RASCAL Emily Votaw got the opportunity to interview Neko Case before Nelsonville Music Festival last year while reppin’ ACRN. This is the magic that came of it.
Emily Votaw: When you perform live, do you have any goals in mind?
Neko Case: Just to connect with people. So that people can know something more about what they are listening to, to let people know that we’re real, normal nerds.
EV: Has your approach to performing live changed over the years?
NC: I don’t think so. I’m sure there are subtle ways it has changed, but I am very used to it because I have been doing it for so long. I think there are a lot of things that I have gotten a lot less nervous about over time. Y’know, it is what I do all the time.
EV: Are there any other spots on the 2011 tour that you are really looking forward to?
NC: Um, I am excited to go back to Athens, Ga. It’s the other Athens outside of Ohio, so that’s kind of hilarious… my double Athens extravaganza tour.
EV: There will be a lot of college age students at the Nelsonville Music Festival, because it’s so close to OU. What kind of music did you listen to when you were that age?
NC: There wasn’t anything I wouldn’t listen to at that age, and I’ve pretty much stayed that way. I don’t know, I didn’t really get music from mainstream media at all,I would pretty much listen to anything. And I played in bands, a lot of bands, in college, so it was a very important way to kind of figure out what it was I wanted to do, by just exposing myself to a lot of music.
EV: Over the years, what has been your favorite album to work on?
NC: Well, I don’t really know. Because they’re all different. Basically what happens is, you go back to the studio and every single time, well, for me personally, anyway, every time I go back to the studio, I think “This is going to be so much easier because I know so much more” because I spent so much time on the last record, and there’s always a set of problems. Because when you know more, you kind of raise the bar for yourself in a way. You become more critical and finely tuned to things.
Y’know, for me personally I am just always trying to not over-censor myself and to just kind of be a little more loose with things because it’s really easy to overanalyze. So, they’re all different. And you do learn things from every one, so I couldn’t say which one I enjoyed working on the most because when you are working on an record, you are so microscopically tuned into what you are doing, I couldn’t even imagine being outside of it when I’m inside of it, y’know what I mean? It’s all-consuming.
EV: So far as contributing to that drive, is there anything in particular that really inspires you?
NC: I’m kind of one of those people who are pretty excited about everything. So I guess just filtering it down to smaller things, and editing, is the really hard part. So I guess, I don’t know, like I said, it’s hard to pinpoint one thing. Literature probably feeds my drive to make songs more than anything, but I can get excited about just about anything.
EV: So far as with literature, is there any book or author or poet that really excites you?
NC: There might be a lot more Angela Carter to do with this album, perhaps. And there will always be “Watership Down.”
EV: Over your career you’ve done a lot of really interesting covers, and I was wondering what it was like to cover The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” with Nick Cave recently?
NC: It was very strange because I had about a day and a half’s notice to do it. I just got the call out of the blue. Luckily I knew the song really well… ahhhh sorry, I’m yawning, I’ve been outside all day… I don’t know. It’s the kind of thing that I would normally be really afraid of, but since I had no notice and I thought “Well, all right!” I just kind of jumped in with both feet. And Nick Cave wasn’t actually there. He sent in his part from Europe, but I have heard it, and it sounds totally nuts. Very fitting, for True Blood, for sure.
EV: Is there anything you have been personally listening to a lot recently?
NC: Recently I’ve kind of gone back to Camera Obscura pretty obsessively. It’s kind of become my main thing lately.