Shortly after November 2016, Eleanor Friedberger left America. “I’m really hooked on traveling around and being in motion all the time,” she explained. The election of Donald Trump to the office of President wasn’t the impetus for her departure, but it definitely help codify her decision to get out and see some of the world for a little while. She ended up in Greece, Athens to be more specific, but not the Athens you see in history books and travel brochures. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least.
“Most people think of Greece in summertime, and you’re at the beach, and go to Aegean Sea and this incredible blue and all this stuff,” she said, but that wasn’t her Athens. In Friedberger’s Athens, “You’re dirty, you’re jumping in dog shit constantly, it even snows in the winter. It’s not what people have in mind when they think of Greece naturally.” In Friedberger’s Athens there’s a dank nightclub called Rebound where she discovered a new world of music that inspired a lot of the sound and attitude of her latest record by the same name.
“I’m a big fan of titles with double, triple meanings,” she said. “And I did have this very formative experience going to the club that to me summed up Athens in a lot of ways.”
While Rebound didn’t end up being as angry or angst-riddled an album as she initially conceived it to be, it’s definitely a sonic departure from her last, more pastoral record, the criminally under-appreciated New View. Whereas that album was informed by the ’70s singer-songwriter scene, Rebound is marked more by a certain electronic sound that she discovered and enjoyed late into the wee hours of the morning in Greece.
Recently I had the chance to talk to Friedberger about her time away from America, her songwriting process overall, and what she hopes people learn about her through her music.