This week, Wisconsin native Justin Vernon released one of the best-reviewed and most anticipated indie albums of the year in Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore effort.
Bon Iver takes the promise of Vernon’s quiet, insular debut For Emma, Forever Ago and adds a number of new elements to the mix: The sound is more expansive without sounding bigger than itself, and Vernon has layered each track with new rhythmic tricks, production twists, and even a guitar solo or two.His delicate, dynamic voice carries it all, and his surreal lyrics paint narratives about the importance of home.
EW caught up with Vernon while he was in town promoting Bon Iver, and he had quite a bit to say about the approach on his new album, his attachment to Wisconsin, and what he learned from Kanye West.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is it true Bon Iver was recorded in a converted animal hospital?
JUSTIN VERNON: Yeah. It was a residence house. The family lived there and the guy worked out of the clinic that he built. It’s huge, this bi-level ranch house that just goes on forever. So we moved in and we’ve been changing everything around. There’s an indoor pool that we made into a recording room and stuff. It’s become a pretty fun place.
Do you live there too?
My cats live there. I have a little apartment in town that I sort of get to when I can.
Bon Iver is a very cohesive-sounding album, like it came out of one marathon writing session.
It’s interesting you say that. It was written in three years, but it’s all part of the same session. It was like one continuous movement of brain. Like, I had all this s— going on, but this record was always the thing I would return to. I would bring the stuff with me to listen to, and work on lyrics. Just like, “What is this?” We figured it out that way, I think, and it had this flow to it that was mysterious even to me. But it worked somehow. READ FULL STORY