INTERVIEW: Kasey Anderson

Pic by Heath Korvola

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Like Teenage Gravity!”? 

Sure! It’s a song that was originally on my record Nowhere Nights, which was released in 2009. Counting Crows covered it on their 2012 record Underwater Sunshine, and I dug that cover a lot so I thought we’d take another crack at the song from a slightly different angle on Let the Bloody Moon Rise. Ty Bailie, who played keys on LTMBR, had his wisdom teeth pulled the morning of that session, so he was pharmacoligically enhanced at the time we were tracking that song, and came up with that great keyboard part you hear throughout the song. We really just built the thing around that; it’s a very different arrangement from the one Eric Ambel and I came up with on Nowhere Nights, and from Crows’ version. I’m not sure which of the three I like best. 

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I had the title and didn’t want to let a song title as good as “Like Teenage Gravity” go to waste, so I wrote what I thought fit the title.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The video is just us in the studio arranging the song kind of on the fly. I don’t think it’s the take we used for the record but it’s maybe the one right before that.

The single comes off your new album Let The Bloody Moon Rise – what’s the story behind the title?

It comes from a line in the song “Abaddon Blues” — “if it all goes to hell, let the bloody moon rise,” which just means, you know, if everything’s falling apart, sometimes you gotta embrace that. Not always but sometimes.

How was the recording and writing process?

A lot of it happened at a time when I was very deep in my addiction and mental illness, so it was chaotic. There’s a lot of it I don’t remember clearly. It was such a joy and an honor to be in that band; those guys were my heroes, truly, and I feel like I really squandered the opportunity in a lot of ways. I’m so proud of this record, I feel like there was a lot ahead of that band and I blew it all up. I don’t know if this answers your question, but that’s my answer.

What role does Portland play in your music?

Um, almost none, to be honest. There’s a great, supportive community here in Portland and I have a lot of friends here but most of my songs have been written elsewhere, recorded elsewhere. I’ve made two records at Jackpot! here in Portland because I love Larry Crane and love the gear but that’s about it. I’m not writing “Portland Songs,” whatever those might be. I’d have to go back to the first few Elliott Smith records to find work I really identify as being heavily influenced by Portland, and the Portland that influenced those records, for better or worse, does not exist any longer and hasn’t existed for quite some time. 

You brought a series of collaborators – did you handpick them or how did they come on board? 

The band was myself, Andrew McKeag, Eric Corson, Mike Musburger and Ty Bailie. Record was produced by Kurt Bloch. Like I said, those guys were already my heroes. To have them consider me a peer, and treat me like a peer, was incredible. Everyone else that played on the record — Jeff Fielder, David Immergluck, Mike McCready, Tim Rogers — came to it organically. Either I asked them to play on a song or someone else in the band did. Andrew McKeag introduced me to Fielder and Rogers. McCready stopped by a session to visit Ty and ended up playing on something. Immergluck and I knew each other because Crows had covered my song, etc etc etc. I like making records with my friends. I like involving as many of my art-making friends as I possibly can in making more art. That’s the appeal of the whole gig to me, always has been. 

What did they bring to the table? 

They’re all great players, great arrangers. Tim’s a great songwriter. When I invite friends to work on my records, I’m not giving direction. As a band, we arranged everything together. I might have a suggestion or a general idea but I’m not in the studio telling Andrew McKeag and Mike Musburger what to play, and so it’s the same thing when someone else comes in. It’s just: here’s the track, go for it. I’ve always been pretty happy with the results.

Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own

If I’m making a record, I’m collaborating with someone. At the very least, someone’s probably hitting record and getting the tape rolling, y’know? It’s all collaborative, I’m never working alone, unless I’m writing or editing. 

How did the pandemic influence the writing on this album?

Let the Bloody Moon Rise was written and recorded prior to the pandemic, as was most of the solo record I’ll be releasing next year. I haven’t written any new songs over the last 14-15 months. Been finishing a program to get my MFA so that has been my focus, creatively. 

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I find that a lot of my inspiration, especially over the last few years, comes from reading other writers. Hanif Abdurraqib, Eve Ewing, Clint Smith, Kaveh Akbar, Nabila Lovelace, Nate Marshall, Alison C. Rollins, Brandon Shimoda, Vivian Lee, Ben Purkert, Matthew Olzmann, Zain Aslam, P. Scott Cunningham, Christina Frigo, José Olivarez, Cortney Lamar Charleston, Matt Hart, Melissa Febos. Those folks have provided a lot of inspiration over the last few years, just with the quality of their work.

What else is happening next in Kasey Anderson’s world? 

I have a six-month-old daughter so just being with her, watching her explore everything around her, takes up a lot of my time. A lot and still not nearly enough.

RJ Frometa
Author: RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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