Interview Outtakes: Son Volt's Jay Farrar
In this week's paper, I interviewed Son Volt's Jay Farrar. SV's latest, American Central Dust, arrived in stores last week. He spoke about song inspirations (and a forthcoming project with Ben Gibbard) in print; below find more talk about side project Gob Iron, and the connection between Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt's new label, Rounder Records. For other tidbits about the band, Son Volt drummer Dave Bryson's blog is recommended (and hilarious) reading. It wouldn't be out of the ordinary to find photos such as this one (it'll be explained below):
(Jason Hutto on a dinosaur, courtesy Son Volt's blog)
Annie Zaleski: When I talked to you in late 2007, you said a Gob Iron record might be in the works. What's the latest on that?
Jay Farrar: That is more in the long-term works, but yeah, it's been going on now for at least a year and a half, and I think it's gonna go on a little longer. We did just do some more recording in Brooklyn a couple months ago. Hopefully that will see the light of day soon.
You guys are on Rounder now. And I read that the first person you met with was instrumental in booking Uncle Tupelo years ago. Is that someone from St. Louis?
He was in California, his name's Troy. He's no longer at the company, but when I first was in contact with Rounder, he was there. I was amazed to find out that yeah, he was in fact the guy that first gave Uncle Tupelo their first shot at a major booking agent. He brought Uncle Tupelo to the attention of Frank Reilly, who still [books] Son Volt.
It's a small world. I like Rounder, all the records they've put out in the half-decade or so. Theyr'e an interesting label - you never know who they're going to sign.
Yeah, they've shown a long-term commitment to the music that they believe in. I know they've been offered to be bought out by major labels, and they have not done that. I like that aspect as well.
What do you feel that Joe Henry's mixing brought out of the tunes?
I got to know Joe in the early '90s when Uncle Tupelo did some dates with him. I got to hear some of the work he had done on the Solomon Burke record, Don't Give Up on Me, and I thought his attention to detail on that record was really good. Joe also worked with a mixer/engineer, Ryan Freeland, who has pretty much experience as well. They're a good team.
[Phonocaptors/Walkie Talkie U.S.A. leader] Jason Hutto has been your guitar tech for years. What did he add to the record?
[Laughs] He added the Hutto spirit, I guess. [Laughs] [Editor's note: See above.] He did actually help with the engineering as well, it was a team engineering effort. [Long-time collaborator] John Agnello started out, then [current guitarist] Mark Spencer did a lot and [current guitarist] Chris Masterson and Jason helped out with engineering as well. It was a team approach to engineering this time.