Father John Misty: “I write as little as I have to and pray it makes sense”

Storytelling in character, putting on his dancing shoes and being inspired by Lana Del Rey, here’s a quick back-and-forth with Father John Misty.

Returning with his first new album since 2018’s ‘God’s Favorite Customer’, Father John Misty is back with his latest record ‘Chloë and The Next 20th Century’, due for release this Friday (8th April).

Removing himself from the narrative this time around, his latest - as we said in our review of the record - “prioritises more character-driven flights of fancy, often bolstered by a twinkling, orchestral palette that only further uproots the record from the grim trudge of reality.”

To mark the occasion, we went to the source and sent some questions to find out a little bit more about the record, working with Lana Del Rey, and whether we can expect any on-stage dance moves from him on his forthcoming world tour…

There’s a sense of old Hollywood theatricality to the likes of ‘Chloë’ and ‘Funny Girl’ - what was inspiring you to embrace those sort of ideas?
The challenge of pulling off something like this with a really small group was very inspiring. Arrangements like Drew [Erickson]’s are very reactive and allowed me to tell a certain kind of story I found amusing.

What was the most creatively fulfilling part of making this record?
I can’t really make any kind of defence or case for the record. I can’t tell you why it should exist. To find yourself so totally committed to making something you don’t understand at all is very fulfilling.

You’re playing a selection of shows with a full orchestra to tour this album - combined with the album cover, can we expect a full Fred Astaire moment from you on these live dates?
My friend connected me with someone who’s title I think is “renowned movement specialist”. We had a phone call, I sent him the album and some live performances and never heard from him again.

Would you agree that this is the record of yours where you’re least often the main character? If so, why did you make that choice?
Your personal life just can’t go on one-upping fiction.

There are often very specific stories that unfurl in your songs - such as the narrative of ‘Q4’ - do you create a wider storyboard or world around them to get it to that point?
I write as little as I have to and pray it makes sense.

Would you ever consider writing a sitcom / novel / something longer form?
The sitcom was a disaster and the novel got kneecapped by a movie that came out in 2018. I wrote a poem a few years ago that was OK.

What do you think Lana Del Rey adds to her version of ‘Buddy’s Rendezvous’?
Aside from lots of ineffable singing-things that a real singer can bring to a song, she’s got some incredible ad-libs in there. I gave myself one at the end of my version. Any one of hers you could have built a whole song around. Love her.

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