November 27, 2007

Delayed in America, Gonzalez enjoys his critical acclaim

LEO: Your cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats” made quite an impression. Is covering/reworking another group’s material something you make a habit of doing?JG: Yeah … I haven’t done that many. I liked it at first, because I didn’t have that many songs. It’s an easy way to fill the different releases with more music, since I’m such a slow writer. It’s all right. There are so many artists. I don’t feel like I’m the only one that’s becoming known through other people’s music.LEO: How analytical is the songwriting process for you?JG: I tend to think a lot, just because it doesn’t come naturally. With this album (In Our Nature), I’ve been sitting down and playing guitar over and over for many weeks. I guess you become very conscious about it.LEO: Veneer was technically released four years ago, but the States took a minute to latch onto it. What do you make of this delayed reaction to your material?JG: It’s funny how it works. Many times, it depends on (record) labels, people who worked on the album, and if I’m in town doing interviews or not, or if radio picks up on one of the songs.With the States, I remember it came out on Hidden Agenda, a really small label. Not that much happened. Outside of Sweden, it’s been mainly “Heartbeats” that took it to the mainstream level. It was played on some of the talk shows.It’s curious to see that something I wrote in 2001 and finished in 2003 felt new for people. It’s comical. It’s not that really time-dependent; it’s the impression that people get from music that makes it feel newer or older.LEO: Lots of artists say after their debuts that they never want to make the same record over again. Do you think that there’s any truth to that, and is that something you tried to do on In Our Nature?JG: I felt like I wanted to keep a similar feeling to it. Although, of course, I didn’t want to write the same songs twice. I felt like it’s something that I wanted to continue exploring: just one guitar and vocals, partly because that’s what I’m good at. I picture myself doing at least three records in the same vein. For me, this album is different from the old one. I always get happy when Dinosaur Jr. puts out something — they basically sound the same since the first album. I don’t feel like it’s necessarily a bad thing that it sounds similar. Contact the writer at mherron@leoweekly.comJose Gonzalez soloSaturday, Dec. 1ear X-tacy1534 Bardstown Road452-1799www.earx-tacy.comFree; 6 p.m.w/ Cass McCombs and Joe ManningThe 930 Listening Room930 Mary St.www.the930.org$15; 8 p.m.