Friday, July 8, 2011

Interview: Kevin Devine

Back in April, I got the chance to sit down with one of our favorite artists, Kevin Devine. It was just before his show at the University at Albany, which was unfortunately restricted to students only. Luckily, Mike and I found our way in and I was able to meet up with Devine. He was still in the process of tinkering with the band's latest CD Between the Concrete & Clouds, and this was one of the one-off shows the band had in between opening for Brand New, and just before his residency out in California. Devine had a bit of a cold and was hopped up on medicine, so he apologized if he seemed out of it and if his answers didn't make sense. But it turned out to be a very informative interview where we talked about the upcoming album, which comes out on September 13, what happens to him when he writes and records a new album and his thoughts on the "resurgence" of vinyl:

A Brief Intermission: The last time I talked to you, I think it was the last, one-off question, and I didn’t think I’d get an answer from this, you said there was a rap song that was going to be between you and Andy Hull. I never heard it if there was one.

Kevin Devine: Favorite Gentlemen sent it out as an incentive, like a bonus track thing for Bad Books. I think it was… Maybe it got sent out… I feel like it was around the ‘Stuffing Concert’ last year. They sent it to people who signed up on the mailing list or pre-ordered the record. It was some incentivized thing where if you did ‘X,’ you got ‘Y.’ ‘Y’ being ‘Thanklin’ Franklin’’

ABI: I wish I got on that.

KD: I’m sure you could probably find it if you, uh… I’m sure there are places on the internet. I don’t want to encourage illegal search and seizure. But there are places where you could find it.

ABI: What was the song?

KD: It’s a ridiculous song. It’s called ‘Thanklin’ Franklin.’’ There’s another one that never did come out, though, that was like this weird loop that [Chris] Freeman made and I’m just rapping and freestyling, Busta Rhymes kind of thing.

ABI: Can you freestyle well?

KD: Um, for a guy who’s not supposed to be doing it, I do it okay. There are no heavy-hitting rap acts that are quaking in their boots about my abilities.

ABI: There was something about you talking about your Jay-Z presence onstage…

KD: [Laughing] Is there really?

ABI: There was something where you said something about, or discussing your Jay-Z presence

KD: There must be something because some kid last night, actually, came up and talked to me and was really curious about my feelings about hip-hop. I mean, he just kept throwing up ‘the rock’ sign the whole show. I guess I’m on record.

ABI: You’re in with the Jay-Z family.

KD: I would love to be in with the Jay-Z family. If he comes calling, I’m not going to tell him to lose my number.

AB: Well, shifting to more serious things, Brother’s Blood, an amazing record, certainly, in terms of success and you’re evolving songwriting, how has life been since then? Did it affect your writing process now coming off of that?

KD: Well, I think that it is a door opening record in a lot of respects. Creatively, and to an extent, commercially, as much as you can use that word in connection with someone like me, and to an extent in terms of mounting our first full U.S. headlining tour, in terms of playing at Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo and Bamboozle, and getting it released internationally, which we’ve done before, but in the U.K. for the first time, which we’ve never done. I think it’s a step up qualitatively. I think it’s a better record than the one prior. I’ve always liked each record more than the one prior. I, in fact, do know that not everyone else will agree with that, but I’ve felt that way. And I think as long as you feel that way, you’re O.K., because otherwise that means you didn’t do it well enough as it should be. If you don’t like it more than the thing you just did then it’s a problem.

ABI: It’s funny to hear people say that.

KD: And I might do that in retrospect. There’s things certainly on Make the Clocks Move, and Split the Country, Split the Street I late am like, ‘Eh, I don’t know.’ But, you know, at the time it was as good as I could do it for whatever reason. Anyways, I think Brother’s Blood was a real jump forward in a lot of ways but I also think it’s not like I’ve made Nevermind and our band became the biggest thing. Our band became a slightly bigger indie rock band. I became like a slightly-to-moderately better known figure in the independent music community. So it didn’t upend my life in anyway. Things are different in terms of I notice we get asked to do… this is a closed-campus show for people only at this school.

ABI: Which sucks.

