[Part 1 of 2] Read Part 2 of the Iron and Wine interview here…
Since The Creek Drank the Cradle, Iron and Wine’s self-produced Sub-Pop 2001 debut, one-man-band Sam Beam has been dazzling fans with subtle vocals, refined arrangements and soulful songwriting about love, life and all the rest of it. Indie music’s own Renaissance man chats about his new album, Our Endless Numbered Days, his newly defunct professorship and the last time he called his mother.
Prefix Magazine: So you’re in Miami, and you’ve been on tour …
Iron and Wine: Yeah, I just got off tour, ready to get back on.
PM: How was the last tour, and, a-hem, why didn’t you tour in San Diego?
Iron and Wine: Why didn’t I tour in San Diego? I didn’t tour in San Diego because I gave my booking agent just a few dates to see what we could get. It was good; it was a good tour.
PM: Any crazy stories, breakdowns, bamboozlements?
Iron and Wine: Nah. My guitar pickup crapped out, but that’s as crazy as it got really.
PM: Sounds under wraps.
Iron and Wine: Yeah, that’s a good thing.
PM: It is, it is. You’ve been on a couple tours. Was that your second?
Iron and Wine: Second West Coast tour, yeah.
PM: Do you plan on going overseas?
Iron and Wine: In about a week.
Iron and Wine: Yeah, we’ll be playing in Spain and the U.K. and some Scandinavian dates as well.
PM: That’s going to be fun.
Iron and Wine: Yeah, it will be fun…
PM: And you’re doing your East Coast tour in June then?
Iron and Wine: That’s right, June and July…
PM: Right on. What kind of things are you sure to bring with you on the road when you’re touring?
Iron and Wine: What kind of band members?
PM: Tokens, good luck charms. You know, like a favorite teddy bear kinda stuff?
Iron and Wine: I think you’re talking to the wrong person. I don’t have a teddy bear; my kids have some teddy bears.
PM: You have kids?
Iron and Wine: I have one, actually two.
PM: That’s wonderful. I didn’t know. Names, ages?
Iron and Wine: Ruth is five and Art is one and a half.
PM: What were you listening to on tour?
Iron and Wine: I listen to all kinds of stuff. On tour, I had that TV on the Radio stuff, that new stuff. A lot of older stuff honestly, all across the board.
PM: Talk about your influences then, and personalities who have inspired you.
Iron and Wine: Well, I mean, honestly my musical taste is pretty wide. Kind of difficult to talk about, ’cause it’s a lot of different stuff, you know? A lot of people talk about Nick Drake, J.J. Cale and stuff like that, which definitely had a big influence on me. But there are a lot of other things as well.
PM: Well, that’s the thing. You know, people kind of put you in a box when your music gets critiqued. But as an artist, I wonder how you feel about being compared to other musicians?
Iron and Wine: It’s fine. I mean, people have to have a way of talking about things that are hard to describe. It’s not a verbal thing, you know what I mean? Whatever they use to describe it, it’s fine with me. It doesn’t really bother me. I mean, you guys have a hard job, you know, trying to describe the sounds we make.
PM: Yeah, because music and language are two different ways of communicating.
Iron and Wine: Right.
PM: I was hoping you could talk about your professorship and its current status and your tour and recording schedule?
Iron and Wine: Well, I just quit.
PM: No kidding!
Iron and Wine: That’s the current status. So, yeah, scheduling will be a lot easier now.
PM: This is kind of like a big, permanent move then?
Iron and Wine: Yeah, it’s kind of crazy.
PM: How long had you been teaching?
Iron and Wine: Oh, about four or five years.
PM: Is that what brought you to Miami?
Iron and Wine: No, actually, I came to Miami for work. I was doing freelance production work for commercials, indie features, stuff like that. That’s how I was making a living, and then my kids came along and I decided to start teaching so I could hang out with them more.
Read part 2 of the interview
‘In the Reins‘ review by Austin L. Ray
Interview with Iron &
Wine (2005) by John MacDonald
Interview with Iron &
Wine (2004) by Gwendolyn Elliott
King‘ EP review by Michael Pollock
‘The Creek Drank the Cradle‘ review
‘Our Endless Numbered Days‘ review
‘The Sea and Rhythm‘ EP review by Gwendolyn
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