TV on the Radio's Jaleel Bunton is okay with being a little more "traditional"

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

When the members of TV on the Radio announced they were taking a hiatus in the fall of 2009, they did what anyone would have come to expect of them: They stayed plenty busy. Kyp Malone released his first solo album, while Dave Sitek moved to L.A. — and also found time for his own side projects. Tunde Adebimpe even appeared in the film Rachel Getting Married.

Early this year, the Brooklynites returned with Nine Types of Light, a more relaxed and unabashedly funky album than anything they've done before. They'll be coming to the Ogden next week for a pair of makeup shows (they were originally scheduled to play in April before bassist Gerard Smith passed away from lung cancer), and we caught up with drummer and jack-of-all-trades Jaleel Bunton to talk about their experience recording at Sitek's new studio and getting back on the road.

Westword: What was it like recording in California for the first time?


TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio, with Broken Social Scene, 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 20, and Wednesday, September 21, Ogden Theatre, 935 East Colfax Avenue, $35-$45, www.axs.com.

Jaleel Bunton: It's funny, I always used to hate on L.A., being a New Yorker, you know? And I still kind of do [laughs]. But there are really amazing, amazing things about L.A. that you don't get in New York. The place Dave is staying is amazing: tranquil and out of the way, not in Hollywood or anything, just a canyon and hawks and shit. It's pretty incredible.

What was best about recording out there?

You really can get some solitude in your home, which is really difficult to get in New York unless you're just filthy, filthy, filthy fucking rich. So even from our rehearsal space to your apartment or whatever, even going to the store, you're constantly bombarded with other people's realities. You're just never alone in New York.

Generally speaking, the album's a little more accessible than its predecessors. It's even been referred to as a "love album." Do those sorts of descriptions ring true with you?

It's funny — my reflex is, "No, man, we're avant-garde! We're punk-rock! We don't ever make something successful!" Look, that can be just as much of a constraint. It's important that you don't pigeonhole yourself or restrict yourself in any way. If you're afraid to make a song that, I don't know, makes traditional sense, then you're not following your creativity.

Maybe you guys are a little more comfortable being conventional now, too?

I would hope so. I hope I'm comfortable being whatever I feel like being. Whether you're a musician or a painter or an actor, you know when it's right. And that's it. Sometimes it's right, and it's totally conventional — then awesome. Sometimes it's right and it's like one weird-ass drum note on some synth — then that's right, too. But you know what's right only when you're listening to yourself, so I feel like we're very consistent with that.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.