Last month we interviewed Big Deal. They left these questions behind for Kurt Vile.



We really love your new record, ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’, as well as ‘Childish Prodigy’ [2009], which were both recorded at proper studios. You’ve also done a lot of recording on your own, so what was the transition like for you, and do you prefer one over the other?

“Well… ok… the transition, like most of my career was very, what’s the word?, organic! I started out DIY, of course, because it was the only way I could do, so I recorded at home and I self-released my own stuff. Then I had small labels put out my stuff, all of which still didn’t give me any money. The song ‘Freeway’ I did record in a proper studio, and I saved up for that myself, and that was me wanting to go into the studio. Our shows were then getting tighter and more rock’n’roll, so I went to a local guy called Jeff Zeigler who did ‘Childish Prodigy’ on his 16-track, 1-inch reel-to-reel – he’s got great gear; it’s not top of the line but it’s by no means low grade. So that was another step, still with no producer, so it still had a DIY punk edge. And then once I got Matador interested in that record, they wanted me to go in with a real producer, but I wanted to as well because I was kinda exhausted. I’d say that it depends on the producer though, and how they are as people – it’s not just about the fidelity. So here I am now and I love it. To tell you the truth, for now, I prefer recording in the studio. It’s akin to a lot of my influences, and for them it was never an issue because people always used to make records in a studio.”

Books on tour: Lord of the Flies or Lord of the Rings?

“I’d say Lord of The Flies, but only to reference my song ‘On Tour’. It’s funny that you mention both though. [In my song] it’s a reference to the fact that your band is your island and you’re ready to kill each other, but just today we were watching that Lord of The Rings parody of the end scene [see it at], y’know when they’re blown out after the war and they’re all jumping in bed together and smiling at each other with these really creepy smiles, and they’re rocking and making sexual noises at each other. You know the one I’m talking about? It’s really, really funny.

You’ve done a few tours of the UK and loads of the States. I [Kacey] think tour treats blow over here (although you can drink beer in the car, if you’re not driving, which is what we are doing now). What do you miss when you are away?

I guess in the States, obviously you know what you’re getting into, but I’m pretty laidback so I’ll eat what’s there. I will say though that in Europe, say, for example in a gas station, you can get a quality sandwich. If you get food at a gas station in the States, forget about it. It’ll be crap. So I’d say Europe has points over the US.

It’s always cloudy in London, but, as the TV show says, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Who’s your favourite character?

Y’know what, I’m not much of a TV guy, so I’ll say Danny DeVito, because I liked him in Twins.

Now that you’ve done UK tours before, what was it that you were looking forward to when you were here last week?

II’s an obvious answer, but this time around the shows in London and Brighton were sold out, and that’s a big difference. I was very excited. I played a Rough Trade instore and was stoked to do that. People are definitely enthusiastic over in the UK… and I like the English breakfasts… and your kebabs.”

Alice wants to know if it’s true that you’re married. If so, can she come out on tour with you at all? (Your wife…not Alice).

“I’m not only married, I have a one year old daughter now, and when she turned six months old she came to the west coast of the States where I was on tour to hang out. It was cool, and they’ll come to visit when I play San Francisco again. But, y’know, it’s work, so you can’t bring your wife and kids to work every day, but they’re obviously welcome to be around when they can. I probably won’t ever get to Neil Young status, but if I do get to that point, I’ll have a bus or something.”

We read somewhere you are a big Rolling Stones fan. Have you read Keith Richards new memoir?

Oh yeah, of course. It’s a monster of a book. I loved it, but I will say that I’m glad I read the Victor Bockris bio on him first, because it’s very factual and historical and studious, whereas Keith Richards will just blow years in a couple of words, and choose instead to say, [Kurt adopts an loud American English accent] ‘Don’t get me wrong, I love Mike, he’s my brother… but I HATE HIS GUTS!’ He’ll rip into anybody – rip into Bill Wyman. I read [Wyman’s autobiography] Stone Alone too, and it’s literally the most educational Rolling Stones book you could read, because he collected everything. Granted it’s a harder read, because it’s very dry and factual, but it’s so rewarding. With Keith, who’s my hero – like my dark hero – he probably doesn’t remember everything right, so he goes off on these rants, which is totally awesome too.

Is this guy for real?

Keith Richards? Of course he’s for real! He’s Keith Richards! He can’t be anyone else apart from himself. He’s been on a pedestal for all of his life, and for good reason. He’s in an alternate universe to any of us – it’s the way he’s always lived. In some ways you feel for him because he can’t get around as much as us and can’t follow everything that’s going on – like the way he puts down the punk movement in a couple of sentences, like, ‘Once you go out there and start spitting on each other it’s bullshit!’. Y’know, it’s not as simple at that. But, then, he’s a Rolling Stone 365 days a year.

Read our Big Deal interview.

Originally published in issue 28 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. May 2011

« Previous Article
Next Article »