Of Montreal: Changing Your Month

Of Montreal - There's no future in that.Fueled by love, frosted with joyous psychedelia, and infused with subtle percussive polyrhythms, Satanic Panic in the Attic (review) has already been getting word of mouth buzz as one of the best records of the year. Now, fanning the flames of fame as a flamboyantly flexible sextet extended by blends of friends, Of Montreal proudly un-frowns wowed crowds with stridently styled guile. Surreally appealing, with skits that are scene stealing, the band deals a meal of real rock and roll with more than a feeling. Why did they wish again to come to Michigan? Climbing the ladder and connecting the dots, Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes surveys the scene, selflessly soliloquizes on the folly of bucolic solitude, and takes pains to explain why he would like to write music that changes your month.

GLONO: I discovered you guys about 5 years ago. A friend of mine in Kalamazoo, would you like to see a picture of him?

Kevin Barnes: Hello, friend! Peering through the bushes…

GLONO: He’s like 6’4″, 200 pounds, he has like found art all over his walls, lots of things he made himself, Polaroids everywhere…

KB: He lives in Athens?

GLONO: Now he does, yeah.

KB: I think I recognize him.

GLONO: Oh, yeah? You’ve seen some of his Polaroids?

KB: Maybe, I think so, yeah.

GLONO: He introduced me to the music… I show up at his place one day, and he turns it up full blast. The song was “Fun Loving Nun.” And he was like, “You gotta dance to this!” And he just starts losin’ it and flying around the room, back and forth, you had to join him, you know?

KB: (laughter) Or get knocked over…

GLONO: So what kind of responses have you got from fans, in person, or in the mail?

KB: Well, so far, we’ve had a lot of great response. We haven’t sold, like, tons of records, but it seems like people who buy our records are really moved by it, really into it. So that’s more important than the numbers. It’s more important for people to be touched by your music than for you to make tons of money off it. So, so far, we’ve been happy with the response we’ve gotten.

GLONO: Do you ever get any people who are really into the fantasy worlds that you create in your records? Is there an Of Montreal cult?

KB: There’s not a cult, but there was this one girl we met who said she was going to name her daughter Nickee Coco, which is one of our song titles, one of the characters I created [from The Gay Parade]. So that was amazing to hear.

GLONO: What kind of response have you gotten from the crowds at the recent shows?


KB: It’s been amazing. This has been one of the best tours we’ve ever done. I think because we’re combining skits along with the music, so it’s not just traditional rock and roll performance, that people are accustomed to seeing. Plus I think people expect something slightly different from us because we’ve always tried to do something… a little bit unpredictable. We have a couple costume changes, some strange skits, people are jumping around, changing instruments and stuff. A lot of movement on stage.

GLONO: In Kalamazoo, I saw a really big guy with a red Mohawk doing a tango with another kid.

KB: Yeah, yeah. I saw that. That was great.

GLONO: You guys do trade instruments… almost for each song! What drives the stage arrangements?

KB: Everyone is really talented, everyone can play a bunch of different instruments. And I think it’s just, if for no better reason, because it keeps it interesting for us, you know? Well, I don’t really change instruments that much. I play piano on one song, but everybody else, it’s just kind of cool to feel like you’re moving around a little bit, get a little exercise. But also, it’s like trying to work out, because the songs are created in the studio, so when we try to figure out how to do them live, it’s like, okay, I can’t play my part because I’m playing the clarinet, so they go, okay, I can put on my guitar for five seconds and pick up the accordion or pick up the tambourine or whatever. So everyone has to pick things up, drop things, pick up another thing, just to pull off the recorded sounds live.

GLONO: You look like you’re having a lot of fun playing the new material. What songs are you really getting into playing?

KB: I love playing “Vegan in Furs,” just ’cause I get to do a rippin’ guitar solo. (laughter)

GLONO: Have you ever added any other forms of multimedia to the performance?