KD: Which… well, yeah. But even if only 50 people come to this show, the fact that we get asked to come and headline shows like this is different than three or four years ago. The fact that we get asked to do the festivals, the fact that I have as frequent a dialogue with the independent music press, and sometimes with the mainstream press, there’s definitely stuff that’s changed. But it’s not like I’m sitting here going, ‘Well, how do I do that? How am I going to write ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ again?’ Because, you know, the record sold like 10,000 copies. Which is, in the current climate, amazing, because I think it’s something like two percent of released music sells more than 5,000 copies. So we’re doing, in one respect great, but we’re not taking over the world. With writing a new record, the first thing we have to realize is we don’t write that song every time. ‘Brother’s Blood’ is like a 9-minute, even on its own, and when its 3 ½ minutes when it’s the folk-y version, that song is a very specific thing .And if I was sitting there trying to copy it or make another, I don’t think so. And, you know, I think that record is about more than just that song, anyways. But I think that once I got out of my head that I had to… I mean, I realized that I didn’t have to write anything. Just write what comes out. And the record we made, again, I like it more than Brothers Blood. Things that I would change about Brother’s Blood in retrospect is… well, not what I would change about that record. What I wanted to do on a record moving forward was make something that pertained to the fanatic depth and density of that record both musically and lyrically while condensing it into 10 four minute pop songs…

ABI: It’s an interesting point, though, that you would say not something you would change about that record. I think it’s a pretty good point. Not something that you want to change but something you want to do for the record after because that was the record you made at that time.

KD: Exactly, and you make the record you make when you make it because that’s what you do at that time. I can’t… I don’t believe in regretting, Oh, if only this had happened and that had happened,’ because I don’t think we made an unsuccessful major label record when we put out Put Your Ghost to Rest. I think I happened to be there at exactly the wrong time to be on that label. I think we made a record that had some really nice songs. I think I made a record that was me. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, well now that I’m on Capitol so this has to sound like John Mayer.’ I think that record sounds like me but I think its… there were a couple of songs on that record that given the right push could have found some kind of audience of people might not typically find my music. But the label fell apart. And me and 60 other bands got dropped. If I sit around thinking about like, ‘Well, why didn’t I write a more pop oriented record?’ It didn’t have anything to do with that. It didn’t have anything to do with anything. It had to do with like Wall Street and Excel spreadsheets with people’s numerical value to a parent company. It didn’t have anything to do with music. So, with this record, I feel excited. It’s the first record I’ve ever made where the whole record is with the band. There’s no… Even Brother’s Blood had three songs that were just me and a guitar. This record does not have any of that. It’s not some Mastodon record. But there are some heavy songs and there are some lighter songs, but there’s always other stuff going on.

ABI: Well, I read in an interview that you did with Property of Zach, that it wasn’t done live like Brother’s Blood. You said that you did love it and you liked doing it, so do you prefer that over live or is it just doing something different?

KD: I think most of the caveat there is that it wasn’t like Brother’s Blood was live-live, but I think it was seven of the 11 songs on the record, the bulk of what you hear: the drum track, the bass track, probably a couple of the guitars, because we had three electric guitar players on that record, and some of the keys. For seven of those songs, the guts of it, were done live. My vocals I did later on my own and some things like the guitar lead and some of the keyboard stuff were done as overdubs. But there was a good 70 percent of the record that was six guys in a room playing and press record. I did like that. But this wasn’t like we built it in a laboratory. Everyone who was performing performed their part live but we’re doing it in a slightly different way where we’re learning songs at different speeds and as their schedules allowed. So it couldn’t have been that way. Some people were writing parts as they were recording their parts. So, you know, I think there’s something to be said for both. That record, Brother’s Blood, by the time we got in there we were pretty sure of 90 percent of what was going to happen. This record, once we knew the basic chords and our drummer Mike knew what he was going to play, almost literally everything else was written with everyone individually listening to my acoustic demos or in the actually basement of Chris’s [Bracco] house like, ‘What if this worked?’ ‘Oh, that would be great.’ So, I think the thing with a record like that is that it’s probably going to change so much over the course of playing it live. But so do all of my songs.

ABI: That’s the beauty of it, though.

KD: Well, I hope so. I think it’s probably frustrating for some people because they like to come and hear the record. But I don’t like doing that.

ABI: Well, what are your thoughts on that? When you go see a band, do you want to hear the record? I know that sometimes when you see Coheed and Cambria, you can hear just the straight record.

