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Beirut's Growth

"Isabella Rossellini in a whale costume talking about whale sex" is how Zach Condon would visually represent his music.

Beirut aka Zach Condon is currently back on the road after a year of silence that started with the cancellation of last summer's tour, which provoked the outcry and disappointment of fans around the world. He is back with new songs
up his sleeve and a fresh and full-of-life approach to the new challenges. Here he talks of exhaustion remedies, Isabella Rosselini, skateboarding as a profession and how he craves his favourite New Mexico's green chile.

Dazed Digital: How much do you think you have grown musically between The Flying Club Cup/last tour and the new album/tour?
Zach Condon: I've been trying to figure that out. After recording in Mexico I realised that I'd gone pretty far into left field from where I started out in music writing...That's actually the reason I put Holland together with March of the Zapotec - I came back from Mexico and started digging through my old archives... I don't know what I was looking for exactly but it made me realise that those old songs were pretty fun and naive, and it's important to get back to that sometimes. I guess it'll help me move on to the next logical step that I'll take later.

DD: What is the best treatment to cure exhaustion when a break is needed?
Zach Condon: Stay away from the business... Don't keep up with the scene - learn how to not care so much for a while. I had to cut down drinking as well.

DD: What do you miss and what do you like the most while on tour?
Zach Condon: Waiting is the worst. It seems seventy to eighty percent of tour is just waiting waiting waiting. But the feeling you get after a show is done makes you feel like you actually have a purpose in the world.

DD: You have brought Balkan/gipsy music to the masses, so they say - do you like to be  perceived as the 'bridge' that got both Western and Eastern genres together? How do you avoid it becoming a cliche in your style?
Zach Condon: I'm not trying to reproduce any style really, I'm just trying to incorporate it into the pop song structure I grew up around... so the east to west bridge tag seems silly.  If its getting a larger audience to listen to some obscure folk music then I'm happy with that.

DD: If you had to represent your music visually to a deaf person, what would you show them? Why?
Zach Condon: I would show them Isabella Rossellini in a whale costume talking about whale sex.

DD: Your lyrics are poetic. Do you read much? What are you reading right now?
Zach Condon: I'm reading Blood Meridian from Cormac McCarthy...  I love South American writers the most: Roberto Bolano, Marquez and Borges...the epics... I guess I have a thing for epicnessity.

DD: If you were not a musician, what would you like to be AND what would you have been realistically?
Zach Condon: I would probably be leaching off of some girl in Albuquerque if this hadn't worked out.  But I would have liked to be a professional skateboarder. Seriously, my favourite sport in the world.

DD: If you were to choose another musician(s) to cover a song of yours, who would that be and why?
Zach Condon: Jane Birkin.  She has a beautiful voice, and an aloofness I find incredibly charming...

DD: First thing that comes to your mind when you hear 'Obama'.
Zach Condon: bannanna fo fanna fe fi fobama.  We're all rooting for you sir.

DD: What does New Mexico have that other States don't?
Zach Condon: GREEN CHILE. I am foaming at the mouth thinking about it. I would break my best friend's jaw to be able to eat green chile in New York. And I bet you my best friend would be ok with that too, if it worked out.

DD: Tell us a bit more of your association with France/French music and its influence.
Zach Condon: I'm a Frenchaholic!

March of the Zapotec out now.