KB: Yeah, we’ve had video before. My brother went on tour with us and he shot a bunch of short films that went along with the music. That was really cool. So many people do it, but it’s kind of tricky, it’s hard to take it to the next level, because we have such a limited budget, it’s always shoestring.

GLONO: Yeah… quality, not quantity, of records sold.

KB: Yeah, so for us to do something like that, we’d want it to be really special, and not just do it kind of half-assed, just like footage behind us or something.

GLONO: How many tours is this for you?

KB: I don’t know! Many.

GLONO: What is your favorite place to go and play, so far?

KB: In the states?

GLONO: If you want to say Europe or Japan…

KB: Japan was by far, just because it’s such an extraordinary experience, culturally, on so many levels. I definitely would say Tokyo is the highlight of my “rock career,” if you could call it that.

GLONO: What did you go out and do and see in Tokyo?

KB: We didn’t really go out and do and see that much, but just being there, wandering around, going out to dinner… we spent some time in Osaka and Kyoto as well. We got to go to the Osaka Castle, got to wander around Kyoto, and it was great because then we had more of a sense of the country, it wasn’t just like coming into a gigantic metropolis, staying there for a couple of days, and then leaving. We got to see the countryside, bullet trains, and all sorts of things.

GLONO: You had a sense of the community there, and how it operates?

KB: Well, not a great sense, but some sense. (laughter)

GLONO: The new record, Satanic Panic in the Attic. The rumor went around that the last record, Aldhils Arboretum, was going to be the accessible record. This is the accessible record!

KB: Well, the last record… for me, I felt like the last record was a bit of a disappointment. Like, I don’t really feel like we were pushing ourselves, creatively. And I guess that was the point, to try to make a record that was closer to a live band. It’s okay, it has its own place.

GLONO: At the time, you said it would really translate well live. So that was the idea, to record it live?

KB: Yeah. Everyone had worked their parts out already, and we had the arrangements, the orchestrations, all before going into the studio, which we had never done before. And we recorded it like a rock record, without any sort of whimsical elements added. In that way, it’s not one of my favorites. I like Coquelicot and The Gay Parade, and the new record a lot more. I think with this new record, I was trying to have that element, that fun element that was kind of lacking a little bit on the last record.

GLONO: You talked with the band and you all decided that you would record the new album mostly by yourself?


KB: Well, I didn’t really talk to them. I just kind of started doing it. We used to live in a house together out in the country and we moved out of that house, because I got married in July. My wife and I moved into a new place in Athens, and so I just set up my studio in one of the extra bedrooms and I had so much energy, like so much creative energy that I just wanted to knock it out, and just have fun. Everyone else was going through these different phases in their life, like Jamie was living in New York for a long time, and Dottie started this new full-time job and she was working a lot with that, and Andy went back to school, and Derek had been focusing a lot of time in this other band, Circulatory System.

GLONO: I heard he’s doing that full-time now.

KB: Yeah. So there was kind of a shift in all of our lives. But I didn’t want the music to stop, so I wanted to just be, “Don’t stop the music!” I had to keep rockin’. So I just made it. Because also, I really wanted to make a record on my own like that. Just because it’s really fun to do it that way. You can just get lost in your headphones, and there’s no one to confuse your vision in a way. Not to say that the band members confuse my vision, because they didn’t. They totally contributed an amazing part to the records, but I just wanted to make a record that was straight out of my brain.

GLONO: Uh-huh. You had the itch, you had the creative energy, surging, and you were like, “I gotta get this out.”

KB: Yeah, totally. It wasn’t like an ego trip, it was like, “I wanna make this.” And here I go, I’m making it.

GLONO: (laughter) But you know who that sounds like, right?

KB: Yeah. Paul McCartney?

GLONO: Are you thinking of Sgt. Pepper? Did he do that mostly by himself, initially?

KB: No. I don’t think so. I think maybe, a little bit more the White Album, he was playing drums on some songs.

