Robert Pollard once said something along the lines of that he can write five songs on the toilet, and three of them will be pretty good. That’s no understatement from one of the more prolific songwriters of the past three decades. Bradford Cox wouldn’t be stretching the truth if he made a similar statement. The Athens-born and Atlanta-based artist has unloaded a barrage of music in the past 10 years through a variety of outlets—both physical and digital—with his psych-gazing band Deerhunter and under his solo moniker, Atlas Sound. It’s a tremendous creative drive that Cox that attributes to “a mixture of boredom and inspiration from various day-to-day things.”
The 27-year-old songwriter has composed works under the name Atlas Sound since he was a teenager. Recently, it’s been material that he didn’t feel would fit with what he and his bandmates were creating as Deerhunter. Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel was his first full-length solo album, released by Kranky in 2008. An evocative record built upon nearly limitless layers of sound and effects, Let the Blind… brimmed with autobiographical lyrics that exposed Cox’s troubling experiences living with the connective tissue disorder Marfan Syndrome.
With Logos, Cox’s upcoming solo release, he decided to move away from the personal point of view. He didn’t like “having a lot attention directed at the personal nature of [his] music and stuff like that.” Cox says that he felt he was “just being analyzed a little bit too much” and wanted “people to lay off trying to analyze the lyrics…and apply them to [him].”
Whereas most of Let the Blind… was recorded in his bedroom, Logos was created more in the fashion of a live recording tracked in different locations across the globe.
“It was a lot of different processes, because it was recorded all over the world with different people. [Logos] is not really just one story, one specific process or something like that. You know, half of the stuff is more direct and like folk or rock-oriented. And that stuff—I always sort of record first takes. So, in essence, what you’re hearing is like the live creation of the song, because it’s just overdubbing over and over. There’s no undo. I don’t usually go back and fix the mistakes or anything. That’s how, to me, it’s like a live recording.”
Those different people include Laetitia Sadier, the bright songstress from one of Cox’s biggest influences, Stereolab. He seems almost giddy at the fact that he was able to have her contribute to “Quick Canal,” a pulsating, nearly nine-minute track of sheer kraut-rock bliss.
“It was really cool to work with Laetitia. Stereolab is one of my favorite bands and they actually have been an inspiration since I started playing music. They were one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager, when I was growing up.”
The critical hive has swarmed around Noah Lennox’s contribution to the track “Walkabout.” An ethereal sing-along with a syrupy, sample-based melody, Cox’s collaboration with the member of Animal Collective has been hailed as one of the best songs to come out in ‘09 thus far. However, he is not afraid to point out that he believes numerous connections to Animal Collective are misled.
“I don’t really feel like Animal Collective has influenced my music that much. I’ve been doing the same kind of stuff for years. I mean, I think that people are kind of overplaying that a bit. They’re my friends and naturally we draw inspiration from the same roots. But I kind of do my thing and they do their’s.”
Regardless, as long as Cox keeps doing his thing and putting out records like Logos, the musical world will be a better place.
Hometown: Athens, Georgia
Songwriting Heroes: Neil Young, Kim Deal, Bob Dylan