KD: I get it. And with me, no disrespect to them or anyone that does that, I think some music lends itself better to that. I don’t know that I want to go see… I’m a huge Bob Dylan fan. I’ve seen him play twice and I really enjoyed it. It would be like watching Stravinsky direct ‘Rites of Spring.’ I mean, he’s a treasure, so I more like watching him and thinking who knows if I’ll ever get to see this guy again? So it’s more special to me to see him be the artist that he is. But I also know that I’ve seen him play and he’s five minutes into a song and I’m like, ‘What song is this?’ and then realize it’s ‘Times They Are A Changin’.’ It’s like a song that’s like National Anthem or something and he’s playing it like a calypso in waltz time, he’s playing keyboards and the keys change, I appreciate that freedom, but I don’t know if I want to watch that. But I think taking liberties with your vocal inflection, with the lyrics, with the timing, with the tempo or with an arrangement. Maybe one tour you want to try something out where there’s a trumpet part where there wasn’t a trumpet part before. To me, I love going to see a band when they do stuff like that. But I think the pre-requisite for that is the band has to know… you have to be good. You have to know how to play the song well enough as it was originally consisted to be able to blow it out in different directions. And I understand why there are people who don’t want to see that because I think for a lot of people, music is more of a casual experience for them. They’re there to…

ABI: Be entertained?

KD: Yeah, or have someone to listen to while they drink a couple of beers and talk to their friend. And I’m that person sometimes, too. But, yeah, I dig it when bands do that.

ABI: Going towards the new record, from what I heard in the title track, it sounds like, and not to say Brother’s Blood wasn’t by any means, but it seems a little bit darker. And you like to go off on a lot more solos. Can we expect that from this new album?

KD: There are some songs on there that I guess are. It’s a key thing. I think when you write in a minor key it sounds sadder, angrier, darker…

ABI: Well, lyrically it wasn’t, but certainly in the music it was.

KD: Yeah, and I think Brother’s Blood is probably the darkest sounding record I’ve made till that point because there were probably seven songs in a minor key. The major key just sounds more like uplift and the minor key sounds like deflation, or not deflation, but there’s something about it that has that bitter sweetness to it. I think, for me, with the new record, the title song is a bit more probing about religion, God, how you grow up and will those things sit in your life, whether they should sit in your life. And, to me, that music and that lyric just felt right together. Serious I guess is a good word for it. It’s not a playful subject. But there’s also stuff on the record that’s very… there are choruses. I don’t have a ton of songs with choruses.

ABI: Well, I think what you said in the interview is you rock out hard during the verses with some really chaotic ones and then the choruses…

KD: Well, even if the intensity stays up… I actually mean just in the structure. Songwriting, structure-wise, I’ve always been someone who’s kind of been… what’s the right word for it? Disinterested in traditional structure and not worried about how there has to be a hook, it has to go verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/ verse/chorus. But I think on this record it was more how do I keep the things I like about songwriting that’s a little less structured that way while also playing with the idea of having clear cut choruses. I wanted to make a record like Is This It? by The Strokes or like a Ramones record. I wanted to make a record that was over in 40 minutes and that when it’s over you want it to start again. But I wanted to make that record that also still had depth and meaningful. And it’s still moody and there are dronier parts, and slower parts, and faster parts, and funkier parts, and folkier parts, and spacier parts. There’s a couple things that are like Beatles-y, not psychedelic but there’s a couple of jangly things like R.E.M. I wanted to make something that’s really listenable but that still dealt with the things I tend to deal with in my music. And that’s how it came out… I hope. That’s how I think it came out but we’ll see if other people agree.

ABI: When you listen to some people when it comes to writing a record, for example, Thom Yorke talks about how writing a record almost destroys him. For you, how do you find writing a record? Do you think it’s a fun journey to go through or you find it sometimes there’s a lot of anxiety built up and a lot of stress?

KD: I think it’s all of those things. I get obsessed with it. We had to kind of make a pointed effort to no to… because I get in there and I don’t want to stop and I wrote the record largely alone in my rehearsal space in Brooklyn. I would go there, my girlfriend would go to work, I was home from the Thrice touring, I was home from all the Brother’s Blood touring, and I pretty much knew I was going to be home. So, the record kind of got written more as a way to keep active and be like, ‘Well, this is what I do, I’m a musician.’ And I knew the Bad Books record was done and that was going to come out, but I had some time home before that was going to go. So I would go to the studio and I would go there for six hours every day and just fuck around until something happened, or if I had an idea that has been lying around. I had written a couple of structures of two songs while I was on tour with Nada Surf in Europe after the Thrice thing. So, there were these things, these pieces, and then I ended up making 15 songs between August 30th and January 25th or so…

ABI: Very specific…

KD: Yeah, I know. Well, the songs were initially titled the dates on which they were written, which one of them will still be that because I couldn’t come up with a better one. 11/17. I would be alone in the room and would know I have to be home by seven o’clock because she was going to be off of work and I should be back to have dinner, or do something else like see my family, see my friends or whatever. But if I get going, you honor that. That’s the most important thing. If I was in the middle of something good I was like, ‘Sorry, I have to get this out.’ And then you start demoing with the band and then you go make the actual record. We made the record over four weekends in February in Connecticut from 7 p.m. Friday night to 11 p.m. Sunday night. I would forget to return my phone calls, I would forget to look at the phone at all, I would not want to take a shower and I would forget eating. You’re in this place where that’s the only thing and I would think about it all week.