GLONO: Oh yeah, he had some songs that were just all him.

KB: Yeah.

GLONO: I was thinking of Brian Wilson!

KB: Well, he wrote all the parts, but he didn’t play them.

GLONO: That’s true.

KB: But I’m no Brian Wilson, so… (laughter)

GLONO: Have you ever seen him play?

KB: Uh-huh. Well, I haven’t seen him live, I’ve seen it on television, and I’ve heard the live Smile,” it’s amazing.

GLONO: What do you think of him going back and finishing Smile?

KB: I think it’s great. I’ve heard it so many times, that it’s like, I wish that it would have happened five years ago, because now I’m kind of like, “Oh, Smile“. I mean, I love Smile, but I’ve heard it so many times that it’s like, not as exciting. But I think it’s great that the people actually hear the record closer to the way that he wanted them to hear it, instead of in fragments. A lot of bootlegs are totally fragmented and you can’t really visualize what he was trying to do with it and how it all flows as one piece. That’s the cool thing, also, about CD. You never would have been able to hear it that way because you would have had to flip the record over. Now you can hear it all the way through!

GLONO: Ever got a reaction from him on any of your stuff?

KB: There’s some quote on the Elephant 6 webpage where someone asked him, do you know that you’re inspiring this new generation of musicians, like the Elephant 6 collective? And he was like, “I don’t know who they are… I just like the good old rock and roll,” or something.

GLONO: He likes “Be My Baby.”

KB: Yeah, that’s his favorite. I don’t think he’d really appreciate The Gay Parade. I don’t think he’d really understand it, even though he inspired it.

GLONO: With the new record, you seem to be adding a few new sounds to the Of Montreal vocabulary… there’s a really vintage analog sounding synth on “Your Magic is Working,” “How Lester Lost His Wife,” “Spike the Senses,” it sounds like the synth on the old Steely Dan records, actually!

KB: Yeah, it might have been! It’s actually from the 70s, it’s this Univox. All the synth is pretty much that one synth. It’s really versatile, it has a bunch of different sounds.

GLONO: Was that for this record or did you actually get that a little earlier?

KB: No, it was for this record. It’s not mine, it belongs to Great Lakes, another band I play in, and it’s on all of the Great Lakes records, but somehow it ended up my house, so I just used it every day!

GLONO: And much more diverse percussion, much more groove oriented!

KB: Well, I got into Afrobeat and dub music, and like 70s funk. I think that had a lot to with the more percussive element.

GLONO: You said in Flagpole, you’re aiming for a sexier sound.

KB: Yeah, totally.

GLONO: “Vegan in Furs” is really funky.

KB: Oh, cool!

GLONO: So funky is a compliment?

KB: Yeah. Definitely, I mean to say, with a lot of people, funky stuff can be atrocious, especially a lot of white funk can just make you wanna slit your wrist, so yeah, it’s a compliment. Especially if you’re just one person doing it by yourself, it’s kind of hard to make it super funky, like Sly and the Family Stone or Curtis Mayfield or whatever, but I tried my hardest.

GLONO: It really showed through. Like the drum machines on “Rapture Rapes the Muses,” or this bassline on “Eros’ Entropic Tundra,” and there’s some kind of a woodblock or cowbell on “Eric Eckles,” do you remember recording that?

KB: Yeah, there’s woodblock and cowbell.

GLONO: Wow, I feel cool for guessing that. And there’s a menacing—is it a keyboard bass on “Spike the Senses?”


GLONO: Yeah!

KB: Yeah, that was the Univox. I think it was that and a fuzz bass.

GLONO: The album just sounds lighthearted. Even relaxed!

KB: Yeah, I think I was trying to go with more of an atmospheric feel in a lot of the songs. I think, like before, my arrangements and orchestrations are super crowded, they make you feel claustrophobic in a way. They just keep layering, layering, layering.

