“Good music should be challenging”
He was once a Violator with the hip Americana-brood around Kurt Vile, but Steve Gunn is currently reaching new heights as a solo-artist. He reveals himself to be an intriguing songwriter again with his new album ‘The Unseen in Between’. Constant travels and remaining in motion are his metaphors for life. We spoke to him in Den Haag on the eve of his performance in the Paard.
AB: Hi Steve, you’ve been touring with the new album ‘The Unseen in Between’. Tell me about the personal evolution you’ve been through.
Steve Gunn: Because I was spending a lot of time alone and being on the road for a long time, I started tapping into my personal feelings. There is a universality in the songs, but it comes from a personal place.
Most of the time I take an observational stance in the lyrics, but people tend to be more interested in things they can tell a story around. But I like the work of people like Lou Reed, who use abstract concepts to convey a deeper story.
AB: What is good music to you?
Steve Gunn: Something that could be many different things, but I often gravitate towards music that is challenging to my ears. Not so much difficult, but out of the ordinary. It always depends on what I’m feeling. When I’m on the road I like to listen to something familiar, at home I listen to more meditative music, I also listen to a lot of jazz, reggae.. I’m constantly discovering and exploring different things.
If music is made for the wrong reasons, like getting rich, being hip, .. It can’t be good music. I’m inspired by musicians who are still grateful and want to really play for people without demanding too much from their audience. Engagement is an important issue there.
AB: You’re talking about loving exploring new music. BRDCST is all about that. How do you see the role of festivals in offering that to the public?
Steve Gunn: Usually my favorite kind of festivals are festivals that move away from the formulaic, genre based line-up. In three or four days it get’s clear what kind of ethos you want to convey at your festival. The more eclectic the better. As a listener I really enjoy being at festivals and not knowing the groups that play there. It excites me to be there and check some stuff out. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Black Midi. Their performance should be something in between art and live music.
Steve Gunn will play at BRDCST festival on 4-4 at AB Club. Tickets HERE!
Discover the #BRDCST19 playlist with Steve Gunn: