Do you feel like to some extent that’s so definitional to the band that you couldn’t shake off that aesthetic while still being Sonic Youth?I guess so. It’s much more about certain sensibilities and an outlook that the four of us have in terms of what we’re after and what we’re trying for. It’s obvious after all this time that we’re not out for fame and fortune. We’re dedicated to being a band that’s dedicated, that’s making new music, and staying interested in what we’re doing. I think our outlook in terms of the way we deal with younger bands, this inclusive outlook that we have, I think is mostly what defines the group.Are there any bands today you admire?Yeah, the list is broad in terms of new bands. We tend to be turned on by all kinds of music, from stuff that’s been made this year for the first time to stuff that’s been made by people who have been in the business way longer than we have. As for music that’s kind of come on this year, there’s a group Thurston has been working with called Hush Arbours that I really like a lot. I love their new record. There’s this guy that’s been around a long time, Bill Callahan, he’s been putting stuff out as Smog for a long time.

He had a terrific record this year!That record has been knocking me out, I love that record. Groups like Times New Viking, there seems to be so much new stuff happening right now. Our impression is that there’s great new music everywhere you look, and it’s just a matter of finding it. Whether it’s people writing songs or people doing more noisy compositional kind of stuff, it’s all over the place.I read that your band has been taking more of an interest in relationships and how relationships develop between people in your storytelling. What has been the impetus for moving on to that focus?

Not sure where that quote comes from or who said it, but it sounds like something I might have said about my particular lyric-writing. I don’t know if I would say that in general about the band, though I don’t know who said it. [It was Ranaldo.] That’s always interested me to some degree to write about people and things close to your heart, in whatever form it’s couched in. I could go in for straightforward singer-songwriter stuff, but I could also go in for stuff that’s more cryptically written, that is still somehow very personal seeming. It’s always been something that interests me about artists I’ve been drawn very close to: how you get a sense of who they are through what you hear. I like that idea. I like it to be less abstract, more personal in some way.