Indy: Were you amazed to be on Saturday Night Live [the band performed three songs on a recent episode]?
DD: We all were! It was crazy, actually. I couldn't really believe it when I got the message about this show. I thought it was for something else, so I didn't even open it. But it said something like "OK — you're on next week," and I thought it had something to do with YouTube. But it was wild. We were the first French band they ever had on the program.
Indy: So the Coppola connection didn't help?
DD: No, not at all. I think if Sofia [who had a child with lead singer Thomas Mars] wanted to put us on TV, she could not do it. But we put out a song on the Internet a month before, "1901," for free. And it created some excitement on the Web. We just put it up for our fans so they wouldn't have to wait two more months to hear our new material, and over a million people downloaded in just a few days. And I think the SNL people really liked it. So I think good songs are the key.
Indy: You started writing the album in New York, right?
DD: Living for a month at a Bowery hotel. That was because of François Truffaut. He would always rent a room to write his screenplays, so when we do an album, we try to find new and different places — it's really important to frame each record we do.
Indy: Then you switched to a houseboat on the Seine, and the garret of painter Theodore Gericault?
DD: Gericault's studio was too much, too heavy. And the houseboat didn't work too well, because everyone was seasick but me. But we don't work well in comfortable places. That's why we never go to regular studios. We go to weird places, vacant and dirty places. Places where no album has been done before.
At Red Rocks' Monolith Festival, Sept. 13.