Four things we learned from Justin Vernon, a.k.a. Bon Iver, on Q today

Four things we learned from Justin Vernon, a.k.a. Bon Iver, on Q today

Bon Iver coos out his oft-inscrutable songs to a DC crowd (Image: angela n.) 

Justin Vernon, the voice behind Bon Iver, gave a revealing and Canada-praising interview this morning to Jian Ghomeshi on Q. Bon Iver first made its way onto the indie music scene in 2007 when the album For Emma, Forever Ago became an international hit. Since then Vernon has recorded and performed with a number of different collaborators, including Gayngs, Volcano Choir and perhaps most notably Kanye West, whom Vernon supported during Kanye’s headlining performance at the Coachella Music Festival in California. Check out four things we learned about collaborating with Kanye, the latest album and Vernon’s Canuck love life, after the jump.

1. Kanye might be the hardest-working man in showbiz
Vernon spoke with Ghomeshi about his admiration for the work ethic of artists he collaborates with, including Kanye and Ivan Howard of The Rosebuds. “I was inspired by [Kanye’s] work ethic,” Vernon said. “How [Kanye and Ivan] edit, how they work and how they experience what they are trying to put onto tape.”

2. Vernon’s main squeeze Kathleen Edwards likes his tunes
Bon Iver’s lyrics may be opaque at times but Vernon agrees with girlfriend, Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards, who has described his music as leaving lyrical space for listeners to find their own meanings. As Vernon put it on Q, “I think the emotive qualities of music are tied to what the songs are about.”

3. He wouldn’t mind being Canadian, sort of
Ghomeshi gave Vernon the title of “honorary Canadian” due to his laid-back personality and folk-inspired musical style. Vernon, who says he feels an affinity with Canada, having grown up in northern Wisconsin, gladly accepted the compliment and joked, “I kind of wish I was [Canadian].”

4. Despite what his songs might suggest, he’s never seen Calgary
The names of the songs on Bon Iver sound like the names of places, both real and made-up. While one song is called “Calgary,” Vernon maintains he has yet to visit the city. Instead, Calgary “seemed like a place that I felt connected to,” Vernon said. “[It’s] like when you think there’s someone out there that you could be in love with but you haven’t met yet. And [the album] sort of became this metaphor for places you haven’t been yet but you feel like you know.”

Bon Iver plays the Sound Academy on Aug. 8.