Lockett Pundt is one of the guitarists and songwriters for the only hyped group fully deserving of said hype, Deerhunter. He’s also the band’s understated musical force. A lot is made of both Bradford Cox’s serious songwriting prowess and his on or off-stage antics. While Cox’s Atlas Sound extracts his signature sound from the Deerhunter burgoo, showcasing where the group gets their vivid lyrics and rigid pop structure, Pundt’s Lotus Plaza pinpoints where Deerhunter’s liquid, dreamy textures originate.
The Floodlight Collective is Lotus Plaza’s debut album, and it’s so fucking good. The generally reserved Pundt was kind enough to take a few minutes out of the insanely productive Deerhunter schedule and discuss the origins of Lotus Plaza and the recording process.
KB: First, I want to congratulate you on getting this album out – it’s really incredible. I know many of the songs that ended up on The Floodlight Collective have been around for quite some time. What’s the origin story with Lotus Plaza and this album?
LP: Thank you! I guess the origin was when I started recording songs by myself during the last year of high school. I received a four-track for my birthday and tried to write songs. I have been doing it ever since. There wasn’t any real name to go with the songs I made until a few years ago. We all had kind of a pseudonym in Deerhunter and mine was lotus plaza. Around the same time, being Cryptograms era, I started to write a lot of the songs that would eventually go on the record. I had no real intention of making anything for an album really until my friends asked me what I was going to do with the songs. I hadn’t thought of releasing an album myself, but I was into the idea. I was kind of scared but I’m glad it worked out how it did.
KB: How does the songwriting and recording processes differ between Lotus Plaza and the full-band Deerhunter, save for the number of people of course?
LP: Most of the songs I write, I try to make them for Deerhunter. Songs that don’t really feel like they would fit are what end up being something that I might use. Like if the songs are too sample heavy or have more simultaneous instruments than there are members of Deerhunter, then I might end up using them. My songs are more of a recording project. I don’t really imagine the songs live as I’m recording them. Deerhunter songs have to have a live setting in mind during creation. You can’t add that sixth guitar track since it can’t be done in on stage with two guitars.
KB: The Floodlight Collective was an old band you were in, I understand. What made you decide on this name for your first solo effort?
LP: It was an experience that seemed to really initiate my desire to actually create and play music. I was a little unsure of my ability to do anything other than flub around on my Squire II Stratocaster and Crate GX-15 amp. It was the first time that I had really played music with a band full of people. I loved doing it on my own before but it seemed more of a fantasy to actually do it in a band setting. I don’t know to explain it properly other than it made music seemed that it was something I was capable of doing. I wasn’t so sure before I suppose.
KB: On the Deerhunter blog, it seems that “Dot/Gain” originated under the Lotus Plaza moniker but ended up, of course, on Weird Era Cont. Are there other songs in the catalog that started as you but ended up as Deerhunter?
LP: No, not really. That was kind of a one time thing.
KB: Gotcha. So, I’m really fascinated by the tonality and lushness on a lot of the album, especially “Antoine.” I know that Panda Bear has said that Person Pitch was almost entirely created on the Boss SP-303 sampler and an 8-track. What does the Pundt gear arsenal look like?
LP: Well, I just got some new stuff actually. I used a computer to record the record almost entirely. The title track is actually all four track samples from drone tapes I made over the years, but even then it was turned into a MIDI sample and played on a keyboard into my computer. I have since stopped using it. I wanted to go back to tapes. I didn’t know that he recorded that album on an 8 track. I just bought one that records 8 tracks onto cassette, the Tascam 688. I love it! I hope to record my next album on it. You’re definitely limited as far as effects and processing options without the computer, but I think I’m ready for a change.
KB: Any chance of a Lotus Plaza tour?
LP: Who knows. I don’t think i would be a very entertaining show to watch. I think I’m going to play some shows here in Atlanta and take things from there.
KB: Finally, what albums have blown your mind lately?
LP: I haven’t been blown away by anything too much recently. I bought this one Harmonia album, Musik Von Harmonia, that I hadn’t heard before and I love it. Another one that I have been getting back into recently after a long break from it is Ash Ra Tempel’s New Age of Earth. Completely amazing…
Lotus Plaza’s The Floodlight Collective is available now courtesy of the good folks at Kranky.