4 Nov 2017

Kurt Vile on his collaboration with Courtney Barnett

From RNZ Music, 3:00 pm on 4 November 2017
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile Photo: supplied

Jana Whitta talks to Kurt Vile about his new collaboration with Courtney Barnett, Lotta Sea Lice, and how it all went down.

“Yeah, well you know that's funny, everybody uses a cell phone but we just got a landline and this is actually the first time I  had somebody call me on it and it is really awesome!”  

I’ve just been connected to Kurt Vile and commented on how good the phone line is.

Kurt’s at his home in Philadelphia. It’s late over there and I can tell it in his voice. This is confirmed later when he mentions he doesn’t have the energy to do an impression of his good friend, Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa, whose story of being attacked by sea lice inspired the name of the album.

We’re on the phone to discuss Lotta Sea Lice, Kurt's new album with Courtney Barnett, a Melbourne singer-songwriter whose deadpan, stream of consciousness style earned her huge accolades in the last few years.

Kurt’s been around longer than Barnett, both as former guitarist of the War on Drugs and in his successful solo career as Kurt Vile with his band the Violators.

Together they have created a collection of music that begs the question: Why has this not happened earlier? The partnership infuses their own unique ways of storytelling, matter of fact vocal delivery, solid guitar strums, and bendy blues solos.

Kurt and Courtney - the less self-destructive pairing of those names - form a strong, wholesome relationship on the album. You can hear it when they count each other in, or throw a line to one another. At times they even finish each other’s thoughts.

The album has become an instant favourite.

- Jana Whitta