ACL Fest Friday Interviews

ACL Fest Friday Interviews
Photo by Austin Powell

LCD Soundsystem

5:30pm, AT&T Blue Room stage

Shuffling around backstage at the Virgin Festival in Baltimore, in between interviews with MTV and Rolling Stone, James Murphy plumps down on a couch and removes his large Ray-Ban sunglasses.

"That's the future story of my life," the LCD Soundsystem leader laughs, glancing down momentarily at his silver-painted shoes. "I like touring – don't get me wrong – but when it crosses a certain line, it can feel like you're a traveling salesman. I don't find it compelling. I want to go home. I have a nice home, a wife, a dog. I would just rather be there working on records and making music.

"[My label] DFA is really hard right now because I don't do much with it anymore besides approving stuff. I'm not involved the way I was before. When people would send e-mails, I would be the one responding. I'd be doing the designing. That's a much bigger change for me than being on a major label."

The renowned producer doesn't let his road-weariness show onstage. In fact, he seems vindicated by live performance, bursting forth in moments of elated joy. At Virgin, he jabs himself in the side with a drumstick, straining to re-create the spontaneous shrieks found on LCD Soundsystem's stellar 2005 debut. Then comes the cowbell solo halfway through "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House," and all else is forgotten.

Murphy has always been his own harshest critic. Even on the electronic ensemble's breakthrough single, "Losing My Edge," he was questioning his own relevance and neurotic tendencies. His lyrical wit, in fact, remains LCD's trademark, splattered all over the band's sophomore effort, Sound of Silver.

"I'm 37," Murphy contends. "There's a limited amount of time where I'll feel comfortable doing this. I don't want to be on my deathbed with my grandkids like, 'I made three records.' I want to make people dance. I want to have a body of work. Ten records, seven at least."

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