The second coming of 2005's indie darlings Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is upon us. And while the alt-rock prophets will wait with baited blogs until the January 30 release date, don't expect lead singer and Philadelphia native Alec Ounsworth to indulge their rapture. Ounsworth spoke to Street about ignoring the hype and trips to the zoo while driving home to Philly after five long weeks of recording in Cascadia, NY.
Street: You finished recording your second album yesterday, why don't we start there. What can you tell me about that process?
Alec Ounsworth: It was pretty standard. You go and you put down some songs, and then you mix them, and then you have an album. [laughs]
Street: Does the album have a name yet?
Street: Was the production of this second album any different from your first [independently-produced album]?
AO: Not too much. We worked with a guy named Dave Fridmann [producer of The Flaming Lips and Sleater-Kinney], and he was a bit more of a producer. And it was sort of different in that respect because the first album was mostly engineers, and [Fridmann] helped a little bit more with the shapes of the songs. But not too much, he was pretty hands-off.
Street: So now that there's some distance from your initial release, do you feel that the hype surrounding your group has subsided, for better or worse?
AO: I don't really think about that. I don't really get too close to that sort of thing, so it doesn't affect me one way or another.
Street: You've just finished a tour of Europe. What's it like to be on the road there instead of in the United States?
AO: Different languages. Different forms of currency. It's very similar otherwise.
Street: As a fan, I always feel a greater connection at a live show when the artist is local instead of just passing through. How is it for you to play in your hometown?
AO: It's a little peculiar - I mean I like it, it's nice - but I also think that most people generally don't even know I'm from Philadelphia. It feels a little bit like I'm visiting anyways. But I like it because my family can come up to the dressing room and see me after it's finished.
Street: After you've been on the road for a while and you come back to Philadelphia, what's the first place you seek out?
AO: I like to go to the zoo.
Street: What's your favorite animal there?
AO: [Long pause] Hmm, I shouldn't have such a hard time with this . I always like the giraffe for some reason. I was just reading a book where the giraffe was described as such a ludicrous creation, and why in God's name would there be such a thing? [pauses] I've always been drawn to giraffes. [pauses again] Maybe that will be the title of the album.
Street: Can your fans expect to hear anything off the new album at your show at the Trocadero next week?
AO: Yeah, I mean we're not going to have any time to practice for these songs, I think there will probably be like three or four from the new album. Two which we've already been playing quite a bit, but some others which we might just try to pull off.
Street: Are you excited?
AO: Always. I'm always excited.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, who begin their U.S. tour Saturday in Baltimore, will play a sold-out show at the Trocadero on September 30 with Architecture in Helsinki.