Also a peculiarity in times of Zoom interviews: Before we can start our conversation, Will Oldham, as the "Prince" is called in real life, and Matt Sweeney have to go to the toilet one after the other, but listen to each other's answers from there. Partly because of this quirky opening, a relaxed chat with the two indie icons unfolds.
eclipsed: Will, you're an artist who has done a lot of collaborations with a wide variety of musicians in your long career. What is it that appeals to you so much?
Bonnie "Prince" Billy: It's just the creative environment that I come from. I'm from Louisville/Kentucky and was active in the hardcore scene there from an early age, first as a teenage fan of course. And then you just met people like Steve Albini and communicated with them normally, you were part of a whole at concerts, hung out with the musicians after the gigs, exchanged ideas, and that's how you grew into it. That communal experience of music was extremely influential on me, even when I started writing songs and playing live myself.
Matt Sweeney: Interestingly enough, I felt the same way, even though I'm from New Jersey. But even then, I was an active part of the hardcore scene and grew into it just as Will did, even though I stayed with the hardcore sounds longer.
eclipsed: So that sense of community directly affects the creative process as well?
Billy: When I was a teenager I went to a Prince concert, that was on the "Purple Rain" tour. And there I saw what I didn't want: distance to the audience, huge hall, no communication, shit sound. Then I was at a Dinosaur Jr. concert when they had their first record out. I met the guys on the road the next day and got to talk to J Mascis about why his hair looks so weird and what he puts in it. They had some fourth guy with them called Archie. I asked him, "What's your part?" And he just said, "I'm the sun, man." And sure enough, he was the sun on the cover. For me, as stupid as it may sound, that was a key moment, because that's the only way the creative process works - when you connect all the particles