Father John Misty Talks Microdosing, Pop Music, And Being Kind Of Annoying

Father John Misty may be a bit of a pretentious ass sometimes, but hey, at least he’s self-aware about it. “I have a weird, cheap petulance,” Josh Tillman explains in a lengthy new interview with The New York Times. “People hear it, and it fills them with loathing: ‘What kind of [chump] calls himself Father John Misty?’ But when I hear it, it makes me laugh. It never gets old.”

In other words, he gets it. “It’s just too easy to mock this white guy who has clearly read too much and thinks he’s so smart,” he says. “I’m not bamboozled when people don’t like me. I am kind of annoying…I have a pretty good idea of what it looks like on the internet today about me.” He has a theory that he’s “symbolic of a thing white people really hate about themselves. And the fact that I appear to be enjoying it is a bridge too far. It’s like, ‘You should be sitting around, hating yourself on Twitter, like all of us.’ Interpretive thinking, as an art form, is dying. We enjoy the dopamine rush of outrage so much more than the slow-burning nutrition you get from thinking with nuance.”

But he has a definite audience, and “I know who my audience is,” he adds. “Not to say it’s only educated, isolated weirdos who grew up on message boards, and for whom the substance of their life is electronic distraction, but there are a lot of them. I think they get a lot of messaging that their pain is invalid, is inauthentic, and the things in life that are hurtful and make you feel alone are [malarkey] problems, and you can make yourself look sophisticated by constantly laughing.”

Elsewhere in the interview, he discusses his childhood in Rockville, Maryland, where he grew up with devout Pentecostal parents. “Fourth through eighth grade, I was having demons cast out of me, speaking in tongues, and learning Zionist propaganda at a Pentecostal messianic Jewish cult school,” he says. “I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD by three therapists.” But instead of anti-depressants, he self-medicates with micro-doses of LSD: “Acid really helps. I probably shouldn’t talk about this, because Jeff Sessions will come after me.”

In addition to working on his upcoming album Pure Comedy, Tillman has recently spent some time moonlighting as a songwriter for pop stars like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, and you can bet he has something to say about that: “People think the world of music is so great, and it’s just not. It’s so boring, the way music is conceived and then declawed for public consumption.” And the pop machine, he says, “is categorically anti-woman. I know a lot of women in that industry. They were pitched an American narrative about success equaling freedom, when there couldn’t be anything further from the truth.”

Whether you love Father John Misty or you love to hate him, the whole interview is probably worth a read. But I’ll just leave you with one last gem, perhaps the most quintessentially Father John Misty part of the whole thing: “I love the exhilaration of feeling a pull quote come out of your mouth. The words just taste better.”