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Deerhunter's Bradford Cox On Making Music In Trying Times: 'I'm Just Screaming Out Loud'

Deerhunter's <em>Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? </em>comes out Jan. 18.
Courtesy of the artist
Deerhunter's Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? comes out Jan. 18.

Artists often seclude themselves from the world or change their scenery in order to create. Georgia-based band Deerhunter went out to the small, artsy town of Marfa, Tx. to craft the band's latest album, Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?

"It wasn't planned ahead," Cox says about the band making a large chunk of this album in Marfa. As Cox explains, he was asked by singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon to participate in the Marfa Myths Music Festival and he decided to bring the band along for the ride. "It wasn't a location we chose in particular. It chose us."

Cox notes that themes of depression and anxiety have always been strong throughout Deerhunter's catalog — "It permeates everything we've done" — but with the songs on Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?, those themes come through even stronger because of the divisive times the music is being released in. "Certainly, on this album, it comes from listening to the news and being surrounded by a sense of more common and universal unease. Like, it's not just in my head anymore," he says.

Overall, Cox uses this music as a form of catharsis for trying times. He wants listeners to use it that way too. "I think I'm just screaming out loud, you know," he says.

Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? comes out Jan. 18 via 4AD. Cox spoke with NPR's Sarah McCammon about making the album, learning from elders, the message of the single "Death in Midsummer" in relation to the current government shutdown and more. Hear their conversation at the audio link.

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Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.