Danger Mouse, The Shins’ James Mercer Explain the Birth of New Band Broken Bells

September 30th, 2009 by Matt Diehl Leave a reply »

When Danger Mouse and the Shins’ James Mercer met backstage at Denmark’s Roskilde festival five years ago, the unlikely duo quickly discovered a mutual fandom. “As soon as I heard the Shins, I wanted to do something with James, no matter what,” Danger Mouse explains. Their partnership took time to develop, but in March 2008, Mercer began a peripatetic recording odyssey, sequestering for weeks on end at Danger Mouse’s Los Angeles home studio. Both were coming off of a series of high-profile, high-pressure undertakings — Danger Mouse had recently finished producing Beck’s Modern Guilt, while Mercer was coming off a controversial, radical reshuffle of the Shins’ lineup. As a result, they covertly began making music that resembled nothing either of them had ever done.

The result is Broken Bells, what was until now a top-secret collaboration. Maverick musician/studio maven Danger Mouse (a.k.a. Brian Burton) explains this latest effort is no one-off art project like Dark Night of the Soul, his much-hyped joint endeavor with Sparklehorse and film director David Lynch from earlier this year. And while he’s well known for producing the likes of Gorillaz, he claims it’s not a Shins album as produced by Danger Mouse; nor is it a trading-computer-files creation à la Gnarls Barkley, his acclaimed partnership with Cee-Lo. Nope, both Danger Mouse and Mercer agree that Broken Bells is, in fact, a band. “We just didn’t get anybody else in it but ourselves,” explains Danger Mouse. “We’d never worked together before, but then we did one song and it was great.”

Danger Mouse and Mercer make all this clear as they linger between shots during a spooky late-night video shoot for Broken Bells’ first single, “The High Road”: in the clip, the duo stalks a dark desert road with fla...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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