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
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