Family Man Kurt Vile Seeks "Deep and Epic" Sound
At first glance, Kurt Vile seems like your typical scraggly-haired, Southern-bred stoner rocker. In reality, however, he's a responsible family man and a focused businessman. He doesn't really smoke pot, and he's not even from the South.
While his sound may be inspired by the folk tunes of the Deep South, Vile is actually a bona fide city kid, raised in Philadelphia. (Turns out, that trademark drawl in his songs isn't nearly as pronounced in regular conversation.)
Earlier this year, Vile released his fifth album, Wakin On a Pretty Daze, whose hazy, psychedelic lo-fi sound is consummate Kurt Vile. His vision for the record was loftier than his past efforts, though.
"I definitely had some kind of epic theme going," he explains, considering his catalog. "I was excited to take that even further with Wakin. I wanted it to be a deep and epic record."
Wakin is "epic" in the sense that it's an ambitious 70-minute double LP.
"It was an obsessive journey," Vile continues. "I usually get deep into my records, and figure out the themes as I go."
Vile is otherworldly, yet amazingly focused. A father of two, he's a dedicated family man, at heart. He happily accepts the sole duty of bringing home the bacon, and takes advantage of certain business offers to do so. He coolly dismisses others' judgments of such decisions, like licensing his songs for advertisements. Besides, to Vile, "selling out" is an archaic idea.
"It's all art," he says, of music vs. money. "But, the business side of music is making the right decisions, playing the right gigs, getting the right deals."
One of Vile's "right deals" was licensing his song, "Baby's Arms," for a Bank of America commercial. He received some heat for it, most publicly from Titus Andronicus' Patrick Stickles, who denounced Vile's move via Twitter. Vile, though, shrugged it off. "I never cared about that sorta thing," he responded to Stickles.
He is wholly invested in his art (and business), but Vile's every move is made with his family in mind.
"It's a struggle," he says of balancing family with rock stardom, which often requires him to tour for months at a time. "But it's so meaningful to figure out. My family gives more meaning to my life."
Interview continues on the next page.