Filter Magazine became my new heroes this weekend when I finally got a few minutes to sit down and read the feature they ran in the Holiday 2006 issue where the too-fantastic-for-words John Krasinski (Jim Halpert! From The Office! Who made Pam cry last week but don’t get me started) gets to play uber-fanboy and interview The Shins, whom he has clearly loved fiercely and deeply for some time now. It is a wonderful and insightful piece which made me wonder if John would consent to being my new pen pal.
Equal parts discussion of The Shins and The Office (a mutual admiration society), it was a great unstructured conversation to listen in on. Here’s a snippet where John talks to them about their new album Wincing The Night Away, which sees the official light of day on January 23rd, but that all the cool kids have had, like, forever. Cha.
EXCERPT: JOHN KRASINSKI WITH THE SHINS
Filter Magazine, Holiday 2006
JOHN: Another song I listened to a lot [on the new album] was “Red Rabbits.” That’s an awesome daydreaming song.
(keyboardist/guitarist) MARTY (Crandall): It’s relaxed, but not quite soothing.
(bassist) DAVE (Hernandez): Like a spooky relaxation.
JOHN: It’s like the ’80s are looking back at the ’50s and waving. The album’s very aquatic and fairy tale-y. It felt like Pink Floyd meets Morrissey meets some Beatles and Beach Boys. “Sea Legs” definitely has a hip-hop feel but it’s so Smiths-y. [Everyone nods in agreement]
DAVE: That’s the second time we’ve heard that.
(frontman) JAMES (Mercer): We thought about that while we were doing it.
JOHN: Oh good, I thought you were about the punch me in the nose. “We hate Morrissey!”
DAVE: No, it’s good that people are picking up on that. It’s like if Morrissey sang for the Beta Band.
JAMES: That beat started out as a smashed plastic bag. That’s actually the bass sound, the kick . . .
JAMES: Just once, then we sampled it. And the other sounds are bottlecaps on the amp . . .
MARTY: And a guitar pick on the teeth!
(drummer) JESSE (Sandoval): Chick-a chick-a chick-a . . .
JAMES: We sampled and cut them up to create the beat, and then I used an 808 sample to beef it up once the song kicks in.
JOHN: Get out!
JESSE: There’s actually an ’80s synth drumbeat under it. That’s probably where the ’80s feel came from.
JAMES: And it’s kinda new wave sounding at the same time. When I recorded that, it had this weird texture: you heard it pop, and then pulling away you’d hear the krinkle.
JESSE: It’s a weird, natural krinkling. It sounds like the speakers are breaking.
SHINS ON TOUR
Feb 08: Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
Feb 09: Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
Feb 10: Chicago, IL @ Congress Theater
Feb 11: St. Louis, MO @ Pageant
Feb 12: Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall
Feb 13: Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall
Feb 15: Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
Feb 16: Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
Feb 17: Boise, ID @ Egyptian Theatre
Feb 20: Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theater
Feb 21: Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
(you can buy tix here if you’re in one of those cool cities)
They’ll also be on SNL this next weekend, and maybe they’re good enough sports to do a Garden State spoof. After changing everyone’s life, it’s the least they can do, really.
Split Needles (alternate version) – The Shins
from the Phantom Limb single