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Chairlift’s Patrick Wimberly talks rap songs and weddings

Published: Friday, April 13, 2012

Updated: Friday, April 13, 2012 17:04

Chairlift

Chairlift

Patrick Wimberly was clearly sleepy and on the road when he chatted and yawned on the phone with College Times. The other half of his band, Caroline Polachek, was driving on a rather bumpy road, somewhere outside of Montreal, burning fuel and getting used to their tour.

Chairlift has been surrounded by a cloud of hype since their song “Bruises” was picked up by Apple for a iPod nano commercial in 2008. Since then, the duo has come a long way. Chairlift’s latest album, Something, was released earlier this year and it’s their first time touring the US in support of it. So far, Wimberly said it has been going well.

After parting ways with third member Aaron Pfenning in 2009, Chairlift went back to working on new material as a duo. Wimberly said he and Polachek are very involved with every little piece of the puzzle that goes into making songs.

“We started writing [Something] at the end of 2009, pretty much straight away when we finished our first album,” he said. “We rented out a room in the back of an antique shop with a small window and a piano, brought a couple keyboards and were there for about eight months.”

The tracks “Turning,” “Guilty As Charged” and “I Belong In Your Arms” were produced by Chairlift but turned to producer Dan Carey (Hot Chip, The Kills) for the rest of the album.

Wimberly and Polacheck finished the album in Carey’s London home studio. They rented a house about a mile away and would trek on foot to record. They worked together so intimately, Wimberly said they felt like members of Carey’s family.

“We really did nothing else besides walk to his studio in the morning and walk home after dinner,” Wimberly said.

Besides playing drums, bass and keyboard and producing some of Chairlift’s music, Wimberly also produced Das Racist’s 2011 album Relax and has worked with several tracks with Odd Future.

Despite the complete disconnect between rap and Chairlift’s metallic, dreamy and futuristic sound, Wimberly said his method is pretty much the same. The only difference, Wimberly said, is that rap is somehow an easier genre for him.

He said working on a Chairlift song proves more challenging, as it’s “more obvious what to do” with a rap song.

There is a lot of unspoken dialogue when Wimberly is in the producer’s chair. He said he can tell when someone is happy with the sound or not.

“Maybe the reason I started producing is because I don’t have much to say in the studio and I don’t know how to explain a sound I want to hear with words,” he said. “I know exactly what I want to do to the sound to make it work for the record. It’s hard to explain that idea to anybody. I just have to do it.”

He said that he has to go through a trial and error process in order to find just what he is looking for. When it came to recording Something, Wimberly was glad to have Carey’s fresh input. Together, they created something Wimberly said he’s extremely happy with.

While other bands might have post-tour plans to work on new music or sleep-in, Wimberly said he’ll be tying the knot after Chairlift gets off the road. Let’s hope marriage will be like a rap song. 

Chairlift w/Nite Jewel, Crescent Ballroom, April 14, 8:30 p.m., $12 adv, $13 dos

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