GLONO: …there was a lot going on in those records.

KB: I think with this record, I wanted to have everything have its own place, fit in the mix, have its own personality, its own voice, and have its moment.

GLONO: Yeah, it seemed like there was a lot of breathing room. Everything in its Right Place. I once read an interview with Neil Young where he said that music should be approached like painting, where you have the time to return to it at your leisure. He indicated that playing shows can be emotionally difficult because it takes music, and the feeling you’ve put into it, out of its natural context.

KB: Oh yeah, I definitely can feel that, because you have to play every night, you know, when sometimes you don’t necessarily feel like playing, but you have to somehow get yourself in the mood. Especially when it’s a sadder song, you clearly don’t feel that way. But you have to get into the character. So, it’s a challenge, and it’s something that I struggled with a lot, early on. But now, I can just do it because it’s so integrated into my existence, it’s just become my life, performing and writing and everything. So I don’t feel like I’m being phony. There are certain songs that I will not play, for that reason, because to do it without putting your heart into it would be a crime, so I try to shy away from the really heartbroken songs that I have written in the past.

GLONO: So you’re playing music so often now, that it’s not so much of an emotional stretch anymore?

KB: Yeah, it’s not. I mean, you go through a range of emotions every night. I do especially, with the songs and stuff. I’m sure everybody does. The music is pretty emotional, even though it’s very whimsical and playful. But especially the songs that are a little bit more melancholy, it seems a little bit strange, because what we’re doing is so upbeat, and we’re trying to put across is a joy. We want people to feel a joy and we want people to feel happiness and feel like, “Okay, there’s people who care in the world,” because you know, you’re just inundated with like McDonalds, and Wal-Marts, and Fox News and it can be so depressing. But it’s so inspiring when you see people who are doing something that’s not motivated by greed or not trying to manipulate you, and not trying to fuck your head up in any way.

GLONO: Your earlier records shaded a lot toward personal lyrics, and your middle period records like The Gay Parade and Coquelicot shaded toward stories. In interviews from when Coquelicot came out, you said you might move back toward personal lyrics when your personal life got a little more dramatic or interesting.

KB: (laughter) Well, there are some songs on the new record that I wrote for Nina, my wife, that are just love songs. “Your Magic is Working,” “Lysergic Bliss,” also “Climb the Ladder.” But then other songs are just kind of like wordplay, because I have a lot of fun just letting my mind wander and doing a stream of consciousness style of writing. And so there are songs like “Rapture Rapes the Muses,” I don’t really know what that means… It just came to me.

GLONO: Yeah, there are definitely some “throwback” songs that are very much the playful Of Montreal of old.

KB: Yeah, I think that’s maybe just like, I have four styles of songs that I write, so if I write a sad song, it’s not necessarily a throwback because it’s just human emotions, and everyone feels that way from time to time. It’s a tricky thing as we record more, and have more records in our catalog, because people are like, “Oh, I like this record,” or “I don’t like this record, I wish it was more like this record.” You have a little bit of pressure because you don’t want to let people down, but I try never to let that influence me because I just want to do my own thing. If people like it, great, and if they don’t, you know, maybe they’ll like the next one.

GLONO: The lyrics on Aldhils Arboretum indicated some themes of romantic emptiness and cynicism.

KB: Yeah, I was going through a hard time. That was before I met Nina, and living in the country was becoming more oppressive. I was having a hard time just feeling good in the world, just feeling pessimistic, jaded. But then I fell in love, and everything changed. You never know what’s right around the corner.

GLONO: Is it that simple? You’re in love, so you’re happy now?

The Gay Parade

KB: Well, I think it’s more like appreciating life. Because I got to the point where I was just not appreciating life. I had this crappy job, and blah blah blah, and I just sort of died inside a bit. But then, I met Nina, and like, going over to Europe and just realizing that the world is a magical place if you want it to be, or are tuned into it, and there are great writers who can inspire you, and there are great painters, great filmmakers, and great poets, just great people, and so you just have to focus on the positive and be a positive force on your own.

