Musical supergroups are often bloated, silly affairs calling to mind endless guitar solos, subpar songwriting and enough sparkling scarves to strangle an army of Traveling Wilburys.
Not so with Divine Fits, the new project from indie rock royalty Dan Boeckner (Handsome Furs, Wolf Parade), Britt Daniel (Spoon) and Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks).
The band’s August debut on Merge Records, “A Thing Called Divine Fits,” is a taut exercise in groove-driven, keyboard-cushioned songwriting that would fit nicely alongside its members’ best-known projects.
We caught up with Boeckner over the phone earlier this week in advance of Divine Fits’ headlining set at the Bluebird Theater on Friday.
Q: Your debut album is surprisingly modest, given all the crazy directions you could have gone. Was that a conscious decision?
A: The mandate right from the beginning was that Britt (Daniel) and I decided this is a band. This isn’t two guys who are buddies in existing bands who feel confined by the artistic direction of their careers, and need to sit down and do a jazz record or make a noise record or record 80-minute guitar solos — something difficult and self-indulgent. We took it really seriously.
Q: But you also seem to be having fun, judging from your late-night TV appearances and videos from recent shows.
A: That’s been the best thing about starting this. When we get on stage I don’t feel like anyone’s not pulling their weight. I know that we’re going to get up there and play a great show. When everything works, when musical chemistry works and everybody’s happy and working hard toward that goal, that’s the best thing for me. That’s the whole reason I started playing music. It reminds me of playing shows when I was a kid — except I make less mistakes.
Q: And certainly this is your main gig now, following the dissolution of Handsome Furs. Do you feel like a lot is riding on it?
A: I had a lot of transitional life stuff happen in the past year. My band broke up, my marriage broke up, I had moved from Montreal and expatriated myself to L.A. So this band is something in my life that brings me a lot of joy. Especially when we play a good show.
Q: What are some specific examples?