David Longstreth: "I was obsessed with "Tristan and Isolde" and the Ring Cycle, that sort of shit"

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 4 July 2012 | 9:28:00 am

For the average (assuming there is such a creature) Wagnerian this may need a bit of explaining: When I am not listening to Wagner I have been known to listen to the odd "indie" album - indeed "indie" enough to be so obscure as to have never been heard of outside of a certain, alas sometimes admittedly pretentious circle. Now, among this selection there is little that might be considered more pretentious than Dirty Projectors (although some might argue Bristol's "Blue Aeroplanes" may come close - but that is another matter and alas I like them too). David Longstreth is "founder" and "lead" of the Dirty Projectors although perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he is Dirty Projector in the same way that Mark E Smith is "The Fall" (if I'm losing anyone here click the links).

Anyway, it is not often, at least in the twenty first century a "pop" performer will include the words  Pop, Wagner, Tristan und Isolde, Ring Cycle and Gesamtkunstwerk in one sentence in an interview - but that's David Longstreth (who one more than one occasion has compared himself to Wagner). Indeed, rare enough for me to bring it to your attention.

Talking to Modern Painters magazine (I told you they were pretentious) Longstreth was asked whether he intended to make any more music videos and he replied:

"I was in deep collaboration with an animator named James Sumner for an album-length animated movie of "The Getty Address," from 2006. Pieces of it are on YouTube. We’ve never released it commercially."

Was creating visuals important or was the music more important he was asked - and his reply?

"That’s what pop music is — it’s the marriage of an image and a sound. It made sense for "The Getty Address," because the album is a story. I thought of it like an opera. I was obsessed with "Tristan and Isolde" and the Ring Cycle, that sort of shit. And I love this anachronistic idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, the total artwork."

Who said Wagner - or indeed Romanticism  was dead or dying with the "youth".

Below is one of the videos for "The Getty Address" (the world first opera about Don Henley) that he discusses and should you have Spotify you can hear the full album below that. Highly recommended.

Full Interview: Art Info