fictionalize you life

We can go wherever we please and everything depends upon how near you stand to me

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interviews, conversations

Le troisième album de Rivulets est intitulé « you are my home ». Il a la fragilité assumée d’un roseau pensant.

Telle musique ne s’impose pas aux oreilles ni aux corps pour leur imposer son rythme, elle demande au contraire de baisser les défenses afin de s’autoriser à en suivre les méandres des titres les plus simples où la voix et la guitare suffisent « Glass house » le premier morceau), aux titres plus électriques (d’une électricité orageuse) comme « Happy Ending ». Ce troisième album n’a peut-être pas la pureté du premier, sorti sur le label de Low, Chairkickers, en 2002, mais on y entend toujours le crissement des doigts sur les cordes, quand tant d’autres croient bien faire en l’éliminant à l’aide d’un traitement informatique. Nathan a choisi fort justement de ne pas tricher pour garder toute l’intégrité du son. Alors, un mot arrivé avec un retard infime sur le temps, une note de guitare inattendue, ces détails imperceptibles depuis la surface des choses, une fois surpris au fil d’une écoute attentive, feront du disque un indispensable.

Quelques mots échangés avec Nathan Amundson, après un concert au d:qliq à Luxembourg.

Do you have any role models who inspire you?

I don’t really have role models. I draw my inspiration from… real life maybe. “You are my home”, that song is on the new record. It’s all about one person.

How important for you is the place where you live?

Right now I live in Bloomington but before I lived in Chicago, and before that, Minnesota, and before that, Oregon. I grew up in Alaska but I was born in Colorado. Home is not very important.

When does your interest in music date back from?

A lot of my friends had labels and bands so I got interested in what they were doing.

I think at some point around 2000, I was working (a dumb office job, paperwork) and they fired. I started Rivulets and made a decision at that point.

In an interview you said that sometimes life on the road is hard and you wonder why you started touring in the first place.

Oh, did I? It doesn’t make any sense but to me it’s like a sickness. I feel more alive when I’m on tour. I’m never happier in my life than when I’m on tour.

I like seeing different places. On this tour we’re going to a bunch of places we’ve never been before. That’s pretty exciting. We started in 2002 so I guess it’s the fifth time maybe that we’re going on tour.

It’s different every night but on the best nights the same energy we had at first is still there.

What are your best memories on the current tour?

This year, well, Brussels was really good. My friend owns a shop in Koln in Germany that sells handmade crafts, vegan cupcakes and coffee. I played there and I enjoyed that show. Nathan (Vollmar) didn’t play. I just sat on a chair, with no amp and just played. There was no pressure.

Sometimes it’s just nice to sit on a chair and play songs like you would have at home.

Do you have any kind of “magic thought” when you have something difficult to do?

I just try to be honest and play the show. If people like it or don’t like it it’s not really up to me because I’m just doing what I do. It’s out of my hands.

If people don’t like it, I don’t feel super bad because it’s not for them. It’d be great if it was for them but…

Where do you write songs?

I write some of my songs on tour.

I wrote the last record almost entirely at my father’s house. I’d been in hospital and went to my father’s house. I stayed there for a while and I wrote all these songs and that became the new record.

Do you collect anything?

Chocolate, when I was in Belgium I ate some chocolate waffles. Great.

What do you like doing in your free time?

I watch a lot of movies. I walk a lot. I walk 3 miles a day.

When I’m walking I listen to the kinks, my friends’ music…

I listened to “Stars of the lid” a lot (on Kranky) before I left on tour.

I like watching movies but not on tour. I like documentaries, independent films, directors like Lars von Trier, Dogma…

When and where do you most like to listen to music?

Headphones. I’ve got big studio headphones. I look like an alien and I walk around.

Do you have special memories about special records?

There’s one called “Geek the girl” by Lisa Germano. I bought it and sold it 3 or 4 times before I finally got it and now it’s one of my favourites.

And also Big star’s “Third”, a record I would buy and I couldn’t really get into it so I would get rid of it. I’m always getting rid of stuff.

What else do you listen to, what records make you happy?

The harder they come”, by Jimmy Cliff is a really good happy record. I listen to a lot of Kranky stuff, Labradford, Low. As a teenager, the Cure, the Smiths, Morrissey, Bauhaus, Sisters of mercy.

Who’s your favourite monster?

Frankenstein right now because it’s not his fault. They just made him. He’s dumb, right, and he does all these things but I feel like he has a good heart. He’s put into a situation that he has no control over, then they all come after him, they want to destroy him and he’s like “grr. I’m alive. I didn’t ask for this”. That whole Frankenstein story is sad really.

Who’s your favourite superhero?

Batman because I really like the Frank Miller books from the 1990s. Before that he had grey and blue tights, he became very heroic. Frank Miller reinvented Batman, this guy who is a troubled character. He’s not like Superman who can’t be killed. He’s just a human being who’s really fucked up. He thinks the best thing to do is go out and fight crime in a suit. He’s crazy.

If you could be in somebody else’s shoes for one day?

A kid in India.

What have you learned recently?

I’ve learned a really good joke from Nathan (Vollmar) who plays drums:

Do you know why Snoop Dogg always carries an umbrella?

For drizzle.

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