Destroyer: Mangled up and blue 

New Pornographer Dan Bejar hits the road with his '70s-centric Destroyer

click to enlarge Despite the glam-era Bowie influence, Bejars life is not - entirely glamorous.
  • Despite the glam-era Bowie influence, Bejars life is not entirely glamorous.

Dan Bejar has no idea where he is. "We're on our way to Chicago," says Destroyer visionary Bejar, calling from a tour bus. "We're about halfway there, but I don't know. I feel like I'm in Wisconsin. I'm not sure and can't be positive about that."

Confusion about being in the middle of somewhere or something is nothing new to the Vancouver artist, who splits his time between Destroyer, supergroups The New Pornographers and Swan Lake, and new indie act Hello, Blue Roses.

Currently Bejar is touring behind Destroyer's recent effort Trouble in Dreams, which further pushes indie pop boundaries with its complex yet decidedly accessible tracks that possess a serious early-'70s rock vibe.

"I think it's a bit more of a fucked-up record," Bejar says. "Like, the songs are a bit more all over the place, kind of like I attacked the songs more song by song. I don't know, circumstances just dictated it ... I don't really make many conscious decisions. We just kind of go in and start bashing out the songs."

As far as Bejar's more popular association with The New Pornographers, he's the enigmatic member who rarely shows up for tours two in the past seven years yet he often provides the popular indie group's most compelling material.

Take, for instance, "Myriad Harbour" from the New Pornographers' latest album, Challengers. The dark and mellow track sounds like a long-lost Lou Reed cut, which stylistically couldn't be further away from the hushed sounds and melancholic urgency found on Trouble in Dreams.

Bejar says it was an easy call as to which band would end up with "Myriad Harbour."

"I think "Myriad Harbour' is like 3:45 long, and I wrote it in like four minutes," Bejar says. "I find Destroyer songs a little more ... I think they come together slower. It's the way the Pornographers are everyone just shows up. Also, I would never record that song with Destroyer in a million years, because it's like, I couldn't sing it and it's not something we would play."

Bejar, who acts incredulous that he once again has to answer this question, adds, "Because I'm not usually there for the final production of [The New Pornographers'] songs, they have to be kind of more squared off, in a sense. More like built around solid progressions and kind of like concrete vocal melodies and stuff. You know there will always be other voices on there, so you try to come up with something that other people can sing. Destroyer is completely different. There's not much overlap these days."

On his current tour, Bejar will be playing the band's new material as well as digging back into the catalog to rework old tunes. Specifically, songs from 2004's Your Blues are getting a facelift.

While explaining why he's looking back, Bejar offers a possible insight into why he continues to be affiliated with so many bands at the same time.

"It's just fun to mangle songs and try to do them differently than how they've been done or recorded in the past."


Destroyer, with Josh Queen
The Walnut Room, 3131 Walnut St., Denver
Saturday, May 3, 9 p.m.
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 day-of-show, 21-plus; visit thewalnutroom.com.


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