Posted by: hankwillenbrink | December 2, 2008

An Interview with Andy Cabic of Vetiver

On Dec. 4, San Franciscans Vetiver are stopping by 21c to bring a live rendition of their excellent 2008 album Thing of the Past.  I got a chance to speak with Andy Cabic on the phone about the tour and not being nostalgic.

BSSB:  Where are you guys at now?

AC:  We’re in Brooklyn rehearsing for the new tour.

How many dates do you have lined up?

I don’t know, I think 15 dates.

Can you talk about your newest album?

That record was an experiment on some levels.  The band I had been playing with hadn’t worked with engineer Tom Monahan yet.  The band had come together before the last original record.  I didn’t have any expectations.  That we had been playing live.

I really loved the Loudon Wainwright track (“Swimming Song”).  I thought I was one of the only people who listened to him.  The album is all covers, can you talk about why you decided to record what you did?

I didn’t put a lot of thought into it.  About a third we had been playing live.  Songs that I liked a lot that were inspiring to me.  I was hoping that people would hear it and get turned on to something new.  I didn’t choose any song that I didn’t think we’d be able to do well.  “Swimming Song” we played on the 2006.  I didn’t have a grand scheme.

There’s something about the new album which seems, and I hesitate saying this, “nostalgic.”  You look at the cover art and the way it sounds, it seems all about nostalgia.  I guess what I’m trying to ask is, do you read Milan Kundera?

I haven’t read him since high school.

Nostalgia is fine.  I don’t intend it in a heavy handed sort of way.  All of those songs are part of my life in the present.  I think it’s more complicated than remembrance of things past.  I played with that in the title.  And with a scene in the cover that has a kind of longing.  I’m not a retro enthusiast that only plays thru analog gear.  By in large I listen to music that is from the 60s, 70s, and 80s and those were the songs that have an element of craft and care to them.  That was an inspiration in how I create all my records.

People have a pool of tradition and awareness and large.  People are listening to music on these ways that have thousands of tunes.  There’s a shuffling of ideas.  I’m just as apt to pull a record from the Slits as I am to queue Townes Van Zandt.  My consideration was the group of people we had.

How you do you surround yourself with people?  Who do you choose?

Usually people are friends are mine.  A family of sorts.  Kevin on the first US tour with Devandra Banhart and Joanna Newsom.  Otto showed up to our shows in Cleveland.  Kevin was filming the tour.  Sandra and B… were friends from NC.  I thought of them bc they were into touring.

Any thing you wanna say to the people of Louisville?

I’m very excited to be coming.  I’ve never been to Louisville before.

We’re excited to see you.
Tickets are $10 in advance ($12 at the door) and are available at the 21c Front Desk and ear-X-tacy. A percentage of ticket proceeds to benefit International Contemporary Art Foundation.

Vetiver – Swimming Song



  1. ahhh! i checked the blog too late! i would have loved to have seen vetiver play here in town!

    how was it?

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