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It was one take, and it was the first time we had ever played it. Like Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works II—it feels like you’re in these landscapes when you put it on. Even Brian Eno’s Music for Airports—all this ambient music that makes you feel like you’re in some strange place. I used to always wait for the winter to put them on. You have “Snowstorm,” or “Flowers,” which are both so wintery. I like them, sure, but I don’t have an extensive knowledge of their records. Your music is very romantic, but it has an edge to it. That’s based on a true story, which a lot of the songs are. It was a long-distance thing, and we would always talk about her coming to visit New York. I love that—taking really specific memories and just being matter-of-fact about them in my lyrics. Even bands that I love, like Galaxie 500, the words conjure more of a feeling, rather than a straight-ahead narrative.
Fans on Bandcamp have described your music as ‘bittersweet sadness,’ ‘achingly good dream pop,’ and have said it ‘reminds [them] of heavy fog mid-morning.’ How would you describe it? That’s amazing—that’s a really high compliment, to be compared to a landscape. That was a big influence for me, and I actually don’t really hear that comment from many people. Usually we get compared to Slowdive or Beach House. I like a storytelling narrative, like Leonard Cohen on “Chelsea Hotel” or “Famous Blue Raincoat.” I kind of think of my songs as letters to somebody.
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It’s like, ‘I don’t want to sleep, I just want to keep this going, and I’m so heartbroken.’ I thought, ‘Maybe we’ll cover it someday.’ And then two years later, we did a take, and that’s the take that’s on the record. That’s exactly what I want to do: make music that is elemental, where it feels like it’s taking you someplace. I don’t know why, but I always say things that are a little too sharp, and I get in trouble for it. The second half of the song is about this girl that I was seeing at the time.Even more impressive: Gonzales takes the REO Speedwagon lite-FM classic, “Keep On Loving You,” and slows it to a crawl, drawing out the mournfulness at its core. I don’t know if you ever feel this way, but there were so many songs present in my childhood that were just kinda floating in the air. Then, years later, I went back to it, and all of a sudden something jumped out, and I fell in love with the song. And maybe it’s that, after a little time, you can finally see the song for what it is, and any negative connotations disappear.On a break between European tours, we caught up with Gonzalez to talk about his highly-anticipated LP. Once I moved to New York, I kind of got back into it.In response, we will be donating 100% of our share of every sale today, August 4th (from midnight to midnight Pacific Time) to the Transgender Law Center, a nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to change law, policy, and culture for the more equitable.TLC does critical policy advocacy and litigation on multiple fronts, fights for healthcare for trans veterans, defends incarcerated trans people from abuse in prisons and detention centers, supports trans immigrants, and helps trans youth tell their stories and build communities.
There are only two Cigarettes After Sex releases to date.