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Three questions with Kurt Vile

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He calls his approach “the subconscious domino effect.”
Matt Kelemen

You’re spending most of July touring Europe. Which songs from [latest album] B’lieve I’m Going Down are audiences responding to the most over there? “Dust Bunnies” and “[I’m an] Outlaw.” … I will say that a lot of songs from [2013’s] Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze sound better live than on record, better than they did when we toured them during that session. Songs like “Gold Tone.” I think the songs are like spiritual jazz. When you play live nonstop you can either play them the same or you can mix it up.

One thing that hits you right away when you listen to this music: There’s an authenticity to it. It doesn’t feel calculated at all. I think you’ve called it “the subconscious domino effect.” Did you ever used to overthink songs? Sure. Studios can be really frustrating because a lot of the music, especially when you’re on a roll … there are times when you get stuck on a song. Ultimately you step back and you’ll know if you’ve been thinking too much or you’ve just gone too far.

Do you think the way you approach composition comes out of learning to play finger-style guitar, like practicing patterns repetitively? My style of fingerpicking is a little effortless, but the hypnotic thing … I feel like things come by osmosis. I don’t look into this whole new style or jump too far from what I’ve been doing. It kind of all evolves on its own, you know?

Kurt Vile & The Violators With Your Friend. August 15, 7 p.m., $20-$35. Brooklyn Bowl, 702-862-2695.

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