(above photo: Of Montreal’s touring lineup, backstage April 2, before playing a hometown show at Athens’ 40 Watt Club [L-R]:Matt Stoessel, Jason Nesmith, Kevin Barnes, Dottie Alexander (front), Bryan Poole and Jamey Huggins)
The last time I spoke with Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes, he and his bandmates were living communally in the countryside near Athens, Ga. The psychedelic indie popsters had just settled into what seemed like a permanent lineup for 2002’s Aldhils Arboretum, and the collaborative juices were ?owing. But such utopias never seem to last long.
“It became too much,” Barnes re?ects as he sits backstage stringing his guitar at Athens’ 40 Watt Club. “We were in each others’ business so much we didn’t have any privacy. It was like, ‘OK, I can’t stand this anymore, I’m moving out of the frat house and I’m gonna have my own life for awhile.’”
Since then, the last two Of Montreal records—including new release The Sunlandic Twins—were executed almost entirely by Barnes in his home studio. “I got married and I felt really strong, emotionally. I was stable and happy with the world, so I was fueled by that energy. Working on your own, there’s no one to cloud your vision.”
Like its predecessor, Satanic Panic In The Attic, the blissful Sunlandic Twins incorporates hints of afrobeat and ’80s pop alongside Of Montreal’s familiar lysergic assault. “Sunlandia is a creation of my wife and I. It’s the place we live. So we’re the Sunlandic Twins. But now a third has appeared,” says Barnes of his four-month-old daughter, Alabee. “Of course, she’s welcome. Today she was at the club for soundcheck and was really happy, so maybe she has it in her blood, too. I put headphones on her and quietly played her some of my music, and she seemed to like it. She was kind of stunned, like—‘what is this weird world?’”
Not an unusual reaction to Of Montreal.