I briefly discuss love, inspiration and the supernatural with the Canadian musical genius.
Your latest album goes back to folk roots, do you think you’ll stay this way or keep exploring new genres?
I dunno, all my albums are kind of song based. I usually just begin with the song and then you try to find the right arrangements for it. I’ve always considered myself to be more of a pop song writer, but I guess the kind of pop I’m thinking of isn’t really the kind of stuff they call pop music these days. I’ve got my next album already written but I’m just trying to think what kind of record I want to make.
Your song ‘Imaginary Friends’ talks about friends letting you down, did you ever have an imaginary friend?
Well I was thinking about it more ambiguously. It is more about fair-weather friends, who aren’t there when you need them. But yes, I did have imaginary friends when I was a kid.
Do you still have one?
Umm, yeh, I think I do you know. I always considered God to be kind of an imaginary friend in a way, it’s something that you can’t really see but you can kind of feel it there…ever since I was a kid I would kind of talk to it, you know? So it’s kind of my imaginary friend (laughs).
Your album ‘Retriever’ was dedicated to Elliot Smith and Johnny Cash, because they inspired you- well I presume they inspired you…
Who was the most inspiring person that you’ve met this year?
I meet a lot of great people all the time. That’s a real tough one. Maybe Dawn Kinnard. I’ve really been enjoying hanging out with her. She’s the real deal, a real character.
I don’t know if you’ll agree- but I can really hear the influence of Devendra Banhart in her voice.
I think she’s a fan of his. I’ve just really been enjoying touring. We write together and sing, just been getting to know her and she’s really really cool. I think she’s going places you know.
Do you think it’s harder to find inspiration as you grow older?
No, I mean, I’m writing all the time, and it’s always changing. You’re always in a different place and different things come your way. So it’s just about being kind of ready, ready for it whenever an idea comes your way. But I’m always writing.
Okay, this last one’s for my mum…
Could you ever fall in love with someone who wasn’t musical?
Oh yeah, my ex wife wasn’t musical and we had two kids together and everything. But now I’m in a new relationship my partner is musical.
Does it make a difference?
Well, I think it makes a difference in that she understands my lifestyle more, because I’m away a lot.
It must be quite difficult, if you’re not involved in that.
Yeah, she just went home yesterday. She was touring with me for two weeks, and before that I was gone three or four weeks without seeing her. I like that, I like to be alone you know, it’s nice to have the space. ▪
Interview & Words- Ali Hewson