The Paper Chase: Interview with John Congleton

Songs from your past albums don’t really fit in with the iPod generation or shuffle features. You have to hear the whole album to get certain songs. If certain soundscapes from the last album came up on someone’s shuffle feature it wouldn’t make any sense…

The change in style didn’t have anything to do with the iPod generation-I could give a shit. I’m not interested how people are interpreting it on their iPod. It doesn’t concern me in the slightest. But I guess it does slightly serve that audience better.

I read in an interview somewhere that your last album, Now You Are One Of Us, was about dedicating your life to art and wondering if it means anything. Basically, that you can live your life being an artist trying to change people’s lives, trying to wake them up or warn them about how they’re getting screwed over every day. Do you feel like this album is your warning to mankind about their inevitable destruction?

It’s absolutely not a warning. No way. There’s no message behind this record for other people. I just wrote it for me. I mean it sounds like real broad concepts, like I’m trying to convey this major message to people or the most ludicrous thing people have brought up to me is that this album is some sort of ecological commentary and it’s totally fucking not. To me this album is the answer to a lot of questions that I was posing on older albums. There is so much dread, so much concern-like, ‘Oh god things are going to fall apart, what do I do? What can I do to stop it from falling apar?’

This album is, ‘Hey everything’s going to fall apart and that’s cool. Don’t worry about it. It’s okay.’ We are not significant in the way that we feel like we are all the time. And it’s not supposed to be disparaging. You should live a great life and you should experience things and try to make the world a better place, absolutely and try to contribute something to society. But don’t take it too seriously, because in the scope of the universe, we’re just, we’re insignificant and I see true beauty in that, in knowing that we are a part of something way bigger than ourselves. We think that everything we do here on Earth is so significant. And of course it is on this small tiny microcosmic level, but we need to let go and know that there are things way bigger than us. To me it’s a very celebratory album; I know that sounds sickening to some people, but if you pick up a tone of celebration on the album, that’s totally purposeful.