Of Montreal [Twiropa, June 2005]

By all accounts, Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes is a child making music for adults.  Well, not in the literal sense, but his music has always had a gorgeously childlike amazement and hyperactivity to it.  Of Montreal’s newest record, The Sunlandic Twins, finds Barnes shifting from Beach Boys-esque pop to the dance floor ready sounds of Brian Eno.  The last twelve months have been very eventful for the Athens, GA, based Barnes.  In addition to writing, recording, and releasing the ninety third Of Montreal album in the last five years (only a slight exaggeration), his wife gave birth to their first daughter, Alabee, last summer in Oslo, Norway, his wife’s homeland, where the weather is pleasant, the women beautiful, and the medicine socialized.  Barnes and his band of merry pranksters have been on the road almost non-stop since the release of The Sunlandic Twins, including two shows in Baton Rouge (why?) and one here in the good ole Crescent City.  Also on the bill are twee-poppers Tilly and the Wall and National Parking (based in New Orleans) recording artists The Teeth.  Antigravity used a few of the proud father’s daytime minutes to chat about kids, dance parties, and hip-hop.

?:  Hey, Kevin?
A:  Hey!
?:  How are you doing, man?
A:  Good!
?:  Where are you guys right now?
A:  We’re on our way to Little Rock, Arkansas.
?:  How’s the tour been so far?
A:  Oh, it’s been great.  We did a month on the East Coast, then in the Midwest.
?:  How have the crowds been reacting to the new material?
A:  Oh, they’ve been freaking out.  It’s been great.  Everyone’s just been super-enthusiastic.  It’s like a crazy dance party every night.
?:  Speaking of which, what led to this new electronic Of Montreal?
A:  Well, you know, I just wanted to do something different because, well, I guess after we recorded the last record, the time off made me realize  that I needed to start making something different.
?:   What had you been listening to?
A:  Some more hip-hop stuff like Pharrell, Jay-Z, Outkast.
?:  So the new record has more quiet songs on it, it’s got a definite downbeat to it…
A:  I dunno, I didn’t really think that the record was quiet.
?:  Well, maybe not quieter, but as far as songs like “Oslo in the Summertime” are concerned, there’s a definite tempo change and everything feels a bit more relaxed.
A:  Oh yeah, yeah, it’s definitely moodier, yeah.  I guess like, as far as…I wanted to…yeah, I don’t really know (laughs).  It’s guess it’s just kind of an organic process.
?:  Has the domestic life changed you or your songwriting at all?
No, not at all (laughs).  It’s amazing, I mean it’s so great, it’s definitely so great.
?:  Do you play your records for her?
A:  No, not yet.  I mean, right now, we’re just sort of playing her classical music because of the connections it has in the brain cells; you need to play a lot of classical music.  But lately we’ve been playing lots of different stuff.  She likes Lee “Scratch” Perry a lot.
?:  Who are your biggest musical influences?
A:  Well it changes a lot.  In the beginning, I’d say Brian Wilson, Ray Davies, you know, Paul, John.  But, as of late, it’s probably been more like David Bowie and Brian Eno.
?:  How about outside of the realm of music?  Which cartoons or children’s books most influenced you?
A:  Hmm.  I’d have to say, maybe like Roald Dahl.

That’s right.  The man who released an album called Horse and Elephant Eatery (No Elephants Allowed) is a fan of Willie Wonka.


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