2010 Artist Survey Bonus Answers: Sharon Van Etten | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2010 Artist Survey Bonus Answers: Sharon Van Etten

Jan 18, 2011 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar’s 8th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2010. However our printed pages weren’t enough to hold all the great responses we got. Pick up a copy of Under the Radar’s Year End issue for interviews with: The Antlers, Bon Iver, Caribou, Club 8, Delphic, Rose Elinor Dougall, Gayngs, Hot Chip, Lost in the Trees, Love is All, The Love Language, Mogwai, of Montreal, Okkervil River,Yoko Ono, Owen Pallett, Plants and Animals, Mark Ronson, Superchunk, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Sharon Van Etten, and Vivian Girls. Then check here for bonus responses not found in the magazine. Here are additional answers from Sharon Van Etten.

What are your hopes and plans for 2011?

My hope is to finish recording a new record. My plans are to do a U.S. tour, play in Spain, and then do my first Japan tour… and spend time with my family. I am afraid they think I have forgotten about them.

What are your thoughts on President Obama’s job performance in the last year? Has your optimism, if you were an Obama supporter, waned?

Obama is the most honest man we’ve had in office in my lifetime. I think because he is so honest and reasonable that people are disappointed by his rationality and purposeful compromising. He was left with a lot of problems, and he is doing his best, and honestly, to fix the mistakes that are going to take a long time to heal.

What are your thoughts on the Tea Party movement?

Ridiculous, extreme, and so old fashioned.

With the Internet making every artist’s music potentially available to a wide audience, is it now easier to find listeners or more difficult because you have to compete with so many other musicians?

It’s easier for people to find you, just as easy as it is for people to forget you because of the constant influx of new music.

Who would you rather listen to—a totally original musician whose compositions are groundbreaking but difficult to listen to or a musician whose songs are immediately enjoyable but derivative? Why?

I like it all. I think most music is derivative and I think it’s okay. We are all influenced by what we listen to and it seeps into our subconscious. I like Keane as much as I do Grizzly Bear. That’s not to say there isn’t a way to find middle ground. Julianna Barwick can draw influence from church choirs and have an original take on vocal-centered music. Just as Lower Dens can be garage-y and du-wop influenced and still have a darker pop edge.

In the race to find new bands, are too many unworthy bands being hyped up by music blogs and websites? How are music fans supposed to filter through all these new bands being hyped?

As much as I am annoyed by trends and what “is cool right now,” even that influences people or makes more people rebel against what is popular. People are always going to like what they like, what lasts for more than a few years will probably last decades and outlive the digital age of singles.

If your house was on fire, what would you grab as you were running out?

My computer and/or phone. All of my personal belongings are in storage.

Have you ever been starstruck when meeting another musician? If so, by who?

Jeff Mangum. I played a benefit concert for Chris Knox with him and it took me until after the show to shake his hand. And I only really said six words. Eek!

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you?

Hmmm, a stranger walked up to me in a town I had never really been to before and handed me their cell phone, saying a close friend of mine was on the phone. Turned out my friend told this person about my music and he recognized me from pictures and called her to find out if it could possibly be me.

What or whom do you miss most when you’re touring?

A home. Quiet. Being alone.

Do you (or did you) have any pets? If so, can you tell us about them? Who takes care of your pets while you are on tour?

I had a cat name Linus. But I had to move so I could tour more easily. My old housemate, Sarah, an angel, is still with Linus. I miss him very much. He’s a stud!

If you could freeze time, what would you do?

Freeze time?

What are your thoughts on chillwave? Do you feel that it’s a legitimate genre/movement or something simply created by music journalists? In general, do you feel that most scenes/movements are organic or are created by the media?

I am not sure I know what that means. Whatever’s cool right now? There’s too much of it.

In 2010, what was the best movie you saw, book you read, comic book you read, video game you played, and/or TV show you watched?

Shoot, I am a little behind, but I read Anaïs Nin’s Little Birds, which helped to keep me from being too lonely on the road.

If you had a bucket list, what would be the Top 4 things on that list?

1. Go to Egypt.

2. Skydive.

3. Learn to play pedal steel.

4. Have a month/year alone in a cabin.

When you think of the future, what scares you most?

Having my life planned out for me.

What do you predict will be the next big social change?

It won’t be social at all; it will all be revolving around the Internet. No one will go out except to bars.



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