"As anyone who has ever read anything about me on the internet could tell you, I am a contrarian hipster twat," Josh Tillman says over the phone.
Fortunately for the 35-year-old musician, who performs under the name Father John Misty, this trait makes him an interviewer's dream come true: Tillman is off the cuff, outspoken, funny and, above all, highly quotable. All of which make for great headlines, which Tillman is well aware of when doing interviews. When asked about his recent defence of Nickelback — "I will ride for Nickelback," he told NME, which quickly made its way around the internet — he is quick to acknowledge the obvious.
"I literally wrote my own headline," he says. "But no one heard all the prompts that led to that. … I'm just really sick of this kind of of hair-splitting and fake critical theory jargon that always works its way into things. It's really just gotten to a point where I get asked about some loaded, music current events-viewed thing that is occupying more of people's lives than it should, the point really was just, I don't know man, how bad can it be? Does any band really warrant that kind of lefty pearl-clutching bourgeois rage?"
In response to his own question, Tillman then further defends the Canadian rock group and its 2001 smash hit, "How You Remind Me."
"That song, that period of music, has these dog-whistle cues for me," he says. "Like, I love that lead guitar that is going through the Leslie [speaker] that comes in halfway through. On the breaks, you hear the ring of the snare drum, that is something you never hear on new recordings. Granted now I'm just digging myself deeper. Like the title of this is going to be, 'Noted Crystal Thief and Nickelback Apologist Father John Misty Continues Cultural Crusade.'"
Tillman's problem, he says, is that he's too trusting.
"I get called cynical all the time and yet I'm so innocent and I trust journalists. Like, I'll fall in love with them immediately," he says. "I don't know what it is, I must be damaged, but yeah, it never really works out for me."
Father John Misty's new album, Pure Comedy, is available April 7 via Sub Pop.
— Jesse Kinos-Goodin, q digital staff