By their own admission, Phoenix were pretty much making it up as they went along during the recording of their brand-new Bankrupt! album … though, for a band that rather unwittingly stumbled into global success with 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix album, it’s a formula that seems to work well for them.
“It’s always a different experience, because we don’t really know how to make a record; it’s true. Each time it’s different,” bassist Deck d’Arcy laughed. “We tried to control it, we tried our best, but unfortunately it doesn’t work. So we kind of follow the guidelines of randomness, you know, numbers and mathematics. It’s a big dice-rolling party.”
And for further proof of that, Phoenix are giving fans a glimpse of said randomness with the Bankrupt! deluxe edition, which comes with an additional 71 (!) “sketches” of material from the recording sessions — “It’s mostly filler, some killer,” frontman Thomas Mars deadpanned — and shows a band attempting to figure out just what the heck they were trying to say on their new album.
“We had more than 2,000 pieces of music, we were just seeing what we could do, trying to … decide what we wanted this record to be,” guitarist Christian Mazzalai said. “It’s the essence of this record, really.”
Though, truth be told, Phoenix aren’t just putting that excess material out there for the completists … turns out, there were selfish reasons behind the decision, too. Namely, after working on Bankrupt! for more than two years, they were ready to put the past behind them, and move on to whatever’s next. Hey, it worked for Napoleon.
“We wanted to get rid of everything that was left over, and to start from scratch the next time,” Mars said. “It was very cathartic. We have no more new songs right now.”
“It’s very important to burn the bridges,” guitarist Laurent Brancowitz laughed. “It was a strategy of Napoleon.”
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