Dan Snaith, better known as Caribou, marries music and math

Caribou https-Thomas Neukum
Caribou has almost 50 shows scheduled around the world.
Thomas Neukum

By Gabriela Acosta, MWN

One of the most transgressive composers of electronic music, Dan Snaith, better known as Caribou, is on a world tour with one of the most anticipated shows of the genre. He will also participate in important festivals, such as Coachella and Lollapalooza, among others.

Dan Snaith is a mathematician and has a PhD in philosophy from Imperial College London, but life led him to become a star of electronic music. Caribou’s style can be considered out of the ordinary. It includes non-digitized live instruments such as acoustic guitars, percussion and more, to ambient sounds you wouldn’t expect.

Metro talked with the musician to learn more.

What are your thoughts about coming back to stage?

The last couple of years before the pandemic I was going through some typical midlife stuff and that’s what the music was about. I was trying to find peace when the album was coming out. That’s just what everybody was experiencing. That feeling that everything was upside down. So that felt really weird when I was getting messages from people who had heard the album and said that it really resonated with them and that was very gratifying to me because that was the whole purpose of my music. I have two children, who at the time were three and eight years old, now they are two years older. My focus quickly shifted to family life in this bubble. Now we’re finally touring and I’m very happy about that.

What will we hear during this tour?

I never know if people know what to expect when Caribou plays live. It’s always a full band, I think with electronic music people can expect one person behind a computer, but when we play live it’s the same band and the same musicians for almost a decade, so we perform all the songs as a band. On this tour we will also have – for the first time – a visual component that will support the music, so I’m more excited for this show than for another concerts in the past.

Do you consider yourself an eccentric person with your music?

I definitely think I’m someone nerdy and a little weird. The two things I’ve always loved in my life are music and math. Math was obviously there from the beginning because in a way it’s like the family business, it’s what my dad did, it’s what my sister does and it’s always been in my family. Music was always in my family, so if feels like I have a unique perspective because of that. I think as a kid I was always the one on the chess team, but also on the basketball team. I was trying to be friends with everyone and get into every world.

What is your creative process like?

Specifically the lyrics are one of the last things I focus on when making music. I like to make music that way, for me it’s like keeping a diary and when I look back at the album I made when I had my first child, the album I made when I first released music and I had this very young energy and I was so excited. It always reflects my life, but I don’t get to see it until afterwards.

How do you feel about the music industry?

I have mixed feelings about it because on the one hand, something amazing is happening in our era. The ‘chain gang’ that allowed music to be released has disappeared, more and more people are making music and releasing it. That barrier to enter the industry is gone and so the one of listening to music. Now you can listen to any music from any time and at any place very easily. I would have loved for that to be a reality when I was a kid. It was very difficult to listen to music and the music I would have been interested in was inaccessible. Obviously, there is a discussion about how this new way – where so many people participate in music – will be able to support musicians and how that’s going to work in the long run. Knowing who is going to be able to make a career in music and who they are going to support is very difficult.

What do you put on your playlist?

I have a huge playlist on Spotify that has all the music I’ve ever loved and, yes, there are a couple of my songs on there just because the label told me: ‘you’re an idiot if you don’t put some of your own music on there.’ But I don’t really listen to my own music, I don’t see the point. I only listen to it when we play live, those are the versions I know. My playlist has all kinds of music, I’m interested in new electronic music, lost music from India, from Mexico, from everywhere.

What projects should we expect in the future?

I have this other project called Daphni, which is a little more club music and I just finished a lot of pieces that will be coming out later this year. I felt like during the pandemic I didn’t do a lot of music because I was so focused on my family, which was great, but I did do a couple of things that are halfway done, so finishing this tour I’ll sit down and take a look at all that and try to finish another album.