Interview: Vetiver's Andy Cabic

posted July 18, 2008

by Corinne
Photo by Alissa Anderson

Vetiver's Andy Cabic

What made you decide to do an album of covers and how did you select the songs for “Thing Of The Past?”

The album came about as an experiment, an attempt to gather the people I had been performing with live and record songs which were favorites of mine, live in the studio. Some of the tunes were ones we had been performing live and others just ones I enjoyed and thought we could do well.

What differences did you find in recording an album of songs that weren’t your own? Did you feel more of a responsibility to “get it right” so to speak?

I think the temptation to 'get it right' is there no matter whether you wrote the song or someone else did. If anything, I think recording songs someone else has already recorded offers you some kind of road map as to how your version might proceed, in sympathy with or diversion from the original. At any rate, working in the moment, you just follow your instincts and focus on the strengths of what's happening in the studio between everybody and go from there.

I read in your bio that you think “Thing Of The Past” is the best album you’ve made. Have you heard what any of the original artists think of your covers?

Not really, no. I received a MySpace message from Garland Jeffreys, but he didn't really go into what he thought of our version of his song. Hurley seemed to dig what we were doing as we were doing it.

Vetiver always has a number of “guest” members who make appearances. How does the collective work? Do you usually have specific people in mind for certain parts or is it a more casual open door policy?

It is a mixture of both of the approaches you suggested. I don't know how it all just does.

It’s been 2 years since Vetiver’s last album of original material. Are you thinking ahead yet? Can you offer any insight into any new songs?

We've already begun tracking the next album, which should be out sometime next year. It's a mixture of sounds familiar to people who've heard our past albums and some songs which are perhaps more up-tempo and varied from what appeared on past releases. We've been playing a bunch of new stuff at shows, so...if you come see us live you would have a good idea of where the next album is heading.

Who are some underrated bands that you think deserve more attention?

The Bees!

What have you been listening to recently?

The Red Crayola: Kangaroo?
Ratatat: LP3
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci: Blue Trees
Sonoko: La Debutante

If you could have written any song – not on “Thing Of The Past” – what song do you wish you had written and why?

"Sunny Day" by Don Agrati is a wonderful song I never tire of listening to...that might change however if I were to have been the one to have written it. There's a lot about that song and recording worthy of emulation.