ABI: Is that enjoyable for you or...?

KD: It’s both. It’s enjoyable for me but it’s probably not a recipe for a really successful personal life. You have to accountable to people in certain relationships you’re going to have whether it’s family or a partner. People aren’t stoked about you checking-the-fuck out for 72 hours at a time. They know I’m not on some bender or they know I’m not doing drugs in some flop house so they’re okay with that. The thing that I’ve always found stressful or confusing about it is balancing the responsibility you have to your artistic muse, for lack of a less embarrassing phrase, and the responsibility you have to having people in your life. It’s a push and pull. And when I go on tour… we’re only two days out and it’s a three day trip. By the van ride up here it was like I was in the middle of a two month tour. I didn’t give a shit if I never saw anybody again because you get in a bubble, you’re doing your thing and you’re around five other people and there’s a mission. We got to go to this place, we’ve got to play this show, we’ve got to do this interview and that’s enough to consume your brain without your entire social network at home. Is it enjoyable? It is enjoyable. It’s what I want to do more than anything else with my time. Is it also obsessive? Totally, but I also know that there are levels of obsession, too. It’s not like I’m Brian Wilson and have to be hospitalized after I try to make a record because I go so deep into myself that I lose my fucking mind. I’m constantly someone who’s picking at himself and probing a little bit, so it’s not like it’s significantly more or less when I’m making a record. I’m sort of somebody who’s not really good at getting to a quiet mind anyway, so at least when I’m doing that I’m productive and focused.

ABI: One thing that’s been kind of my obsession lately is reading all things LCD Sondsystem and one thing James Murphy said is everything is in his head and he doesn’t write anything down. Do you have that same sort of style or do you have to write anything down?

KD: I don’t write anything down. I mean, I write down the lyrics. I’m not Jay-Z. I don’t write down chords, or this is where that lead happens or this is where the drums should come in. I hear it and then when playing with the band, sometimes you’ll hear it wrong and they will do something where you’re like, ‘Oh.’ Every band has got to have a guy who’s doing what James Murphy does or in our band, what I do, or in Bright Eyes, what Connor [Oberst] does. The guy who’s kind of where the buck stops, but even though it’s slightly different people, I think the last two records, the thing that’s been a real significant shift, if I wasn’t ten years into building a career as ‘Kevin Devine’ I would consider some way to make it more obvious to the rest of the world that it’s become… it’s not like a band-band but it’s more close to that than anything. Actually, in some ways, it’s more like a band-band than it isn’t because what bands don’t want you to know is that all bands are ultimately a guy who does that. Our band’s really healthy because everything is really clear and open about how it works, and a lot bands are really unhealthy because everyone thinks they’re pulling your weight and that one guy’s head is this big about it. That’s not the case with us. I can hear the suggestions and when something is better… to me it’s like ‘Beat the Part.’ If someone has something better than why wouldn’t you want your songs to be better? I’m responsible for writing songs because I want to do it. I hear things a certain way like arrangements, I hear pieces and parts but if other people have pieces and parts that improve the quality of that, not only am I open to that, it is encouraged. I want people to know how good the band is. It’s a little tricky with me because I’ve played with fucking 16 people. If you look at every record I’ve made, but there’s some constants. If you’ve seen me on tour, you’ve seen me play with six different people every time. But yeah, I don’t write stuff down but I definitely have a system in my head that works that if someone else tries to file through it, they might not.

ABI: One thing I noticed about you is that you have this vulnerability to you that shows through your lyrics. How important do you think that is to, weird thing to say, but the Kevin Devine brand?

