It’s hard to believe but Bon Iver’s debut album For Emma Forever Ago first came out in 2007. It received a wider release in early 2008 through JagJaguar. Since then, Justin Vernon has collaborated with Kanye, joined a soft-rock band (Gayngs) and started another project that no-one can remember anything about without Googling it (Volcano Choir). After getting his old band DeYarmond Edison back together for a brief SXSW appearance, Vernon talked to Rolling Stone about the followup.
The album, as yet untitled will be due in June but it seemed to be a battle for Vernon to work on: “Somewhere along the line, I forgot how to write songs. I couldn’t do it anymore with a guitar. It wasn’t happening.”
So Vernon – who wrote For Emma while holed up by himself in rural Wisconsin – changed gears, working with studio musicians, trying to build sounds rather than songs. “I brought in a lot of people to change my voice — not my singing voice, but my role as the author of this band, this project,” says Vernon, who hired well-known players like sax man Colin Stetson, who plays with Tom Waits and Arcade Fire, and pedal-steel guitarist Greg Leisz, who recorded with Bill Frissell and Linda Rondstadt. “I built the record myself, but I allowed those people to come in and change the scene.”
The opening track on the record, which is called ‘Perth’ is said to feature “a marching drum beat, a childrens’ choir and wailing guitars”.