AV Fest Cadillac

Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest

Friday, September 19, 2014 Perry

I will always remember my first car. It was a 1968, fire-engine red, Cadillac hearse that my grandfather bought me. It only got 6 miles to the gallon, so I mainly drove it from home to school and back. Nonetheless, I have wonderful memories of cruising in my car in the fall, listing to Death Cab for Cutie's album, Plans, play from my makeshift CD player/portable boom box, sitting on the passenger-side floor. To this day, I feel a twinge of nostalgia when the leaves begin to change.

On Friday, September 5th, Death Cab for Cutie headlined the Hideout Block Party and A.V. Fest, here in Chicago, IL. This two day music festival also featured artists like The Handsome Family, The War on Drugs, Valerie June, and Hamilton Leithauser.

Singer and songwriter, Valerie June, who graced the stage the Saturday of the fest, sat down with us to talk about making music and embracing times of silence.

Halfstack Magazine: Your music seems to dabble in a few different genres. How would you best describe your style of music?

Valerie June: I call it Organic Moonshine Roots Music. It's just American music in its southern most forms. An American artist that comes to mind when you use the word dabble is Tom Waits. What a dabbler!

HS: What inspires you most when writing music?

VJ: I'm greatly inspired by silence. Silence makes me want to make music!

HS:  How did you get involved with this year's Hideout Block Party and Onion A.V. Fest?

VJ:  I reckon it was my Chicago based booking agency, Billions Corporation, ultimately.  But, I was performing a couple years ago at The Hideout with a band called The Wandering.  After sound check, we went upstairs and I was fascinated by Mavis Staples' throne.  They told me she sat in it at the Hideout Block Party.  I secretly planted a wish in that moment to perform for the block party one day!

HS:  Are there any other artists this weekend you are excited to see perform?

VJ: The Funky Meters!

HS:  You have collaborated with other artists, such as Old Crow Medicine show in the past.  What is your favorite thing about collaborating with other musicians?
VJ:  I love learning how other songwriters receive or write tunes.  It's magical!

HS:  If you could work with any musician that you haven’t yet, dead or alive, who would you aspire to make music with?

 VJ:  Now, I can't tell ya all my secrets!  I have a list, but I learned early on in the wishing game that those things you deeply want that seem beyond your reach, you should treat delicately and rarely speak of while they are in the incubator.

HS:  Your latest album, “Pushin’ Against A Stone’ featured a few other artists.  Who worked on the album with you?

 VJ:  Dan Auerbach [of The Black Keys] and Booker T. Jones.

HS:  You were nominated for a Blues Music Award this year for your album, ‘Pushin’ Against A Stone’.  Can you tell us a little bit about that great achievement?

 VJ: Wow!  I'm honored, but I can't really say much besides HUGE THANKS.

HS:  Other than writing and performing music, what other ways do you enjoy spending your time?

 VJ:  Walking, yoga, meditating, baths; I'm pretty up, so I tend to seek calming adventures!

HS:  What can we look forward to next from Valerie June?

 VJ:  I'm working with the Goddess on the future.  It will be as she wishes to see!'

Make sure you check out the full editorial gallery in the Fall issue of Halfstack HERE!

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