KCRW Exclusive: Interview with Dead Can Dance’s Lisa Gerrard

Written by
Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry

I am in awe.

In advance of Dead Can Dance’s first brand new release in 16 years, “Anastasis“, and what promises to be a spectacular show at the Gibson Amphitheatre TONIGHT, I contacted Dead Can Dance’s publicist with a handful of questions in the vague hope that perhaps the KCRW Music Blog would be blessed with some word (any word)  from anyone involved in this truly unique and legendary outfit.

I received my responses this afternoon with no name attached and contacted the publicist to find out who I should be attributing these responses to, to which I quickly got the response, “Lisa did them.”

My jaw dropped as I suddenly found myself dizzily thinking, “LISA?? GERRARD?!? Omigod! OMIGODDDD! I just had a brief interview with the voice from Papua New Guinea, Dreams Made Flesh, One Perfect Sunrise, ALL those Michael Mann movies…THE VOICE OF DEAD CAN DANCE!!!”

Probably for the best that I didn’t know who’d reply or I’d have lost all perspective. I am super grateful for her taking the invaluable time out of her schedule to respond so thoughtfully, and to Dead Can Dance for getting together again to create such a gorgeous record. (check out a track below)

– Mario

Amnesia (Radio Edit) by Dead Can Dance

KCRW: Having created music as Dead Can Dance periodically for the last 30 years, what were the circumstances that prompted your most recent work and decision to tour?
DCD: Nostalgia, a love of handing an olive branch of friendship through for new works.

KCRW: Although Dead Can Dance is a considered a quintessential “goth” project, you’ve always been rooted in primitivism and world folk sounds. Why do you think the label “goth” was attached to your sound? What does that mean to you?

DCD: I think it was an assessment made by the media because of the word dead in our name, I don’t think anyone would describe our work as Gothic if they’ve heard it. Our work was born from the terrible despair and frustration of not being able to connect with anything in our immediate surroundings, the primitive influences in our work, I call original sources of connection and communication, that excited up to want to be involved in music.

KCRW: The emotional intensity of your work has a sweeping, large quality that gives it a real cinematic feel. Do you like the way your music has featured in film? Is there a particular instance that has really surprised or pleased you?

DCD: All connections that are decided by others regarding our work have a fascination for us, sometimes it helps us to see the work the way others do. When we make this work, we are very close to it but clearly it has a life of its own if anything is quintessential it is its innate ability to throw light on facets of story telling that give width and depth.

KCRW: You seemingly draw inspiration from a very visceral and spiritual place, and from such an array of sounds from all eras all over the world. are there any artists currently making music you listen to?

DCD: Of course, I listen to Sigur Ros, Daniel Johns, Daft Punk & Mark Pinkus

KCRW: Recently, you’ve been using your website and social networks as a means of interacting with your fans in a way that is really fantastic with all the free EPs and pre-order. Has this turn to use social media changed the groups identity? By which I mean, do you feel perhaps the air of mystery is dissipated at all?

DCD: Mystery is a quiz that is solved by knowing or finding out.

KCRW: Has collaborating (and touring) again rekindled an interest in creating more new Dead Can Dance work, or will this perhaps be a phase and the group will lay dormant for awhile and return again further down the road?

DCD: Let’s just think about the next concert & solve the puzzles that are placed before us. I think its really important to express at this point there’s a huge responsibility in communicating the well homed and much loved works that are very fresh and new, although we will be visiting earlier works also the things that matters to us most now is to make a connection with our dearly loved public.

KCRW: Lastly, what aspect of this new tour is most exciting to you?

DCD:  Being able to connect in depth to our musicians, travel on the chariot of surrender so that we can again pour out the very essence of those things that have inspired us to share.