GLONO: How was your experience in the country?

KB: At first, it was great, because it was the five of us, well actually, the four of us, because Andy didn’t actually move in. It was me, Jamie, Dottie, and Derek. And we lived like that for a year, and at that point, the band was really coming together on an emotional level for all of us. We were having a great time together, and it was still really new, really fresh, and exciting. And to be out in the country, like away from everything, away from all distractions was really cool.

It was so great because we had a recording studio in the house, and didn’t have any problem with neighbors, because everyone was so far away from us, and we had a lot of land. And it was really exciting because I had never lived out in the country before. For the first year and a half or something, it was really, really really great.

Eventually it became too much because we were touring together, and traveling together, living together, and so it was just… too much togetherness. And also, it was confusing because, when you’re in a band like that, and I would want to record and do stuff but I couldn’t, because I might upset Dottie because I was playing a keyboard part and all of a sudden, she would feel obsolete or something. Oh, you’re playing it because you don’t think I’m good enough, and then there’d be this drama.

So, I wanted to get away from that. I wanted to be able to just create and not have any sort of strange pressure. Because I love all of them, and I want them to be happy, and I’m sure they want me to be happy, so actually it turned out really great in the end, like they’re happy with the record, and they’re happy to be playing the songs on tour, and it’s the family again.

GLONO: You did a covers show in Athens on New Year’s Eve, 2002. How did that come about and how did you choose the songs?

KB: Uh, well that was kind of tricky, picking the songs, because… that was the New Year’s Eve show?

GLONO: Yeah, with the Krush Girls.

KB: Okay, because before that, we played a Team Clermont party. Team Clermont is this publicity company there in town, and every year they hold this formal ball, everyone dresses up in these ridiculous seventies tuxedos, this time it was an eighties—or maybe it was always eighties—so anyway, it was an eighties ball and we were the band for the dance, I think the theme of it was Almost Paradise or something, kind of a high school reunion or a class of ’84.

GLONO: Was there dancing allowed? Was it like Footloose?

KB: Yeah, totally, everyone was cutting loose, everyone was going wild. We had to learn two sets worth of cover songs, we had to learn close to 40 songs, and so that was the first time we had ever taken on such a big undertaking. It was great, it was really fun. And so we realized, hey, we can do this, and it’s fun, you know, we’ll make some money and it’s a good time. For a while we kind of flirted with that idea. Like, what if we play frat houses and become like a cover band on the side, to make money, like a lot of bands do?

GLONO: (laughter) Uh-huh!

KB: In the end, we just, we weren’t ambitious enough. Or we were too ambitious, maybe. So then the New Year’s Eve thing was actually our second cover show, and so we had to learn songs that we didn’t play in that 40 songs that we played at that eighties dance party. And, it was just fun because New Year’s Eve is always great at the 40 Watt, the Krush Girls are always really great so it was great that they asked us to do it.

GLONO: You covered “Wild Wild Life?”

KB: We’re all huge Talking Heads fans. And it’s such a party song. Gets people movin’. We’ve done that, we’ve done “And She Was.” Not that night, but maybe at the eighties dance party.

GLONO: And “War Pigs.”

KB: Yup, “War Pigs.” (laughter)

GLONO: That blew my mind. I mean, that blew my friends’ minds. There was a lot of mind being cleaned up off the floor at the end of the night!

KB: We tried to mix it up and do things that people wouldn’t necessarily expect from Of Montreal.

GLONO: You did that song, and then you think about that recent release of yours, If He Is Protecting Our Nation, Then Who Will Protect Big Oil, Our Children? And there’s a skit in the current show where you kind of “play war”…

KB: Yeah, the wind war. Oh, that’s not really political in any way, it’s just supposed to be surreal.

GLONO: Oh. Because I was wondering if you were pursuing any overtly political message.

