TF Archives

Vetiver - Knitted Tales

Author: Cyclone
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

3D's Cyclone chats to Andy Cabic of indie folk quintet Vetiver, who've just released their fourth album through Sub Pop.

Folk music, once dismissed as a relic from the hippies' Age of Aquarius, is cool again. Even the fidget house Sinden is listening to it. Perhaps it's because, with so much doom, and environmental decline, folk reminds us of what's been lost.

While they're yet to break through on the scale of Seattle's Fleet Foxes, Vetiver have courted a diverse grassroots following. Led by Andy Cabic, the band are now up to their fourth album, Tight Knit, with more gorgeous artwork. It's also Vetiver's first outing on Fleet Foxes' label, Sub Pop, previously associated with grunge.

Vetiver appear prolific but, as the main songwriter, Cabic doesn't see himself as such. 'It's a challenge just to finish writing songs,' he demurs. 'I really don't find myself to be that way. I certainly know people who I would categorise as prolific, but it's taken me two years between records. Trying to keep writing good records and not cutting corners or being hasty about anything I find a challenge of its own.'

Originally from Virginia, Cabic spent time in Greensboro, North Carolina as a member of the indie band The Raymond Brake prior to moving to San Francisco. Here, aside from joining disco rock outfit Tussle, Vetiver crystallised five years ago. Indeed, Vetiver is Cabic's vision, existing as a fluid collective. Most of the touring band are based on the East Coast, but Andy maintains it's not necessarily a complication. 'Nothing I do is terrifically hard,' he says wryly.

Vetiver are closely connected to other neo-folksters, notably Devendra Banhart. Joanna Newsom guested on 2004's eponymous LP, as did Mazzy Star's elusive Hope Sandoval. Andy may say that he's not issued an album for two years, but a covers collection, Thing of the Past, materialised last year. Vetiver are reviewed in the occasional dance magazine, their music readily falling into 'chill-out'. How does Cabic feel about that-

'I'm not surprised by much,' he says. 'I listen to a lot of electronic music and I do remixes and have remixed one of my own songs in a sort of shuffle fashion, so I'm familiar with the landscape of that. But I think that part of the decision to release this album with a different label was an effort to just see what happens in terms of bringing the music to different audiences.'

Cabic has no great expectations of the Sub Pop alliance, or Vetiver becoming the next Fleet Foxes, describing it as 'an experiment.' Nevertheless, Vetiver have lately played to unlikely audiences. They opened for The Black Crowes and have backed former Jayhawk Gary Louris. Alas, the group are still to tour Australia. 'It's been talked about, but it actually never seems to happen. The problem is that obviously it takes a lot to get five people over there. In the past I've been offered opportunities to tour, but not to bring my band - and that's not really what I wanna do. So I've just waited. Hopefully, things will be able to come together in a way where I can bring over the people who I like to play with.'

WHO: Vetiver
WHAT: Tight Knit through Sub Pop / Stomp
WHEN: Out now