Surprisingly, Deerhoof’s 19th album is also their first to be made from beginning to end in a recording studio. Not because they had tired of their anarchic sound, but because they wanted to make themselves uncomfortable — by opening up their secretive DIY methods to someone new. Our research has not turned up many examples of a DIY band waiting 28 years before entrusting one of their records to a producer, but in summer 2022 Deerhoof decided to take a chance.
“Seemingly out of nowhere, I was presented with a miracle-level opportunity to produce Deerhoof for two consecutive weeks at No Fun Club in Winnipeg, Manitoba,” says Mike Bridavsky, a total stranger to the band until Joyful Noise founder Karl Hofstetter suggested him. “I began listening through their albums and realized: I have no fucking idea how to make a Deerhoof record. Did anyone? They’d assembled a catalog of thoughtful, wild, and unique records, each different from the one before. I was about to be inserted into a thriving creative organism that’s worked almost exclusively with each other, with unlimited control of every blip and bleep. This was the session I’d been dreaming of for my whole professional life—and I was terrified.”
Bridavsky realized he had to build trust—trust that he would safeguard their one-of-a-kind musical personality. “In my first call with Greg, I was relieved that we had an instant rapport. Their biggest concern was dispensing with the months of obsessive tinkering that usually make their albums sound so beautiful and insane. He told me, ‘We don’t want to do our usual aggro control-freak thing. We’re going for bare-minimum production that doesn’t push the listener around.’”
Nor was this to be the only departure from standard operating procedure. The band emailed Bridavsky the music they’d been listening to for inspiration: Rosalía, Meridian Brothers, Les Freres Michot, Ngola Ritmos, Mozart opera. It occurred to them that none of this was in English. Satomi decided that she’d like to forsake the language of “the world’s policeman” and write Miracle-Level’s lyrics entirely in her native tongue.
The brave record they walked out with at the end of two weeks is often unexpectedly sotto voce, a drama term referring to emphasis attained by lowering one’s voice. Miracle-Level is an avant-garde, anti-fascist carnival, its spicy surprises whispered conspiratorially, and lit by candlelight. Sit down, let me tell you a story celebrating the infinite small wonders of existence… the miracles that spontaneously present themselves when we’re not distracted by the tribalism and manipulation of our death-driven masters… the miracles that Artificial Intelligence will never replicate. Deerhoof speak in a secret code in which hooks abound, genre is nonexistent, and magic ever awaits us." (Promo Copy)