January 7, 2007

The Office’s John Krasinski (love. him.) interviews The Shins

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.

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 . . .

MARTY: Whoosh!

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.


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.

Oh, and I am loving this:

Split Needles (alternate version) – The Shins
from the Phantom Limb single


  • Very interesting interview. Jim is my favorite character from The Office and The Shins are hell of a band!
    And Split Needles, yummy, thanks ;)

    miguel — January 8, 2007 @ 7:21 am

  • The Office is easily the best show on television. And I have to take exception with your statement that Jim made Pam cry – Pam made herself cry. She realized what a mistake she made. You can’t pin that on Jim – he laid it all on the line, back at the end of last season, and she shot him down.

    I’m going to have to check out the Shins now!

    Jeff C. — January 8, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

  • Okay, fair enough Jeff. My heart broke for her though when it cut to her crying. I guess I know she did it to herself, but I think she was just trying, at the time, to do “the right thing.” But they are best friends and would, indeed, be perfect together. That scene in the street last season was the best moment ever (okay, followed by the next scene in the office).

    heather — January 8, 2007 @ 6:00 pm

  • And the addendum to my last comment, as I re-read it, would be, “Yes, I realize that it is just a TV show. Although you can’t tell from the passion with which I discuss the fictional lives of the characters.”

    heather — January 8, 2007 @ 6:01 pm

  • Hey, my heart broke too when she cried. Those two (fictional characters!) would be absolutely perfect together….but it might ruin the show. Then again, after last week’s episode, there are enough things going on in that Office that if Jim and Pam hooked up, the show might still be okay. But isn’t it more fun to have the tension in that relationship instead of some lovey-dovey thing that we might get if they did get together? The answer to that, I’m afraid, is yes. The tension is great. It started this conversation, didn’t it?

    And I have to admit – I have never fallen for a cliffhanger (except for maybe “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”) quite like I fell for the last episode of “The Office” last season. I had to watch it 3 times on my Tivo. And then wait all summer to find out what happened. And I typically don’t do that. It’s such a great show. A fictional show. It is fictional, right?

    Jeff C. — January 10, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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