KD: No, I know exactly what you mean. It’s naive to act like it’s not. You do something in public and you sell it at some point. That word is absolutely appropriate. [On vulnerability in his music] It’s probably more important than I’d like it to be. I think it’s nice that people think I’m a really nice guy and I think it’s nice that people think my songs are full of feeling, but I also want them to be good because there’s a of music that’s full of feeling that’s bad. And there are a lot of people who are really nice that make really bad art. I don’t believe in being an asshole to people when I can help it and I don’t believe in writing things that are more detached or less sincere because that’s what people think is cool. I’m going to be who I am. The people that I love who have always been pretty naked with their feelings or who’s music can be perceived as naked emotionally are probably a lot more complicated. I don’t think Elliot Smith is… I think there’s a lot more going on in that guys lyrics than I’m sad. I think there’s a lot more going on in Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Pavement, Sonic Youth, Built to Spill, Modest Mouse. The things I love, even when it is an expression of a pure feeling or there is a vulnerability to it, I think vulnerability for vulnerabilities sake is boring. Vulnerability as a way to get to the fact these are real feelings are about what real people feel like, vulnerability is not pretty. Real vulnerability is something that we’re kind of told not to show each other because it could be perceived as weakness or it can be perceived as something to take advantage of. Real vulnerability proves to me that you’re alive and you’re a person. The world is confusing and constant and overwhelming and it’s also really beautiful but it’s also really fucked up. Life is not plain. It’s not one or another. It’s all kinds of things at the same time. I wouldn’t want to be invulnerable to that reality because I think that’s being impersonal, and intellectually and unemotionally dishonest with people, too. When I’m writing songs, I’m not thinking like, ‘I better come up with the right line that’s really gonna let them know how much I get how hard it is.’ I’m just writing. And sometimes I’m writing about me and sometimes I’m writing about something that has nothing to do with me.

ABI: Now I know I’m a fan of this, though it can be quite costly, you’re releasing 7-inches and I know with the new album there will be a vinyl release, there seems to be this resurgence in vinyl. I know if you’re a music fan, it’s cool to collect these things. What do you think of this resurgence?

KD: It’s really weird to me that it’s considered a ‘resurgence.’ It is, but I think it speaks to the condition of the music business, because where I come from, which is like hardcore shows, emo in the mid-90’s went that meant something profoundly different and it devolved, indie rock, punk rock, shows at VFW halls, shows always had a 7-inch or a 12-inch copy or a 10-inch EP. I think, for me, with the exception of Circle Gets the Square, I think every record has had vinyl. In Europe, before the states, there’s a Make the Clocks Move with the vinyl pressing in 2004, Miracle of 86’s last record [Kevin Kolanowski] got pressed on vinyl, all of Miracle of 86’s earlier music was pressed on 7” split singles with other bands. It was almost like you had to have vinyl in order to be part of the scene when I was a 15-year-old kid. So, to me, it’s just always been, ‘Who’s going to print the vinyl of the record?’It’s been weirder when we didn’t, so to have it be categorized as a ‘resurgence,’ I think what it speaks more to is the fact that the music industry is looking for anything they can to kind of ground themselves and turn a profit. They’re not really selling enough CD’s, they’re not really making enough money off of Mp3’s and vinyl is a physical product, and it’s a niche market, but there are collectors who will steadily buy that product. I think it’s great, I think vinyl is beautiful, it looks great, it sounds great, I like the artwork, I like the fact that you can now buy it and get a digital download card and have this pretty big artifact, but also be able to listen to it on your IPod. That’s not how I have perceived it.

ABI: I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way…

KD: I didn’t even know it did. I knew it did from the ‘70’s when that was how music sold, when they were selling 10 million copies of vinyl’s, but to me, vinyl has been a staple of underground music and indie rock culture since I got into, which was 1993.

ABI: I guess I should say it never went away, but now every band…

KD: I totally understand. I totally know what you mean. I’m not taking issue with the question. I’m sure saying that it’s funny that it’s true because it’s totally something I’m oblivious to.

ABI: I love talking to other musicians about this, and I’ve talked at length about it, just the feeling of having the physical copy…

KD: Yeah, the tactility of it.

ABI: And also the waiting. The waiting you go through and then reading through the lyrics and the liner notes…

KD: Yeah, and having to turn it over…

ABI: Do you feel that’s kind of been lost of just going through the physical copy?

KD: The anticipation?