KB: Well, that is pretty clear, yeah, like, what we’re going for there, but it’s supposed to be tongue in cheek, I mean, it’s not supposed to be like a serious, pretentious stance against George W. I mean, it’s clear anybody with a brain is against George W.

If He Is Protecting Our Nation, Then Who Will Protect Big Oil, Our Children?

With Then Who Will Save Big Oil, my brother, David, had already made the artwork long before we thought about compiling those songs and making a second singles and songles type of record. We just thought it would be funny to do, just to be a little bit ridiculous. You know, like here’s George W. with an oil derrick for a penis and shooting his wad into a little boy’s ear, it’s a ridiculous image. (laughter)

GLONO: I actually haven’t seen that artwork, is that in the artwork for the record?

KB: Yeah, it’s like George W. wearing a button down white business shirt, and no pants or underwear… and he has this black oil derrick for a penis, and it’s shooting oil through this little kid’s ear and, he’s wearing a shirt that says “America”… (laughter) and there’s this little African-American choir boy singing in the corner, and it’s just ridiculous… and it’s kind of funny because Pitchfork, actually, the guy who wrote about that totally missed the point. He was like, “They’re struggling to regain cred after…” and it was like, “What are you talking about?” (laughter) “You missed the point, man.”

GLONO: How does the artistic community of Athens inspire you?

KB: I think just because everyone is sort of on our level. It’s encouraging, like you don’t have people saying, “You don’t have health insurance. What’s wrong with you?” You know, “Go back to school. Get your master’s degree…” So everyone is around our age, and doing their home recording thing, and kind of taking it seriously, working hard at it and putting their hearts into it. I guess just in that way, it really keeps you going because you don’t feel disheartened. There’s no pressure, there’s no status symbol that you have to attain.

GLONO: What is the reaction of children to your music?

KB: Well, my nephews like it. Every once in a while, someone will be like, “My four year old son really likes Of Montreal.” The lead singer from the Lilys, Kurt Heasley, he said that his kids are really into Of Montreal. So, it’s funny, every once in a while someone will tell me, “My son loves The Gay Parade, he’s four years old, and he always wants me to play him The Gay Parade and dance around the room…” That feels really good, to know that we’re reaching the youngsters.

GLONO: What do you think of this? I was in class and someone read this quote from Nelson Mandela. And on the recent record, the song “City Bird” made me think of this. I want to show this to you, you’ve probably seen it before.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

KB: (laughter) That’s great!

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Speech

KB: That’s great. How did that remind you of “City Bird?”

GLONO: “You neglect your wings like you don’t need them.”

KB: Right. Actually, I didn’t write those lyrics. Those are Dan Donohue’s. That was the first time on any Of Montreal record that someone else wrote the lyrics. And when Dan gave them to me, I thought they were really beautiful. So, I just wrote the music for it.

GLONO: What other groups are you into right now in Athens?

KB: Well, Athens is kind of the same, you know, Elf Power, Circulatory System, Summer Hymns, Casper and the Cookies, the Late B.P. Helium, Marshmallow Coast, and like all of our friends’ bands. I haven’t really been turned on to that much new Athens music. But I’m sure there is a lot of great stuff being made. I don’t really go out very often. I’m not really… in touch.

GLONO: The other members’ projects, like Marshmallow Coast, Circulatory System, how are those coming along?

KB: Well, Marshmallow Coast just put out a record last year called Anti-Star and it’s a really great record. Circulatory System is in the process of completing their second record, I guess it’s going really well. I haven’t heard any of it yet but it’s supposed to be really great. And with Great Lakes, Jamie was like a main songwriting force in Great Lakes, but he’s not really doing so much with that anymore, he’s working on his own thing. Right now, it has the title of James Husband. But he might change it. But he’s actually recording that record as we speak, well, not right now, because he’s on tour with us! He would be, if he was at home. The Casper and the Cookies record just came out.

