approaches to his creative process. The thing that I take the most from the writers that I enjoy when it comes to writing music is, from someone like Don DeLillo in particular, how to arrange words on the page aesthetically. And from other authors like Volmann, or like in the past, Vladimir Nabokov, coming up with structures to use as a foundation for writing the record.”
More on the writing process, Dreyer explains the difference between this album and the past ones, as well as revealing what his favourite track on the record is. “With everything we’ve done, I’ve tried to be very deliberate with the words I chose, especially when writing about people’s stories. This time around I wanted to be more abstract. Be more expressionist with the way that I wrote. That was really fun for me because I shut off the part of my brain that wanted to tell a story, and (instead was) more free versed with what I was doing. The last track on the record in particular, is weird and sort of works in that mode from beginning to end. That’s probably the one that I’m more interested to hear people’s perspectives on, because it changed shapes multiple times, it was the last thing I finished.”
The newest singles from Panorama, ROSE QUARTZ / FULTON STREET I and FOOTSTEPS AT THE POND were released with music videos directed by Sarah Schmidt and Daisy Fernandez respectively. Concerning these two artists, Dreyer speaks about their choice to work with them, the value of using their platform to help others, as well as their decision to explore the abstract and fantastical. “It’s the opportunity to
“We decided that we wanted to do explicitly animation, I wanted to pick people who had distinct approaches and styles. One of the most satisfying parts of this record process was making something and then handing it off to somebody, and letting them make something inspired by it, and then seeing the end product. It’s very humbling and very exciting, and it’s really cool to see people really attaching to the music videos and the artwork.”
On a different but relevant note, Dreyer addresses the band’s support of the LGBTQ+ community. La Dispute are no strangers to it, as they have donated profits to LGBTQ+ charities and invited self-identified queer bands to play with them, once again, adhering to the value of using their platform to give others a voice and a space. “Very genuinely, it is such an easy thing to do to want to reach out and support people in such a wonderful, beautiful community. It’s a very small thing that we can do to repay how much we get from people in the LGBTQ+ community.”
As a closing note, I wanted to pass on a message from all La Dispute fans, to thank the band for creating music that has allowed their fans to follow them on a momentous journey and express some of the hardest emotions in life through such beautiful art. Also, for being so human, grounded and connected with the community.
Dreyer emotionally admits he might cry. “It’s very humbling, I hope everyone knows that it’s very transactional. It’s not one sided, we are all appreciative of all the people that connect with us. That’s the best part about being in this band. The connections we get to make.”
Aussie fans, don’t fret, the boys will be back sooner rather than later. Jordan assures that: “We’ll be doing the full record cycle of touring. Not sure when exactly, but we’ll be back.”
‘Panorama’ is out on March 22 via Epitaph Records. Pre-order a copy HERE.