The End: Kevin Barnes from of Montreal on Endings and Death

"I think having a grand piano or a Chinese satellite or something crush me from the sky, when I wasn't paying attention, would be an okay way to go."

Jan 06, 2017 Issue #58 - The Protest Issue
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To end out the week, we ask of Montreal frontman/main creative force Kevin Barnes some questions about endings and death. Last year the ever-prolific Barnes released his 14th of Montreal studio album, Innocence Reaches, via his longtime label Polyvinyl. The album was partially recorded in Paris, where Barnes lived at a friend's home studio for two weeks, and is the follow-up to 2015's Aureate Gloom. Barnes has usually found himself detached from contemporary music, but for Innocence Reaches he was inspired by modern electronic music, indie pop, and EDM, citing such current influences as Chairlift, Arca, and Jack Ü. The album is a bright and danceable indie pop beacon, with tracks that hark back to earlier of Montreal pop gems such as "Disconnect the Dots" and "Suffer for Fashion," but with a more modern sheen. Innocence Reaches' funky first single, "it's different for girls," is something of a feminism anthem, as Barnes laments some of the challenges the fairer sex face. Considering of Montreal has averaged a new album every year or two for the last 19 years it's astounding how consistent and delightful the band's catalogue remains, a trend that continues with Innocence Reaches. Read on as Barnes discusses how he'd like to die, what song he'd like played at his funeral (and whom he'd like to perform it), his concepts of heaven and hell, and his favorite endings to books, movies, and TV shows.

How would you like to die and what age would you like to be? 

I think having a grand piano or a Chinese satellite or something crush me from the sky, when I wasn't paying attention, would be an okay way to go. That could really happen whenever and I'd be okay with it, as long as I had remembered to leave the seat down that morning.

What song would you like to be playing at your deathbed? 

King Tubby: "Zion Gate Dub."  

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?

"Hurdy Gurdy Man" sung by Joanna Newsom slowed down, chopped and screwed style. I want it excruciatingly slow, like the speed of a species evolving.

What's your favorite ending to a movie?

The Lobster, because the airplane landed just before the movie ended and I don't know what happened. 

What's your favorite last line in a book?

"Somebody threw a dead dog after him down the ravine." - Under the Volcano [by Malcolm Lowry].

What's your favorite series finale of a TV show?

I love TV. What did Seinfeld say at the end of that series? "Kramer you fucking fuck!? Ohhh...okay...no it is okay Kramer."

What's your favorite last song on an album?

William Onyeabor: "Fantastic Man." 


What's your favorite last album by a band who then broke up?

Joe Meek and the Blue Men's I Hear a New World.

What's your favorite way a band broke up?

Joe Meek murdering his landlady and then killing himself 

Whose passing has most affected you?

Definitely Prince's. 

If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?

Zohydro and a TCBY parfait that they'd drop before handing to me.

What's your concept of the afterlife?

I don't think I really have one. There was a time when I imagined that we all turned into energy and got recycled back into the collective life force energy of the universe. I don't imagine it that way any more. I'm leaning more towards feeling like Earth life energy is temporary and when we die we dissolve into nothingness. We're too polluted to get recycled. Or maybe we're just the end of energy. Our lives are where celestial energy goes during its last cycle. That is why were so fucked up-we have to function on dirty energy. 

What would be your own personal version of heaven if it exists?

An all encompassing absentmindedness and vacantness-no ego, no identity, no personality, no senses, no desires, no interests, no potential, no dynamics, no passion, no stasis, no imagination, no being, no feelings, and everyone closed-mouth smiling with dead eyes.

What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?

Forcing me to watch a production of Cats while periodically making the sound of an overhead compartment in an airplane being closed really close to my ears.

If reincarnation exists, who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?

Miami Subs. 

What role or achievement would you most like to be remembered for?

Never learning how to whistle. 

What would you like your last words to be?

Eidolon eidolon. 

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar's August/September/October 2016 Issue. This is its debut online.]

www.ofmontreal.net

 



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