GLONO: Yeah, you have a couple Cookies in the band right now, right?

KB: One, yeah.

GLONO: One Cookie.

KB: Yeah, only one cookie. (laughter) And The Late B.P. Helium, his record should be coming out pretty soon, he has an EP [Kumquat Mae] that was really great that came out last year.

GLONO: This might be premature to ask, you know, as you’re doing the tour supporting your new record, but where do you think Of Montreal will go next?

KB: Well, I actually have a really good idea of what I want to do with the next record. I want it to be less like a pop record, and more like a long piece, you know, with all these different movements, everything connected together, but not necessarily in a linear fashion. Something more ambitious.

When I think about it, I really want to make a DVD. I wish that DVD audio was the media that everyone uses, for that to be the norm instead of CDs. It would be so great if you could put on a DVD and just listen to it, or you could turn on the television and watch it. It would just be more interesting if you had an animated feature that would go along with the whole record, or films or whatever that would be, just to have visuals with the audio. But not necessarily to have to listen to it through television speakers. Everyone would have it set up just like their CD player is set up right now.

We’ve talked about making a website also, me and my brother and Nina. We don’t have a name for it yet, but that’s going to be the project we start immediately when we come back home.

GLONO: When you say in the long piece, that the movements might not proceed in a linear fashion, do you mean like the Circulatory System record that was a shuffle play record?

KB: Oh, it could be something closer to that, but I was thinking I wanted to sort of just abandon the pop music clichés of verse-chorus-verse-chorus but I don’t want it to abandon the great part of pop music that is like the infectious melodies, the toe tapping rhythms, or whatever. I want to make something that is very listenable, very cool to listen to but not necessarily conventional. I just want to push the envelope in a way, and I know that that is a cliché in itself, but I want to make something that is just so… that somehow, will make every other record seem obsolete.

GLONO: Ah ha ha! That’s ambitious!

KB: Yeah. I just want to change the face of music. I want to make something that… that people can relate to, but will still seem very exotic. The reason I want to do that is because, I want to hear that record.

GLONO: Well, they say, write what you want to read…

KB: Exactly. I want to make the record that, if I heard it, I would say, “Holy shit, I need to go to my studio right now and make a record!”

GLONO: You want to push the envelope in a different way, huh?

KB: Yes, for some reason I felt like, music has gotten kind of stagnant, in a way. And like this “return to rock” with the Strokes and the White Stripes is great, and it was great for like five minutes, but like, there’s no future in that. And I don’t know, it changes too, like, I wouldn’t want to listen to something totally insane and symphonic every day, either. I like to put on Iggy Pop every once in a while too. I like to put on the Misfits or Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin or whatever.

GLONO: It’s rockin’, it gets you through.

KB: Yeah. The thing is, that’s why I was talking about the DVDs. I wish there was more of an experience, where you put it on, and you watch it, you listen to it, you experience it, through headphones hopefully, and it changes your year. It could even just change your month or something, you know? That’s my goal. Just change the month. It doesn’t have to change the year. (laughing) A year is a long time.

GLONO: You are changing lives through music.

KB: I hope it has a positive impact on the world. That’s definitely the goal.

GLONO: Last question. What’s your favorite scene from “Help!”

KB: I like when they all walk up to their apartment and they’re saying goodbye to each other… It’s brilliant. (laughing)

You can download a lot of free Of Montral mp3s on their website. More mp3s on Epitonic, Amazon and Rolling Stone. And you should catch them on tour.

7 thoughts on “Of Montreal: Changing Your Month”

  1. That was a nice, lengthy interview I’ve been needing from this band. Kevin Barnes is lovely. Georgia should be proud! I just picked up the re-release of OM’s Cherry Peel as well as their greatest hits album that just came out a few days ago (The Gladiator Nightstick Collection). On vinyl, nonetheless! God bless this band and thanks for the great interview.

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