Bottle It In, banjo, and Billy Joe Shaver: it’s Kurt Vile on For The Record

April 10th 2019

  • Kurt Vile :: Interview with Dan Gordon on For The Record

With eight solo records already under his belt, Kurt Vile – former guitarist for The War On Drugs – is no stranger to the studio or the international touring circuit. Kurt’s latest record Bottle It In was the focus of this week’s For The Record, and Dan Gordon caught up with him ahead of his Australian Tour dates.

Kurt Vile is one of the most celebrated musicians of the past decade. His signature twang, nestled with country roots and indie rock grandeur, serve to showcase Kurt’s deft songwriting album after album. His latest, Bottle It In, is testament to Kurt Vile’s years of experience in making music.

He Told Dan that with every album, he takes a more lax approach to writing songs. Even the album’s epic, loping ode ‘Bassackwards’ was an impromptu creation woven together in a last minute decision in the studio. Spurred from the satisfaction of playing a great show with his band The Violators the previous evening, Kurt said he went into the studio with half the song written, and decided to meld it with the chorus of another piece he was working on at the time.

I had all the verses and I had that Bassackwards sort of chorus idea from another song and then while I was in the studio it clicked and I connected it all: the Bassackwards idea and that refrain and I added it to the song and then next thing you know I was in the studio and Shawn Everett turned on a drum machine real quick and I just sang and played live and I played a couple takes real quick and it became a song.

Although Bassackwards has emerged as the focal point of Bottle It In, Kurt said it’s not actually the track he feels best encapsulates the overarching theme of the record. Instead, it’s the title track. The song and the record share a name because they share the same sentiment.

It’s a song that’s not to be taken lightly – it’s kind of the centrepiece, and it’s also kind of laid back like you could miss it if it didn’t have more significance… I think it’s a song that sums up the sound and the mood of the record in ways.

While Kurt Vile’s sound has consistently been a sort of low fi indie spun with Americana homage, his style changes slightly from album to album depending on the artists he’s listening to at the time.

I’m always inspired by whatever my latest influences are. Whatever artist I’m obsessed with – those influences might creep in in obvious or subliminal ways, but album to album, maybe just a minor amount of styles change… Some of my favourites now are a lot of outlaw guys like Billy Joe Shaver, Waylon Jennings, Willy Nelson and stuff, but they’re the obvious ones, but yeah there’s all kinds of country types that I’m into.

Catch the whole sprawling chat up top, and hear about Kurt’s experience touring with Courtney Barnett, his expertise on strings, and his particular brand of country.


Catch For The Record with Maia Bilyk and Dan Gordon every Wednesday midday – 1.


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