Siobhán Kane nabbed a quick interview with Mark Kozelek ahead of his performance in St. Canice’s Cathedral on the last night of the Kilkenny Arts Festival this weekend.
Brilliant musician, sometime actor, label boss and songwriter behind Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon takes a few minutes out ahead of his date on the closing night of the Kilkenny Arts Festival at St. Canice’s Cathedral, to answer six questions from Siobhán Kane.
Six Questions With Mark Kozelek:
What are you reading and listening to at the moment?
I only listen to classical guitar records, Segovia, Ana Vidovic, etc. I try to read John Connolly’s novels, but he writes a new book by the time I’m into Chapter Three of his last one. My favourite of his, is The Book of Lost Things. It’s one of my favourite books. I also just read The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans. I loved that.
Two years ago, we talked a little about Ghosts of the Great Highway, and how specifically ‘Gentle Moon’ was influenced by September 11th, but in general that record, like so many of yours was influenced by the historical iconography of America; for example, boxers – and the old stories that go with them – has anything shifted at all in the last couple of years around those themes, or do you think America will forever be your muse?
I love America, not in a conservative type of way. I’m just very happy here. I dreamed about making a living playing music, and that’s what I’m doing. Living here has given me a wealth of inspiration.
You love John Denver so much, how did you find the experience of putting together the tribute record Take Me Home? I enjoyed the diverse contributions from artists like Will Oldham, The Innocence Mission and Low.
Half of the people I approached had never really listened to him, so it was a new experience for them, listening to his catalogue, but he remains a real influence.
Will Oldham seems like a kindred spirit in so many different ways, and you have worked together in different guises over the years, how did you meet?
It’s funny, Will and I met through some bizarre circumstances. coincidentally, we were both promoted by the same Spanish promoter back in 1998, and we talked on the phone about that a few times. We’ve been in touch ever since. I have a lot of respect for Will.
The ethos behind Caldo Verde seems to be about uncovering hidden depths of artists, whether the wonderful Kath Bloom or Alan Sparkhawk’s other project Retribution Gospel Choir. I was very glad you put Kath Bloom’s Thin Thin Line out last year, she is something of a treasure.
She’s one of my favourite people in the world. I don’t care if she never sells another record, she will always have a home at Caldo Verde. I absolutely love Kath Bloom.
You are doing less touring than ever, was that a conscious decision?
Yes, many other musician friends my age just aren’t touring like they did before. For me, it’s because I know what to expect now. It’s gotten old, in a way. On a typical tour, I spend more hours in layovers in airports than I do onstage. It just gets very tiresome and lonely. Guys that leave for three and four months – it’s no wonder why they’ve been divorced six times. It’s very difficult to balance a career in music with your personal life.