INTERVIEW: Kurt Vile On Creating Mojo In the Studio and How Being a Dad Influences His Career Path

Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

The current issue of Philly Mag is filled to the brim with conversations from 50 of the city’s most intriguing movers and shakers—from politicians to gossip mongers to celebrity chefs. It goes without saying, then, that it wouldn’t be complete without a chat with Philly’s most-buzzed about musician, Kurt Vile.

Here are some snippets of our chat, where he shares secrets about his creative process and staying true to his indie roots while “doing whatever I can … to be more of a success career-wise and financially.” You can read the rest here.

PHILLY MAG: When does the process for creating a new album begin?

KURT: I’m always creating — at least writing. One thing ricochets off the other. There comes a time where you’ve accumulated a bunch of songs and it’s time to make a new record. Then you go out on the road and perform it. That music takes on a life of its own, because you play it differently every night.

PM: Sounds like you find most of your inspiration on the road.

KURT: Not necessarily. The stuff I write on the road is more universal. There are other times, like when I visit my parents — they live in the suburbs, but compared to where I live in Northern Liberties, it’s like the country. There, I can tap into playing acoustic or banjo in their backyard. Then there’s when I’m in the studio, coming close to a deadline. I feel like some of my best work comes out of that, when all of a sudden you can fill in any blanks, music-wise or lyric-wise, on the fly, because you have your mojo going.

PM: How important is your environment?

KURT: I’m constantly shooting to build a cooler vibe in my studio. I just got back from tour and cleaned it up. I put down this cool Oriental carpet next to the piano. I like lights. The room can’t have bad lighting or be dim. I like to look around and see vintage gear: analog synths with multicolored buttons, lots of vintage guitars and pedals, a random picture of Bob Dylan in his Christian phase.

PM: Has your process evolved since you began putting out music?

KURT: I strived to be on a label that would pay me to go in a studio and put out my shit for real. I have that now, but I feel pressure in a different way than I did before. That’s part of becoming an adult and having a family.

Read the rest of the interview here. This article was riginally published in the November 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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