When Kurt Vile’s latest album, b’lieve I’m goin down…, was announced, it was accompanied by a biography blurb from none other than Kim Gordon, who described the new record as “all air, weightless, bodyless, but grounded in convincing authenticity.” The two apparently met for the first time back in 2009 at a Dinosaur Jr concert, and stayed in touch ever since — “she appeared at my merch table and I ran over there straight away,” Vile told Dazed magazine, who just published an interview between the two of them. In the conversation, they talk about the record itself, reading music biographies, and a missed encounter with Neil Young. Here’s a choice excerpt:
Kim Gordon: What’s your favourite song on the album?
Kurt Vile: ‘Wheelhouse’, which is kind of meditative. I think that some – OK, all – of the lyrics are darker on this album, but I think my lyrics are always pretty dark. Although I did make a mistake before by saying that my albums were dark, because it’s not like they’re Radiohead or ‘women and children first’ or anything. It’s not total despair, I would just say they’re melancholy.
Kim Gordon: It’s not post-apocalyptic…
Kurt Vile: Yeah, it’s not exactly Marilyn Manson, is it? (laughs) I feel like when I say something sad, I mean it. I guess I’m just realistic. I think I’m smart enough – or I’ve got enough personality – to know that you always need a punchline at the end of it. Nobody wants a complainer.
Kim Gordon: For me, I didn’t really think of the record in terms of darkness. There are melancholy melodies, but I thought the lyrics were especially good and I thought that they were kind of mature, like someone who knows themselves and who is singing about ‘how it is’, but making that sound poetic. I like the way you spit lines and make it work. I don’t mean that in an emo way! (laughs)