Right around the time he got down on his knees and starting crashing items into a gong and shaking random items (such as his car keys) beside the microphone during the breakdown in “Howling Light,” it became quite obvious that folk as we know it had taken a turn toward alternative. Without a doubt we could add another member to Volcano Choir with this type of collaboration, respectively of course.
Amid his crispy, somber-like vocals, his lyrics spoke volumes—even as their meanings were slightly locked behind some obscure biblical references—cloaking them heavily throughout such songs as “First Born,” “Year In the Kingdom,” and “Masters House.” Ultimately, his intense harvest of passion found its way in and around each song he played. To witness folk music composed and performed so fresh yet controlled, it just about makes your body tingle. That is unless J.Tillman’s lustful voice doesn't get to you first.
Following his performance, J. Tillman graciously took some time to speak with me about his music.
How do you manage time between both the bands? Between touring and practice, it must be hectic all the time.
It’s been pretty busy. The start of this tour—the first week—I was kind of losing my mind a little bit. Like, what am I doing, doing a five-week tour after a year and a half of straight touring [with Fleet Foxes]? I knew that it was going to feel like a little too much, but I think it’s lent a certain urgency to the whole performance.
Segueing into that, how do you keep the energy and the effort up? There has got to be something keeping you going.
You have to have a vision. And I think I mean that literally; I have visions of this thing. That’s where a lot of my songs come from. It’s not really about me having energy. It’s about this thing taking over. Most the time I feel like a receptor to this thing, and it keeps working through me.
It is clear you were born to do this. Was there ever a point in your life when you thought you might be doing something else? And what might that be?