Oh this is something wonderful. David Lang composed songs for Shara Worden, Bryce Dessner, Owen Pallett, and Nico Muhly. These were then recorded for an album called Death Speaks available via Bang on a Can’s web store. And over at Stereogum you can read a conversation between Shara and David about the project and Shara slips in the phrase “an ‘all the boats go up when the water rises’ kind of mentality” and my guts mush together for the depth of their craft. Angels among us.
Q:Dear Mr Stith, despite the bad luck you had with guitar strings, you and the rest of the band were absolutely phenomenal when I saw you in London last month. I was in a trance throughout the whole gig, so wonderful. I was just wondering, what's the inspiration behind the name/artwork for Scorpio Little Devil? Thank you for creating such beautiful music & art, love from Miri.
Aw, thanks Miri! I love London and just wanted that night to be perfect in a very specific way. But despite my frustrations, I had a good time.
The name sorta describes me and John Mark — we wrote the album together and we drew hard lines around the content we wanted to stick to for the album, so much of the record is about us, and about growing up weirdos in very straight-laced communities. So we chose a name that sounds dangerous and mystical and cute and describes us both: JM is a scorpio and I am a lil devil. It’s silly. But it’s catchy too. We’d written that down as a possible name and then heard a song in which those three words were sung in that order. A song by Cass McCombs. We took it as a sign that those words were blessed and went with it.
so that’s it. Oh, and the cover art is us: two hot pink monsters.
Q:Hi David, I remember a couple of sketches you posted when TRH album was being recorded, with Panic in the title--something like Piancccpiano and Panicccxxxxvvvzzx. Any chance it was recorded as a full song? Those 30 seconds were quite tasty.
Yeah, that song and another one that we started with Richard Swift are in limbo at the moment. Too good to just put out there, but they came a little too late for album #1. So, they’re in hard drives, sleeping. They’ll come out when the right parade comes along to salute them.
So this is the year that I’m sorting out the terms of my reconciliation between my creative self and my domestic self. They’ve both felt so cheated for so long - one refusing to work without the other, but neither willing to ride in back of the tandem bicycle of life. Hello metaphor. Or maybe it’s the terms of a prenup, although it’s not like I ever get to break up with myself. The gist of iris this: no more lonely me time. No more slouching. No more waiting for something to happen. I won’t survive in New York or London or anywhere for very long without accepting these terms. Even in decay the body is beautiful. Even exhausted I have a voice. Justice is a myth. Peace is an action. Money and time are the beautiful gilded doors to the void.
I gotta tell my friends I love them more.
Q:Hi David, I was wondering when you started making music and getting into the music industry (if you call it that?) Also how did you end up touring with Sufjan Stevens? I love your creations! Your voice is like ice and silk!
I’ve had an acoustic guitar since my junior year in high school, and started recording sounds around my school when I was in college, but I wouldn’t call what I was making “music.” More like sound collages. I think it was in 2004 or 05 that I wrote and recorded my first song. So, next spring will mark 10 years writing music for me.
I met Sufjan through Shara Worden. I was getting to know her around the time that Suf was recording Illinois. I’d bump into him as he was leaving Shara’s apartment after he’d pop by to record a vocal or something. I didn’t get to know him very well until a few years later when we ran into each other at a harp singing convention in Brooklyn. We ended up walking around Brooklyn for a couple hours, and after that, I used his office/studio to record some of Heavy Ghost, or just to sit on the floor with him and eat sushi. We started to become friends then. That must’ve been in 2007. He asked me to be part of his touring band in 2010, just weeks before the first rehearsal. I think he asked me because he thought my voice would work well to double his, and also maybe thought I’d be nice to have around. But I was easily the least experienced of the band members. I was sweating and shaking through the whole first week of rehearsals! But the tour was the most fun I’ve ever had, and I’ve learned so much from that tour and from Suf. I’m a lucky guy.
And thank you! “Ice and Silk.” I had a maroon silk shirt when I was in middle school. I don’t know what my mom was thinking. The thing was horrendous. Baggy in all the wrong places, and had this weird sheen to it. And maroon is NOT my color at all. I looked like a bruise.
My horoscope said I was going to be happy today. So why am I so unhappy?