JEN TURNER and I talk about a lot of heady things: rhythm, science, atoms, how music fuses itself to memory, the elusiveness of that spontaneous, inexplicable moment of creation. But first I have to ask the Here We Go Magic bassist about film director John Waters, who, just days earlier, the band picked up hitchhiking in the middle of nowhere. I'm wondering if the band is in the habit of picking up hitchers on the side of the road. "I always insist that we do, but we never actually do," she says. "We picked this man up purely on the premise that we thought he was John Waters."
It was, of course, and that bizarre occurrence almost overshadowed Here We Go Magic's real news of the month—the release of the exceptional A Different Ship, a collection of fluid grooves concocted by the band, over which frontman Luke Temple drapes personal, nearly microcosmic songs. The effect is startlingly effective, a record that bursts with communal energy while hitting very precise, interior emotions. The band nabbed Nigel Godrich to produce the record after they spied him—along with Thom Yorke—dancing at the front of an otherwise indifferent crowd during Here We Go Magic's daytime set at the Glastonbury Festival.
"We decided that we were going to do most of the record live," Turner says. "We would play a song and at the end, Nigel'd be like, 'Okay, go again!' He wanted to take the energy at the end of the song [and put it] at the beginning of the song—because we would start off, and chug along, and by the end of the take we'd be cooking.
"Everybody that was in the band that didn't know him," she continues, "there was a great deal of intimidation—in the understanding that you're about to do some work with someone who's well revered, who really knows what he's doing. I think everybody was a bit nervous about whether or not we could hang. You know, if we'd get into the studio, and he would realize, 'What am I doing?' But he quickly made himself part of the family because he's a really honest guy, and I think that's the most important part of trusting someone: when you realize he's just going to tell you what he thinks."