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Interview: Seven Questions For Steve Gunn

Interview: Seven Questions For Steve Gunn

Chris Cudby / Thursday 4th October, 2018 4:16PM

Brooklyn-based guitar-slinger Steve Gunn is back in Aotearoa for a hefty round of shows over the next week, with headline dates including Auckland's Southern Fork Americana Fest this Saturday with Arthur Ahbez, as well as support slots for Martin Phillips' legendary group The Chills in Whangarei and Waiheke Island. The indefatigable former Kurt Vile guitarist has maintained a staggering work ethic, with more than fourteen collections under his belt in just over a decade. Gunn's virtuosic guitar playing on display on his exploratory latest collection Eyes On The Lines (2016) has drawn comparison to the nimble-fingered likes of John Fahey and The Grateful Dead, he kindly spared some time for a quick electronic Q and A about his forthcoming Antipodean adventures...

1. Hi Steve! You were last here in 2017 touring your latest album Eyes On The Lines, what brings you back this time around?

Hi! I’ve been wanting to come back since my last visit, and my friend and promoter Reuben Bonner made it possible for me. I’m thrilled to play a few shows with The Chills and a special show at the Tuning Fork this weekend with Arthur Ahbez.

2. You've described a theme to Eyes On The Lines as "embracing the unknown, and trusting the unknown" - did you discover anything unexpected with the latest album? Or on the flip-side, did you uncover anything unexpectedly familiar?

I’m constantly thinking, exploring, and learning from traveling and playing music.. It’s a bit of a crazy adventure for me, and the songs are the things that reflect this experience.. I’m always finding new things with them.

3. Where have your travels taken you this year + who's performing with you for your upcoming NZ live shows?

I'm just back from a European tour with my instrumental duo project, and am planning some full band touring In the States and Europe starting early next year.

4. What's your songwriting process like? Do you write “on the road”?

I do write while I’m traveling, but I really makes sense if it all when I’m back home with some real time to focus. I come up with a lot of scraps of writing and also guitar bits that I put together. I organise all of it when I arrive home and have some time in my studio.

5. You've released more than fourteen collections in just over a decade - to what do you attribute your hard work ethic? Does it seem like ages since you released your last album (in 2016)?

For years I liked to move from one project to the next, without much stopping. That changed a bit in the past two years, where I’ve been taking more time to compose and record music. I’ve been working on a new album that will be released early next year. It’s been a while since a new album has come out for me. I’ve been keeping busy performing, which has been great, but it was also nice to really take some time to write and record a proper album.. I’m looking for when my new one comes out so I can present some new material.

6. You're playing here alongside some significant local musicians - The Chills, Arthur Ahbez and Michael James Keane - are you familiar with the work of those artists?

I am familiar with the Chills of course, and I met Arthur last year during my last visit. I have since become a big fan of his. I’m looking forward to see Michale James Keane also.

7. Do you have upcoming album in the works? Where are you currently looking towards for creative inspiration?

I have a new album come out in the early part of next year. I’m constantly absorbing the landscapes and characters around me for new material...

Steve Gunn plays at Auckland's Southern Fork Americana Fest on Saturday 6th October, and is playing headline shows in Wellington and Christchurch over the next week - for more info on his tour head over here.

You can catch Steve Gunn supporting The Chills tonight at Whangarei's The Butter Factory, and at Waiheke Island's Artworks Theatre on Sunday 7th October - you can snap up tickets for those shows here.


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