Friday, June 26, 2009
2008-12-01 - PiX
The world that is Of Montreal is a strange and beautiful one. The brainchild of the fabulously extravagant Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal is the sort of band you have a relationship with- that forces you to think and has the power to make you both happy and sad. Over the years Barnes’ theatrical and dream-like performances have made him an icon of underground pop. He’s performed from atop a white horse at New York’s Roseland Ballroom- he’s formed a band (Blikk Fang) with MGMT’s Andrew Van Wyngarden- he’s even played entire shows as his alter ego- a middle-aged, sharp-tongued, transgender black man. The beauty of it is, you never know what’s next.
Released in October of this year, Of Montreal’s most recent album, Skeletal Lamping, is his ninth record to date. Full of odd transitions, complex structures, and unpredictable twists and turns, Skeletal Lamping is a record that explores and liberates the idea of ‘pop.’ The P.i.X. caught up with Kevin while he was on tour of the states to ask him some questions about himself and about his most personal record to date.
The P.i.X: Having performed with a band for so many years now, why do you continue to write music solely on your own?
Of Montreal: I prefer it. I enjoy the challenge of creating songs one instrument at a time. It's very fulfilling. I don't like the amount of compromising that goes into collaborations. I prefer to be the only cook in the kitchen.
The P.i.X: You play a lot of covers live. What do you like about it?
It's interesting to dissect someone else's song. It's also just fun to perform covers live because it's usually a surprise for the audience. It's exciting to get to pretend to be a different vocalist sometimes.
The P.i.X: Where do you feel most at home- writing, recording, or playing live?
Definitely writing and recording. I am able to disappear into my own dimension and escape from the outside world. It gives me a sense of balance and validity.
The P.i.X: How does Skeletal Lamping differ from your other albums? What were you thinking about when you made it?
Skeletal Lamping is probably the most confessional and personal record that I've ever made. It's just more abstract. I go through different phases. Sometimes I want to write the perfect pop song- I want to make something that's really catchy and immediate. But as of late, I've been thinking more about creating these fragmented little compositions and then piecing them together in a way that's unpredictable and exciting.
The P.i.X: Is your approach and view of writing music the same as it was ten years ago? Do you think of writing music as a day job?
Luckily, I get the same fulfillment out of recording and writing now that I did when I first discovered music. I love the process of composing music. It is definitely the thing I enjoy the most in life.
The P.i.X: How would you like to be remembered?
As a centaur.