Interview with Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes

MAC WILSON: I am Mac Wilson, I can tell you
that Fleet Foxes are in town. They played at the Palace Theatre last night,
and they are performing again tonight, and I am lucky enough to have Robin of Fleet Foxes
in The Current studio right now. Hello, Robin. ROBIN PECKNOLD: Hey, Mac. How’s it going? MAC: Welcome back to town. So, I guess I want to ask out of the gate,
how did the show go last night from your end, and then I’ll give you what some of the buzz
that I heard is. How did you enjoy playing at the Palace last
night? ROBIN: The Palace was great. Yeah, I heard that’s a new spot, relatively
new, and it was like the best kind of combination of like a really nice, old theater but then
still there was like standing room. I’ve heard that people, you know, it’s not
as uptight, maybe. MAC: Indeed. ROBIN: Yeah, the crowd was awesome and we
had a great time playing. Yeah. MAC: So some of the buzz that I got is that
the acoustics, the sound last night, was some of the best that any show has been at the
Palace Theatre so far. So how does the process go for you and Fleet
Foxes sort of sussing out venues? You adjusting to them and then the venue clearly
adjusting to you well. ROBIN: Right. Do you mean in terms of like, indoor, outdoor,
or different sizes or … MAC: Both of you are kind of testing out the
other. You’re testing out a new space, and the new
space [is] adjusting to all different sorts of bands, whether it’s a really uptempo band
like Slowdive or something more focused on vocal harmonies, like Fleet Foxes. So how does the adjustment period go on your
end? ROBIN: Yeah, I mean, I’ll tell you, the show
we played the night before was in Omaha, and that was also really great crowd and we had
a lot of fun, but it was like in the middle of the street and it was kind of an outdoor
thing related to this really cool venue there, and so in that situation you feel like you
have to dance around a little more or kind of like, play to the back row a little more,
whereas last night, it felt a little more — in theaters like that, it does change
how you perform, for sure; the space changes the performance. MAC: And then a couple of nights before that,
you were at Red Rocks — ROBIN: Red Rocks! MAC: — in Colorado playing with Beach House. So what is the Red Rocks experience for an
artist? ROBIN: Oh, man. It was great. Yeah, everyone is really friendly. You can’t really breathe. (laughs) It was interesting because even though
it was this very large amphitheater and it seemed to extend as far as the eye could see. The front row is actually really close to
you, and they’re kind of at eye level; like, there’s no kind of elevated stage. So just as I’m eye level with you right now,
that’s about where the front row is! So it’s a weird combination of feeling like
you’re kind of busking, and then also, you’re busking for like eight thousand people or
whatever it was. But it was fun. It was stressful for sure on our end, but
it was fun. MAC: See, I’ve never been to Red Rocks, and
you’re blowing my mind right now, the idea that you’re performing literally at eye level
like that, I’m starting to freak out. What if I was performing looking somebody
in the eye like that? That’s kind of fun. So, Robin, you got a chance to hang out around
town over the last few days. You went to the Walker yesterday! How was that experience? ROBIN: Yeah, I walked around the Walker for
a while. Yeah, it was great. I mean, you guys are really lucky to have
that place. It’s a beautiful, beautiful institution. MAC: There’s definitely no shortage of places
to go around town. We chatted on the phone a couple of months
ago, right before the release of “Crack-Up,” and I was the one who said whenever I fly
on an airplane, I listen to the first Fleet Foxes record. ROBIN: Yeah! MAC: What have you been enjoying listening
to lately? ROBIN: Lately I’ve been listening to … for
some reason, I mean this is, you know, kind of obvious I guess if you know our music,
but I listen to a lot of like, Sibylle Baier, that “Colour Green” album that was released
like, 10 years ago or something. And I don’t really know why, but it’s very
different than — because tour is great, playing shows and everything — but you do
spend a lot of time in kind of dressing rooms, and there’s something about that album that
is transportative in like a therapeutic way on tour. (laughs)
MAC: We are live on The Current with Robin of Fleet Foxes. Two sold-out shows at the Palace Theatre here
in downtown. Last night was night one, and night two was
tonight. So if somebody went to last night’s show and
they’re heading out tonight, what can they expect to be the same? And what can they expect to be a little bit
different, if anything? ROBIN: What can you expect? Well … maybe, we are playing a different,
some new, different songs tonight. Because I did get a lot of messages where
people were like, “See you tonight, too!” you know? “Hope you play ‘x’ song!” You know. And we’ve been getting that a lot on this
tour, a lot of like, repeat people who have seen four or five shows on the tour, which
is cool. I hope we turn into … we’ll have to change
things up, but get to, like, a Grateful Dead style (laughs), we’ll have to start jamming
more. But yeah, it’s a different, it’s going to
be a slightly different set tonight. MAC: So this song has made its way, the song
that we’re going to wrap up with in a few moments, it’s one that you’ve been performing
solo as part of the encore. What is it about this particular track, “Montezuma,”
that lends itself to that solo performance on stage at the shows? Why this one solo? ROBIN: Um … I guess there are a few songs
on that album, on that “Helplessness Blues” album, that are incredibly personal, but then
they were gussied up with a lot of arrangements and stuff, and so it feels nice to play one
of those songs that is so direct and like, from the heart, just alone. MAC: Well, whether we see you perform it solo
or with the band tonight, we don’t know, it’s going to be a bit of —
ROBIN: We’ll see! MAC: We’ll see when you take the stage at
the Palace Theatre. Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, thank you for
stopping by. Thanks for the great new record as well. Thanks for the great music, and keep doing
what you do. Robin, thanks for coming by today. ROBIN: Oh yeah, thank you for having me, Mac. MAC: So we’re going to hear this song that’s
been making its way into the Fleet Foxes setlists, it is “Montezuma,” on The Current.


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