In case you missed it, here's what iconic Matador Records (home at times over the years, need I remind you, to a few artists you may have heard of: Pavement, Guided By Voices, Liz Phair, Belle and Sebastian, Mission of Burma and, now, Sonic Youth) had to say about the recent signing of Kurt Vile to a multi-album deal: "We are really pleased to announce, perhaps more than ever in label history, an addition to the label roster that we consider to be one of the more important figures in American music circa 2009." That's some kinda praise — and it's been well earned, via years of lo-fi home recordings, the best of which was compiled into Vile's acclaimed 2008 Constant Hitmaker, the record that made so many, Matador included, sit up and take notice. They'll release his already long-completed next album Childish Prodigy in autumn 2009. Equally adept at raucous noise rock and shimmering folk-pop, Vile seems to be getting the attention he so richly deserves. I managed to get a few minutes with the Philly prodigy before his late-night Northside set with his band, the Violators.
The L Magazine: It was a few weeks ago that I first heard the Matador announcement of your signing and the level of praise they gave you...
Kurt Vile: That was nice.
The L: Between calling you one of the most important musicians around and saying this was their proudest signing in the history of the label!
KV: Yeah, but they were just being nice.
The L: I remember reading that there was some sort of bidding war with them and Domino and Sub Pop?
KV: Well, all those labels were interested. Sub Pop was the first of the big labels to reach out, and the head of A&R there flew here last summer, and Domino was interested. Matador at first wanted to sign me to a subsidiary, but I was like, "No, I've been sitting on this record. I am waiting for the best." We had been sending stuff to Matador and we knew they were aware of us, but I really wanted to know what they thought, because for me they were the coolest one. I grew up listening to that stuff, like Pavement, so I feel like I can relate most to Matador, and they're right up here in New York.
The L: And all of a sudden they have Sonic Youth too — not too bad sharing a label with them.
KV: Yeah, that's incredible.
The L: Is it nice to kind of have a home?
KV: Totally nice. Dude, it's like music was always my thing and it took me a really long time. I mean, I'm 29, which is still pretty young. But I'm glad, really, because some people make it earlier and it can be too much too soon. But I've done all the blue collar shit, you know? So I am pretty grateful and I'm serious about the music.
The L: The too much, too soon thing is what some people say happened with Wavves.
KV: Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking about. I mean the music buzz world is pretty cruel, and I'm psyched to get good reviews and stuff, but I don't take 'em too seriously. I take the music seriously. And I'm not trying to be super hip or something, I just love music.