Having interviewed Defeater twice before, there’s one thing that I’ve learned: you’re in for one lengthy chat, and this interview was certainly no different, as I caught up with frontman Derek Archambault ahead of their recent headline show in London, where we got talking in-depth about the release of Empty Days and Sleepless Nights, the story behind ‘The Wave’, and a ton more in this 4,500+ word mammoth.
Faye: So, how are you today?
Derek: I’m well, I’m a lot better than I was when I woke up. I slept in the van last night and I forgot to take my sleeping bag out, so I slept in 30F weather, so it was fucking freezing, but I’m good. We had a great meal here, some garlic tofu.
Faye: I last interviewed you in April last year, what has Defeater been up to since then?
Derek: We got home from that tour and then we took the whole summer off, and then Andy was gone with Green Vans for Warped Tour and then he came back, and Jay and him started thinking about the record and what we wanted to do with it. Andy was just recording drums at Jay’s studio and then Jay would kind of edit it down. We started the real recording process and then Jay had to go to Australia for a recording thing with Marty from Carpathian. We did a tour around the Fest and that was really, really awesome, it was with All Teeth, Living With Lions and Make Do and Mend, so that was just a fucking blast. It was cool touring with friends’ bands that have a lot of hype about them right now – we love them, so seeing all the amazing reactions they were getting was really awesome. Then we came home and I did lyrics and recorded, and then we started thinking of ideas for the layout and we came up with the idea to do the book with Chris – it’s not a full book, it’s just lyrics and pictures and explanations from my friend Michael who does photography. After we finished the record, it was kind of a waiting game to do this tour and then when we get home from this, we play our record release show and then we flight down to South By South West and do a few shows in Austin, Texas and from there we do Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, so it’s been a crazy few months, with all the crazy stuff going on with our personal lives and Jay having to record bands all over the country, and Andy doing Green Vans all over the country, me and my ex-fiancé breaking up and Mike’s always gone with Make Do and Mend, so it’s been a wild six months, but we’re all doing really, really well for the first time in the band, everybody is happy and healthy. A lot of the time when we’re away, someone just got dumped or someone was having family issues back home, but we’re at the most mentally stable place we’ve ever been, so that’s really great. Mike and I both met these amazing girls that we just fell for, totally unexpected. Just out of nowhere, these two girls walk into our lives, like I’ve been fucking up for the last five years and I meet someone who gets me, so that’s nice, and Jay’s getting married, so, yeah, that’s what we’ve been doing – touring, getting married, writing a new record. The responses so far have been really, really nice, like we played the Netherlands last night and kids knew lyrics to new songs that just got leaked the night before and that’s fucking wild. Like the first time you and I did an interview, like all the comparisons that you made, saying that kids are eventually going to see us in the same light as our friends’ bands, I was like, ‘Nah, that’s not going to happen, we’re just a bunch of nerds from Massachusetts that got lucky for a little while.’ But to actually be touring this much and having the response that we’ve gotten from the new record is, again, just so mind-blowing. We just try to make something that we would love, like back in our teenage years, and it’s crazy that we’ve gotten this far. It’s just wild that we can tour the way we do.