It wasn’t Kasey Anderson’s first time playing in Atlanta, but it was our first time seeing him. The show at Eddie’s Addic provided for an enjoyable evening with tunes that stuck with me even after I left the venue. Kasey’s talent, charm, and honesty make him an artist you want to see accomplish great things.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Kasey before his show. Check out the interview below!
In your opinion, when do you write your best music? What state of mind are you in?
Kasey Anderson: A lot of my writing is done alone. So pretty much any time I have time to myself and can write alone. I guess a lot people can write on the road. I’m not one of them. I was talking to Chip Robinson about this the other day, if I know I have to be someone in a couple hours… it’s tough to really get lost and get into that space where you can be creative and not care too much about what is going on around you. So for me, I will typically set aside a time to write. That’s been the most effective for me… to keep jotting down ideas while I’m on the road – then once I get to a place where I’m going to stay for a little while – set aside a chuck of time. I turn my phone off, keep my television off, and keep my laptop closed – which is really tough for me to do.
What happened with Bellingham? Seems like you kinda dislike that town?
Kasey Anderson: I don’t dislike the town… well I do dislike the town. The problem with Bellingham was me. I had fallen into a rut and into a routine, and it’s the same way – it doesn’t matter where you live. To develop a routine, adapt a lifestyle and to come up with an excuse every day to perpetuate the lifestyle… It’s easier when you’re in a small town, because everyone is kind of living the same way. It just becomes this village where everyone else is kind of feeding everyone else’s cycle. So for me, Bellingham is just associated with this 10 year period where I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live. I wasn’t making the decisions I wanted to make. It’s difficult for me to separate the two. As a town itself, it’s a really nice place to go and spend a day in the spring. But you know a day in the spring is a lot different from 8 years.
I have some family up near that area. I’ve only been there twice, but I thought it was beautiful.
Kasey Anderson: It is pretty. That’s how it fools you. You can look out and watch the sunset on the water, and the weather isn’t too bad. There are nice people there, and then there are people there who all care about art – but they all care about bars more. For me, it was tough to live in a town that I felt was full of functioning alcoholics.
I know you still play shows up there. How do the people their respond to your music? Especially your song ‘Bellingham Blues’?
Kasey Anderson: My friends are my friends and they’ll come to my show no matter what. They know that song isn’t about them. It’s not even about the town. It’s just about me and the things we leave behind and the things we choose to carry with us. So the reception has been okay. It’s tough for me to really get the shows covered up there, because 2 of the people who used to be my closest friends run the music publications up there. My ex-girlfriend writes for one music publication, and her best friend writes for the other one. So once she and I broke up and that bridge was burned – I think just kind of subsequently burnt every other bridge that I saw. So going back there and getting anyone to write about the shows is kinda tough. It’s a pretty small amount of collateral damage considering.
I was really interested when I read you were starting your own label to put your album out on. I know a couple other indie artists that are local that are starting this same journey as you with starting their own label and releasing their album on it – what additional challenges have you faced in doing that that you didn’t foresee?
Kasey Anderson: None yet, but I’m finding that it’s a lot more difficult than I expected to not only run the label but also tour behind my own record. It’s really tough to balance. We put out Chip Robinson’s record too, and I want to be sure when we put out anyone’s record that it gets the full attention from everyone at the label… that it gets pushed to press and pushed to retail and everything like that. It’s tough to keep all those ducks in a row when you’re such a small company – we have 4 people working at the label right now. So it’s difficult to keep all that together – and also keep myself together and get from one gig to the next. It’s been difficult to juggle those responsibilities, but I’m trying to learn how to do it. My hope is that in a couple years, my partner will have a little bit more experience with running the label, and I can pass it off to him when I go on tour.
How was SXSW for you?
Kasey Anderson: It was great. We did 5 shows in 3 days or 6 shows in 4 days …. something like that. They were good shows. I got to play with a lot of people I really respect, so for me it was good. I didn’t go out there to… I didn’t expect Universal label to say ‘hey we want to pick up your label and put out your record.’ I just went out there to see friends, play shows and play the festival.
Do you play any covers at your shows?
Kasey Anderson: Yeah I do. I try to play covers that I can lend something of my own to. It becomes a real dangerous line when you’re playing covers between being referential and imitating. And I don’t ever want to imitate anyone. I think that’s really hollow. I was living in Europe for a year with Anna (Kasey’s girlfriend), and I did a record of covers. Just recorded it on my laptop and released it digitally. It’s fun to do covers and just make them your own.
What has been your favorite moment on tour thus far? Your most memorable tour moment?
Kasey Anderson: I really like watching Chip Robinson play every night. He was in a band called the Blacksliders that I really loved when I was younger. His record is phenomenal. He met us in Houston, so that’s been pretty great.
I was thinking about this the other night… what I could remember from this tour, because after awhile they all start to blur together. I’m really bad at keeping gigs straight and days straight – as evident by your SXSW question… But I played inside a train car in Chico. There wasn’t a whole lot of people there, but it was really cool to play inside the train car. Anna took a great picture from behind me that I’ve looked at a couple times. So I think right now, I’ll remember that more than anything else… just being inside this narrow little train car.
Was it in motion?
Kasey Anderson: No it wasn’t in motion [laughs]. We’ve had really good shows. At the beginning of the tour, there was a lot of people at the shows. And, as expected, the farther that we get from home – the more difficult it is to guess and see how many people will be at the shows.
What song on this album would you say is the most personal to you? Or that you feel the most emotionally connected to?
Kasey Anderson: That’s a good question. I feel really emotionally connected to ‘I Was A Photograph’, but that was one was not about me at all. It’s just a song that I’ve written that I’m the most proud of – and that I want people to hear the most. The song that I’m probably the most emotionally connected to is ‘Nowhere Nights’… just because it’s what I talked to you about – about Bellingham, sinking into a routine, and all the lies you tell yourself that perpetuates the routine – then breaking the routine and breaking out of that. There’s a line in the song that there was ‘No great revelation, no blind light, I just stopped sinking into those nowhere nights’ – and that for me is an important line because sometimes you want to over-dramatize a moment of catharsis in your life, and sometimes there’s not that lightning strikes moment. Sometimes it’s just a series of events where you ‘okay, this keeps happening. It’s not a happy or unhappy coincidence. It’s just my own behavior, and that’s what the whole album is about.
Interview By: Emma Loggins
Official Site: Kasey Anderson