ABI: Well the anticipation and just going through the album when you listen to it…

KD: We have a van rented for these shows that doesn’t have an auxiliary input for your IPod, so I have boxes of CD’s in my car that we brought on this trip and we actually listen to the whole Face the Truth by Stephen Malkamus record, the whole first Clash record… and it was like, ‘Oh, remember when you used to listen to a whole record?’ Because even in the van on tour, you put your IPod on shuffle and you drive for eight hours. I grew up still doing that, I was the pre-shuffle-and-still-make-your-physical-mix-tape. And I think people started making albums intentionally less focused on “the album.” The album is kind of an antiquated concept. There is a physicality thrust to it, but, I don’t know. I try not to let myself get… Those are things I can’t control the cultural experience, I can only control my experience. I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else. Sometimes I just want to hear a song, sometimes I just want it to be easy and I just press the space bar on my computer and I’m not sitting down in my living room with a dim light on, with a vinyl on while burning… Sometimes it’s just background.

ABI: You seem to be pretty in tune with politics…

KD: Probably less than I have been in a little while, but to some extent.

ABI: Just the current political climate, does it affect your music at all when it comes to writing lyrics?

KD: I think that the new record is less overtly political than some of the songs on Brother’s Blood. But I don’t think it’s apolitical, I think if you’re alive right now and you were writing honestly about people, even if songs sound like love songs, they’re political songs because everything right now is invested with such heaviness. It’s a heavy time to be a person. I’m sure it all seeps in through osmosis. There’s a song on the record called “I Used To Be Someone,” it’s the last song on the record, and it’s almost like an epitaph kind of a song. I think most of the stuff I write about politics is observational more than it is supposed to be inspiring someone to protest. Not that I don’t believe in those things, I do, but I don’t know if that’s the kind of songwriter I am. That’s not to say it doesn’t probably have that impact on people, and that’s really wonderful if it does, but that’s not the point. It’s more like watching and commenting. And there’s a song on the new record that I feel like the the first half of it is in some sense more political than ‘Another Bag Of Bones,’ but it’s not going to be heard that way. I think the world is the world and I’m me and I have to figure how to be a person of conscience and a person trying to live a life and not being petrified constantly by how scary it is. And I think that’s how most people’s lives are unless you just totally tune it out. Could I be more engage and more activist oriented? Way more, but it’s not where I am right now. I think there’s plenty in this record that’s impacted by what’s going on in the world around me and there’s also plenty that’s impacted by what’s going on in the world in here and there’s also stuff that’s stories you’re kind of kicking out of the air and making up. I think all of my songs are about people. They’re all about why we do what we do and I think why we do what we do is affected by big things and little things. So, if you’re living in the world right now, there are plenty of big things to affect why you do what you do. I guess in that way, yeah, it does affect the songs.

ABI: Is there any type of record, looking to the future, is there a record you’ve been dying to make or just haven’t made? Just messing with some sort of style or different arrangements?

KD: I feel like we push out enough on every record towards thing we haven’t done prior to incorporate some of the things I felt more like, “Oh, it would be cool to try that.” I love LCD Soundsystem, too, but I don’t know I want to make an LCD Soundsystem record. And we’ve dabbled, like I did a cover of a Manchester Orchestra song that we turned into a little bit of a dance/pop song. We’ve had some remixes of our music that have moved in that direction a little bit. I like that; I think that’s really cool. I have toyed with the idea of making a record that was just me and our producer Chris [Bracco] and me kind of doing stuff that would be more digital instrumentation. Then you say that and everyone is like, ‘Oh, so a Postal Service record?’ And you’re like, ‘Yeah, right. I guess.’ I don’t want to make that. I’ve never made what I would consider to be a proper folk record. People classify me as that and I feel like when meet real folk musicians I feel super embarrassed to say, ‘I don’t think that’s what I make. I don’t think I play that way.’ I have aspects, tips of the iceberg of folk music and country music in some of what I write, but to call it folk music or country music is a disservice to actual country musicians and folk musicians. I would like to make a record sometime that was more traditionally that but, you know, I think it would be also cool to make a punk rock record and I think it would be kind of cool to make something that would be a little more orchestral. But I think we make little versions of all of those records, every little gesture towards those styles, every time. There is even a couple moments of this record that are like Sigur Ros or something like that you could consider cinematic. That’s not music that I think when I’m sitting and playing songs on my acoustic guitar, I’m not thinking about making something like that. You do it long enough you find interesting ways to bend the formula. I don’t want to make the same record every time, so whatever record I want to make next is the one I’ll make. But in terms of a pure genre exercise, maybe making a dance record, a punk record, a folk record, maybe it would be fun to do all those things but I’m not burning up to do that. I’m just…

ABI: Whatever comes out on the record is on the record?

KD: Yeah. Writing songs and treating them accordingly.


  1. excellent interview, fellas :)

  2. Thanks! But all Beam on this one, I can't take any credit beside just being at the show.