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The L: Was it weird to get all the attention last year for Constant Hitmaker when it was comprised of songs that, in some cases, you'd done years before?
KV: Well, it was cool because I do a lot of style changes all the time, and that was a chance to compile all these styles in one place — and so the record is kind of all over the place.
The L: Six CD-R's you had put out at that point?
KV: Yeah, and it was mainly from just a few of 'em. "Deep Sea" and "Take My Advice" are from Trial and Error. And the poppier version of "Freeway" goes back to 2006. So yeah, a while ago.And even when I was compiling Constant Hitmaker, I was already working on the new album, Childish Prodigy, which Matador's putting out in the fall. So that's been done. And so people think a lot of this stuff is the current me, but it's way older. But that's ok, I don't care.
The L: So having to wait until the fall to release this album doesn't bother you?
KV: No, that's sooner than you think. And I got a pretty busy summer coming up, and that's not saying I won't be recording new tunes, too. It's been long enough now that I got to put out some other vinyls and stuff.
The L: You mentioned liking to change up styles, and I know some people have written about you as having different personas — a lo-fi folk side, a more pop side, the rock thing with the Violators. Do you see it that way?
KV: It all comes from the same place. I mean, I know I can travel stylistically but at the same time, maybe my voice will change a little bit... but I feel like it's all channeled through me.
The L:And when did the Violators come about?
KV: Well, I've used the name for a long time, I've always had a rock band on the side. But as far as this lineup — first the Violators was me and my cousin and this other guy, and that was straight up rock, and then I met Adam from the War on Drugs in 2003 and we played together pretty much right off the bat. And so he was in the first wave of the Violators. My friend Michael Johnson played drums for a while, and then my friend Jesse Trbovich joined — during the Childish Prodigy sessions he was in a band I was friends with, he was a music head, he played sax, I was way into Springsteen at the time and he played on a song called "Freak Train."
The L: Which you still do...
KV: Yeah, definitely. And he basically came in and laid that down and it was like he was in the band! And we had a show the next week. And then after Michael Johnson couldn't do it any more we had a guy named Mike Zeng. And he's an amazing drummer. He plays on our Hunchback EP that's out, and a couple of tracks on Childish Prodigy.
The L: You mentioned Adam who plays with you, and you used to play in War on Drugs. But you're not doing that any more?
KV: The War on Drugs went through some bigger phases and Adam ended up getting sort of a bigger deal first, but he always knew I was into doing my own thing and he's always been nice about playing with me in the Violators. But it got a little weird because people would start to talk about me as just being the guitar player in War on Drugs and I was like "Hey, I'm doing my own thing."