Kurt Vile: “What you’re trying to do when you’re writing a song, with vocals, lyrics and guitar, is to not think at all. Just lay it down fast”

Kurt Vile
(Image credit: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images)

One of the most cruel misfortunes to befall musicians of any stripe is when the memory fails just as their inspiration and abilities converge at the summit of their creative Kilimanjaro. Our best ideas are often the most perishable, first to evaporate if we don’t document them.

Kurt Vile is alive to the danger. He takes every precaution, booby-trapping his home studio with recording devices to ensure those song ideas get committed to something more reliable than the grey matter. The ideas might not seem like much in the moment, but that’s okay – because sometimes there’s gold right there, just waiting to be extracted.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.