Some videos from the Scott Hutchison tribute concert, featuring performances from Aaron Dessner, Julien Baker, Ben Gibbard, Craig Finn, and Kevin Devine have been shared online. I’ve put them into a video playlist.
“I Wrote It Down For You” started on bass before I transferred it to guitar for recording and live performance, and the approach was inspired by this song and the ’50s girl-group songs which inspired it. The “bomp / bomp-bomp / BA” percussive energy, the sweetness (and slight idiosyncratic twist) of the lyric, the way it moves itself along, classic-feeling, unencumbered by itself, making room for what’s being said. That felt like the clear priority for this song: directness, a platform for the lyric, the melody, the feeling.
I got to play everything that’s on there. Everything that’s on there is just me. And that’s something I have a lot of fun with. I don’t elect to do it all the time, because usually there’s someone who can do it better than me, certainly on drums and piano. But it was fun to get to do that with this. If you don’t die or quit or give up, I think you’re always trying to get a little bit better at something in your career.
My biggest problem is that if I don’t want to feel something, I don’t feel something. I’ll just be like, I’m not going there right now. I have too many things to do. And I’ll just compartmentalize and not deal with whatever it is, but in order to be able to write I have to access every emotional part of my brain. So when we’re writing, if I’ve been doing that lately, if we’ve been dealing with a lot of stress or if something’s been going on in my personal life, it’ll come out when we’re writing.
“If I can not release a record for a few years, I would really like that,” says Devine, who has an eighteen-month-old daughter at home in Bay Ridge. “I have that Bad Books band with the Manchester Orchestra guys, and I do think it is likely — not guaranteed, but likely — that there would be a Bad Books record before there would be a Kevin record.” But Devine’s work ethic probably won’t stop him from focusing on music entirely: He’s admittedly restless. He’s always working on music, but he’s without a concrete plan for the first time in ages, and that’s fine by him.
So, for the foreseeable future, I’ll be touring as a member of Brand New, playing guitar & singing harmonies. I’ve been playing music with & around Brand New in various ways for basically our entire careers; I love & am proud of them, think they’ve made a(nother) dynamic, special record, and take seriously the opportunity to perform as a part of their band, to help execute their vision & hopefully augment their already plenty-formidable stature. (It’s also really fun.) The reason for saying anything in public is to share that I’ll be quieting down the KD world for a while. There will still be a handful of odd shows here & there, and a few non-tour- or proper-record-related projects, but it feels good to do something else, take stock & decide what comes next, and “go away” a bit in some core sense. That’s it.
Thanks as always & be good to each other – these are scary, brutal, psychedelic times, but you’re not alone.