Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors take a Finger Lickin’ Bite Out of Life

When they’re not channeling their creative energies on stage, the Dirty Projectors, Brooklyn-based purveyors of wildly experimental orchestrations and complex harmonies, like to keep it chill at home. That is, when they have one. “I actually just got an apartment for the first time in years, so I haven’t had anybody over,” says multi-instrumentalist and founding member Dave Longstreth. On tour recently in the U.S., London, and other far-flung points on the map, today finds Longstreth and company at a photo shoot in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in the same building where they record, tearing into some BBQ.

Keeping it quiet, mild and cozy, they sit at a table, digging into the messy grub with their hands. The vegans present nibble corn on the cob. Varied palates combine to make for a good time—and the same can be said for the way the Dirty Projectors make music.

As his artistic plat du jour, Longstreth concocted Dirty Projectors— the name under which he began recording tracks seven years ago—with the intention of veering wildly from what is traditionally thought of as “indie rock.” Longstreth speaks about his band the way one talks about cooking ingredients: “I love the idea of taking things that I love or experience and cutting them up… and letting them come out again unrecognizable,” he says, grinning at the vast understatement.

The band’s latest album, Bitte Orca, is a nine-track odyssey through every flavor of every genre imaginable: hints of R&B, blues, rock, country, prog and opera waft through every note, resulting in unmitigated praise from early reviewers, among them rock luminary David Byrne. “I guess I have confidence or faith that what I’m doing is right,” Longstreth says, “or that has a logic, an emotional directness in some way. To find it for the listener, it’ll be an act of discovery. I love the progression that happens from something revealing itself.”

That inspirational process is happening again, with the rest of the band now shouting out suggestions for future sit-down dinners: “Nachos!” “Frito pies!” Ingredients for the perfect house party are slowly coming together. “Goat cheese and crackers!” gets nods of agreement. “A Meyer lemon aioli,” elicits a chorus of oohs. And what would Longstreth have? “Good music.” Naturally.

Photo: Janette Beckman

Dirty Projectors: (From left) Amber Coffman, Dave Longstreth, Nat Baldwin, Brian McComber, Angel Deradoorian and Hayley Dekle.

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