Whether trading indie rock licks with Spencer Krug in Wolf Parade or collaborating with Spoon’s Britt Daniel in Divine Fits, Dan Boeckner has never been one for sitting around.
His latest musical venture with Operators, a dreamy group rounded out by techno stalwart Devojka and Sam Brown (Divine Fits, New Bomb Turks), blends lo-fi aesthetics with sci-fi influenced lyrics and dystopian themes.
Considering the heavy subject matter that encompasses Operators’ new album, Radiant Dawn, Boeckner is upbeat about the release and the promise it brings.
“I feel like I’ve made a breakthrough with songwriting and arrangement,” he says. “Every now and then I’ll make a record where I’ll feel like it’s pushed me into a new stage of songwriting and arrangement and just writing in general.”
“… this record is just examining these different failed Utopias.”
The Montréal-based musician also cites his songwriting on Handsome Furs’ Sound Kapital (2011) and Wolf Parade’s At Mount Zoomer (2008) as moments in his career when he felt a similar way. With so much on the go, Boeckner explains each release has a natural ebb and flow.
“In late 2017, Devojka and I were talking about putting together the new Operators record and we just started writing and made the record over most of 2018 from pretty concentrated writing and recording stints.”
Diving into Radiant Dawn, Boeckner says the band’s first single, “Faithless,” is a good representation of the dichotomy the world is currently struggling with – the need for change yet the inability of older generations to understand and embrace it.
“It really does feel like nothing will change,” he says. “But I think the end point of ‘Faithless,’ the point it’s trying to make, is that it doesn’t have to be that way. We can move things, you know? We can push the narrative forward.”
During the writing process for Radiant Dawn, Boeckner battled depression but leaned on Operators’ bandmate and friend Devojka for support. He says it helped to have somebody close who understood his emotions and what he was trying to create.
“If Blue Wave (2016) was kind of an apocalyptic record that was born out of living in Silicon Valley for a couple years, then this record is just examining these different failed Utopias. Having Devojka working on all this stuff with me was a huge support and creative boost.”
Boeckner also surrounds himself with friends and musical collaborators like Basia Bulat, Tim Kingsbury (Arcade Fire) and Andrew Woods (Napster Vertigo), with whom he operates a recording studio in Montreal.
He doesn’t plan on slowing down, either. For those worried about Operators’ activity interfering with the recently reunited Wolf Parade, fear not. Boeckner says Wolf Parade’s follow up to comeback album Cry Cry Cry (2017) is already in the works.
“Wolf Parade started recording back in January,” he says. “All the songs are written and it’s just getting mixed right now.”