Bon Iver’s released a few records that’ve generally racked up acclaim across a scale of “boring, but I get why people get it” to “simply the most ineffable expression of human anything I’ve ever heard, and I’m sobbing as I type this.” So, yeah, people like the band, and Justin Vernon—the dude behind the band —even more. But they might not be around for too much longer; talking to The Current, a Minnesota radio show, Vernon was fairly candid when asked what the band is up to.
Winding it down. I look at it like a faucet. I have to turn it off and walk away from it because so much of how that music comes together is subconscious or discovering. There’s so much attention on the band, it can be distracting at times. I really feel the need to walk away from it while I still care about it. And then if I come back to it – if at all – I’ll feel better about it and be renewed or something to do that.
Vernon isn’t the first acclaimed artist to claim he’d retire for whatever reason there is, and we’ll definitely believe his assertion when we see it. Judging from the rest of the interview, ambiguity re: Bon Iver has been a part of his mindset for a while. Answering another question about the nostalgia element in the band’s music, he responded:
People like to define themselves based off of their experiences or their root system, you know. Sometimes they feel like they can’t change things. And to be honest with you, before I started making that first Bon Iver record I was kind of thinking about giving up on music, just allowing it to be a hobby. Maybe I wanted it too bad, and I think that that process of sort of opening myself up to this vast possibility of letting go of the most important thing in my life allowed me to understand how important it was to not do that. And I just, I had to face stuff.
The whole interview is fairly interesting if you couldn’t tell from the excerpts; big ups to the Current’s Andrea Swensson for dredging up such thoughtful responses, though I imagine Vernon is one of those dudes who’s always capable of letting loose with the personal stuff. (See: his entire discography.)