Forecastle Festival 2013 Featured Artist Interview: KURT VILE


The Forecastle Festival (follow that link to enter to win FREE TICKETS!!) has proven itself to be one of the best festivals in America time and time again. Since 2002, the Louisville, KY-based three-day event has drawn thousands to the city and the festival’s current grounds – Waterfront Park. Over 30,000 attended Forecastle in 2012 and this year’s attendance is expected to surpass that, an assumption that’s well made considering a lineup that includes The String Cheese Incident, The Black Keys, and The Avett Brothers in the headlining role – as well as top notch second and third stage acts like Roadkill Ghost Choir, MNDR, Tift Merritt and many, many more.

We had such a blast last year (and behaved ourselves enough) that we’ve been invited back to cover Forecastle 2013! Scheduled for July 12th – 14th, Forecastle is all about celebrating live music, art, and activism on a number of levels. Single day tickets are $85.00, whereas full festival tickets are only $180.00. You know that we’re fans of the luxurious lifestyle when at all possible, so if you’re hankering to feel like royalty for a weekend, opt for a VIP package.

Contributing writer (and Forecastle sophomore) Amanda Norris was able to spend some time talking with KURT VILE of Kurt Vile & The Violators (playing at the BOOM STAGE at 5:15pm on Saturday the 13th) for our first “Featured Artist Interview” of Forecastle 2013. See you in Louisville!


Don’t let the title of their latest record, ‘Walkin on a Pretty Daze’, fool you – Kurt Vile and the Violators mean business. They’ve taken music blogs by storm with their lo-fi psychedilic rock and these boys don’t intend to stop any time soon. Fresh off a U.S. Tour, currently on the European circuit, and gearing up for a festival-filled summer, the Violators might as well be running on a pretty daze.

Luckily, was able to catch them on a rare breather. On the conversation table was some historical context about the evolution of a rock project a decade in the making, record shopping, and of course Forecastle Music Festival.

Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Let frontman, Kurt Vile, tell you about it himself:

Amanda Norris: Let’s start off with a little bit of history about how “Kurt Vile and The Violators” came to be..

Kurt Vile: Let’s see, in 2003 I moved back to the city [Philadelphia] and I started to use the name the Violators but then I met Adam[Granduciel]–who you know started The War on Drugs but back then he was jamming with me–and he was an early member of the Violators. And then around 2006, Jesse Turbo joined and Mike Zanghi joined in 2007 and then in 2011 Rob Laakso joined and Adam pursued The War on Drugs full time. So now Jesse and the newest drummer Vince Nudo–who is amazing– and Rob are the lineup. The lineup has evolved.

What about playing with Kurt Vile and the Violators is different from playing with The War on Drugs or another one of your projects?

Well, The War on Drugs was never actually a project of mine. I was in the band for a couple of years but once the record actually came out on the label I didn’t do it anymore because it was confusing. It actually still is confusing you know, but basically I have always been pursuing my own thing.

The Violators is definitely a unit–you know. It’s not like a backup band. It’s a unit. And it’s all been about finding the right people–you know, record nerd obsessives. You just kind of know on a psychic plane who works out. They all bring their own thing to the table.

What’s on your guys’ record players if you’re all record nerd obsessives? What’s the kind of stuff that you guys listen to?

Well let’s see, what did we all listen to recently…all kinds of weird stuff. We were just listening to the second Danzig record which my drummer Vince turned me on to. We’ve been listening to the Happy Mondays recently before we go on stage to get hyped up. We switch it up and around a lot–we just listen to a ton of things. I bought a bunch of records on the road recently and I’m excited to go home and listen to the first Depeche Mode record on vinyl. Just so many different things.

How would you describe the sound when you play? What kind of sound are you going for and what are you trying to create?

The idea is not to say what you’re going for, you just start playing and everyone is playing an extension of themselves. It’s not as though we really say ahead of time what “this one” should sound like but we just go and then it sounds the way it does. Just go for it.

What have you guys been doing in terms of touring currently and what’s on the horizon for the summer?

We’re just finishing up a US Tour right now, then in Europe for over a month and we’re doing festivals all summer. We’re going to be touring a fair amount for sure. We’ll be doing a club tour of the states when we get back as well.

Music festivals are definitely a different vibe than playing a bar show or even just a bigger venue. How do you guys feel about playing them and in particular, Forecastle?

Well if the festival totally stinks–the vibe is weird, people are just standing there and it’s just a bunch of tents in a parking lot or something–then it’s a bummer but ideally and in general they’re a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed them all so far and we’re looking forward to this one.

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