At first glance, Kurt Vile seems like your typical scraggly-haired, Southern-bred stoner rocker. In reality, however, he's a responsible family man and a focused businessman. He doesn't really smoke pot, and he's not even from the South.
While his sound may be inspired by the folk tunes of the Deep South, Vile is actually a bona fide city kid, raised in Philadelphia. (Turns out, that trademark drawl in his songs isn't nearly as pronounced in regular conversation.)
Earlier this year, Vile released his fifth album, Wakin On a Pretty Daze, whose hazy, psychedelic lo-fi sound is consummate Kurt Vile. His vision for the record was loftier than his past efforts, though.
"I definitely had some kind of epic theme going," he explains, considering his catalog. "I was excited to take that even further with Wakin. I wanted it to be a deep and epic record."
For Vile, music is the only path for which he feels fit. So he makes it work.
"I'd be depressed if I ever had to go back to a day job," he admits. "But I'm pretty sure I'll be able to control my music career so I won't have to do that."
"No," he emphasizes. "I'm not going to have to return to a day job, because music is my... thing."
It's his "thing," indeed. Wakin on a Pretty Daze is a captivating masterpiece on which Vile explores universal themes, like love and loyalty: "I will promise to do my very best for you," he sings, in "Too Hard." "And that won't be too hard." Vile's lyrics have become more personal over time, which isn't coincidental; his family hugely inspires his songwriting.
"It's a massive world out there," he says, of Wakin's heavy themes. "I mean, it's not, like, total doom, but, it goes back and forth... all the time," he laughs.
Vile is currently touring in support of Wakin; he and his band, The Violators, play Houston for the first time on November 6th.
He's taking a more serious approach with this tour, rehearsing with his band beforehand -- which, apparently, is a new thing.
"Rehearsals," he says, bemused by his own progress. "We're all professional now... but we'll see the outcome," he laughs. "No guarantees."
Kurt Vile & the Violators play Walters Wednesday with Beach Fossils, VBA and Merchandise. Doors open at 7 p.m.
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