I caught up with Owen (Mike Kinsella) to discuss his new album L'ami du Peuple, his plans for the rest of the year and how his approach to being a musician has changed.
What is Owen up to at the moment?
I've got a sore throat and I've got to finish painting a room. Pretty sure one more coat should do it.
Well done on L'Ami du Peuple! How's the reaction to the album been?
Thanks! I think people like it? I don't ever really imagine anyone actually listening to the music I make, so it's even harder for me to imagine what their response to the music would be. But none of the people who've come up to me at the shows have said it stinks or anything, so that's good.
How was the process behind the record?
I've sort of stumbled upon a process recording the past couple albums that I'm super happy with. I used to try to do most of the writing and recording myself, which ultimately just limited both the writing and recording of the songs. But on this one I went into a proper studio with a proper engineer (Neil Strauch) and got him involved earlier on in the writing process, so he was able to help me direct the songs in the different directions I heard them going.
What themes do you think the album deals with?
Growing up, dumbing down, needing money, being married, being horny, being angry, making friends, hating friends, needing money.
How relevant are the lyrics to your actual life?
Very relevant. I went to school for Anthropology and was never very good at writing fiction.
How has your approach to writing music changed throughout your career?
My approach hasn't really changed that much - I've always sort of let the music come to me as opposed to "trying" to write it. Although I used to have a lot more free time to play the guitar and organize my thoughts...
How has touring changed for you with getting older and having a family at home?
Touring has changed completely. I usually can only get away for long weekends now, and I can only do that once or twice a month. And I sleep in hotel rooms like an old man. And I'm usually traveling by myself as opposed to with a gang of friends. And I don't do anything too reckless cause I always think to myself "what if you died doing this stupid thing on tour and now your kids don't have a dad cause you're an idiot?"
Do you prefer the touring experience or the creation of albums?
These days I enjoy making the albums more, but if tour was like what it used to be like then I'd prefer that!
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
I hope to finish painting that goddamn room. I want to put some new wainscoting on the roof of my front porch. A week of shows in Japan in October. A week of shows in the UK in December.
What bands are you listening to at the moment?
Any time I get to listen to music is now spent listening to fantasy football podcasts cause I'm lame.