Anonymous said: Why Tallinn?
My band’s name started out arbitrarily enough, but after living with it for the past year (!) it’s grown on me more and more.
When I was beginning work on the project my ideas were a little more conceptual than Expatriate turned out. There were two things I was particularly interested in exploring — sampling “inauthentic” music from other countries and contrasting high and low recording fidelity — to create something that was geographically and sonically ambiguous. The music would sound “foreign” but at the same time be about how that foreignness was created. (This theme is much more prominent on the next EP, which you’ll be hearing more about soon.)
I also originally wanted to have economics songs narrated by some kind of rootless flâneur character, one of the “people who live nowhere” in this Matt Taibbi quote that serves as the epigraph to Chris Kraus’s “Kelly Lake Store”:
[…] all of those political clichés are quaint relics of a less threatening era that is now part of our past, or soon will be. The next conflict defining us all is much more unnerving.
That conflict will be between people who live somewhere, and people who live nowhere. It will be between people who consider themselves citizens of actual countries, to which they have patriotic allegiance, and people to whom nations are meaningless, who live in a stateless global archipelago of privilege — a collection of private schools, tax havens and gated residential communities with little or no connection to the outside world.
(I ended up basically chopping this but you can still see the remnants of this idea scattered around Expatriate, like the place and time corresponding to each song in the book edition.)
A city name seemed like it’d fit perfectly with these themes; as long as I can remember I’ve loved the idea of bands named after places without particularly liking any of those bands. Reading about Tallinn, a place I’ve never been, I imagined that narrator walking alone around the wintry city, thinking about austerity economics, and at once it seemed like everything made sense.