"If you think that pop stars are anything other than prisoners, then you are fucking kidding yourself."
Father John Misty (real name Joshua Tillman) is making the promotional rounds ahead of his upcoming album release, Pure Comedy (out April 7). The former Fleet Foxes drummer is no stranger to divulging eerily truthful takes on the music industry, and his new interview with Pitchfork is no exception. The music giant points out he's collaborated for Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey and other influential pop stars. According to him, they request his talent in a bid to express anticonformity.
"OK, let me tell you as someone who made a grotesque foray into this world—because I have also been subjected to this music my whole life and wanted to know how the sausage was made just out of fucking morbid curiosity—there is nothing not wildly audience-tested and calculated about this fucking music. Exempting myself from this conversation, the people who get accused of being calculated? Psht! It’s truly a joke."
"Someone in the indie world is more likely to be accused by other indie people of being over-thinking, calculated psychos, when this whole fucking world of pop music has been [calculated]. It’s all this bourgeois bullshit. It’s neo-Orientalism. It’s basically like, 'Since I’m special and exist in a place of pure exemption, then this thing that the normies like is the working man’s music.' There could not be a more potent form of soft bigotry than that whole thing."
"I get to say this as someone who does not listen to that music in that way. If you asked me: “Have I ever enjoyed pop music?” Yes! Of course. If I am in a dance club and I am drunk and I’m with a beautiful woman or a group of friends, and a fun song comes on, that’s one thing. But you’re talking about people who are talking about this music, sitting at their desks, listening to 100 other songs that are indie songs and going, 'I’m sick of this. This indie shit is too indie. Blegh!'"
"When you lionize pop music, you lionize the very thing that feminism purports to be against, which is a culture of exploitation and overcharging. Which is what cracks me the fuck up when you read these ridiculous puff pieces about how wonderful major-labor pop music is, and the whole fucking industry is run like you actually buy into the idea that that woman that’s onstage, wearing next to nothing, is powerful. Because that is like being a child."
"If you think that pop stars are anything other than prisoners, then you are fucking kidding yourself. I know them. They are crying for help in their music. We think that we’re doing the world a favor by recognizing the innate wholesomeness of this form of music, like, 'Oh, I don’t know, it’s just fun! Something that was made to be liked!” But why do you think that Lady Gaga or Beyoncé would come to old Uncle Jerry over here for songs if they weren’t looking for something? If they weren’t like, 'Get me away from these fucking psychos.' Both of them know I’m not running around looking for these gigs. I’ve just done co-writes with those two people. The only reason it happened is because people played them my music and then they asked me to write for them. It’s as simple as that. I have no interest in doing it."
If you have a minute to sit and read his entire interview, I highly recommend it. Tillman finds himself in a precarious position, because he finds the twisted irony in the biz. Last year, he appeared in Del Rey's "Freak" video. “It was a dream, I’d do anything she told me to,” he jokingly said at the time. “That’s what I enjoyed about the video, just being her puppet. I like being told what to do by a woman in that position.” In other words, pop stars are prisoners in one instance, and commandeers the next.
Also, here's some generic (bomb) pop demos he decided to share. The guy is mad talented, and too smart for his own good.