Pinegrove – Evan Stephens Hall on “Amperland, NY,” Politics, and Pedal Steel

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
 






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Pinegrove – Evan Stephens Hall on “Amperland, NY,” Politics, and Pedal Steel
Take Two

Feb 17, 2021
By Mark Moody
Photography by Kenna Hynes Web Exclusive


Under the Radar last talked to Pinegrove’s Evan Stephens Hall at the end of the band’s tour in support of Marigold. At the time, Hall and some of the other band members were making preparations to move out of the house where their last two studio albums (2018’s Skylight and 2020’s Marigold) were recorded.  Plans were underway and filming started to compile a tribute to the group’s rental home and makeshift studio, Amperland. Now that Amperland, NY,—the title of both the movie and accompanying soundtrack album—has been released, it was a good time to catch up on what has transpired for Stephens Hall and the band and what future plans may hold.  

Amperland, NY, is the group’s third non-studio album following the live recordings of Elsewhere and Elsewhere 2. Add to that the official studio albums and one beloved compilation of their early work, Everything So Far, and you have the makings of a very well documented and recorded band. Amperland, NY (the film), captures Pinegrove’s members at their zaniest and the mood matches the home in which it was recorded. The movie captures the full band and guests plowing through over twenty songs in their catalog and makes time for a madcap caper revolving around the disappearance of band mascot, Lincoln. Spoiler alerts ahead surrounding the truth of Lincoln’s “vanishing act,” which are somewhat tipped in the movie itself given his starring role.  

But all is not fun and games (and music) in Pineland as Stephens Hall opines on America’s current political landscape in the days following President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Stephens Hall dives deep on his views, but also holds out hope for a brighter future with the current administration.     

Mark Moody (Under the Radar): Thanks for taking the time today. Congrats on the Amperland, NY, movie and album coming out.

Evan Stephens Hall: Thank you. Nice to talk to you again.

I know you and I talked last April, which seems kind of crazy. We were just in the beginning days of the pandemic. A lot’s changed since then but, also, a lot of things kind of feel the same. So just wondering how you and the band have navigated through all those months.

Oh, well, just the best way we can. It certainly hasn’t been ideal. I mean, everybody in the band is healthy, though we definitely know some people who’ve had COVID. My stepmom’s mother actually passed away.

Oh, no. I’m sorry to hear that.

Yeah, yeah. No, it’s tough and there’s a particular cruelty to it. As you know, nursing homes are starting to get the vaccine. She was scheduled to get it like a few days later. Yeah, it’s rough. She was 91, and so she lived a long life and a fulfilling one. That is, of course, uniquely upsetting, but it also made me realize that there really haven’t been that many opportunities to grieve for me personally and for us nationally. So many people have been affected by this, and yet we’re kind of supposed to pretend things are kind of normal. Clearly, they’re not.

No, I know. I mean, as numbers have gone up and the death count has gone up, the rest of us just kind of try to soldier along. Numbers have gone up, and yet things have opened up more. So it’s interesting. I don’t know. I mean, hopefully, a few months out we’re into a much better mode.

Yeah, here’s to hoping. And I guess I have some optimism for the incoming administration. But there’s a lot of reasons to be pissed off about how it’s been handled so far. It’s homicidally negligent. Really, I think there’s no other way to put it. And it’s really heartbreaking to know that there are some vaccines that are expiring without even going to people.

Yeah, I know. My parents got the first round, and they’re supposed to go back next Saturday for the next one. But they’re not sure they’re going to have any. Who knows. But I didn’t mean to start things on a down note. I was just trying to kind of bridge the gap from when we last talked.

Well, yeah, no, I hear that. But let’s be real about where we’re at. It’s not the only thing I want to talk about, but it’s definitely important to set the scene. Whatever is happening in Amperland or Pine Land, however you want to put it, is absolutely inflected by what’s going on in our country right now. So I think it’s a good place to start.

Yeah. So when we last talked, you mentioned the movie [Amperland, NY], and I don’t know if you had actually started working on it or were planning to.

So we recorded it in November of 2019. The majority of it. But then it got kind of waylaid. We had some final scenes where we needed to shoot more of the narrative stuff. But by that time, we were more focused on just kind of doing our part and staying at home. And then not to mention the editing process. I think one of the reasons that it took almost a year is that it’s been really hard to sustain and focus. It’s just hard to work normally.

So you did a little bit of recording before, then after the tour and after the pandemic kind of started.

Yes. The badminton scene, for instance, and the riding horses. That all happened later, and we were able to be socially distant. And it was all outdoors.  But all of the musical recordings happened in November 2019.

Okay, yeah. So I had a review copy of the album first. And then I saw the film a couple of days before it came out. But just listening to the album by itself, it feels like a played-through live set to me. It just builds and ebbs and flows, has a couple of encore type songs at the end. So was it recorded in sequence?

Thank you. Well, no. As you mentioned, we were about to go on tour, so we were rehearsing anyway for a batch of songs that we could be playing live. And that would have been the first time performing a lot of those. Usually we prepare 25 or 26 songs, knowing that we’ll want to choose the best 21 or 22. So giving ourselves a little bit of a buffer, in case one of the new arrangements that we’re trying out just doesn’t feel right or whatever it is. And then we knew that we’d be able to sequence it however we wanted, so I think that we just chose some of the easier ones first, some of the ones that we knew that we could get out of the way, because it was an ambitious schedule. We tried to do 4 or 5 songs a day, something like that. Sometimes up to eight takes.  

Oh, wow. Per song?

Yes, so we were pretty much playing a set’s length every day. It was really good practice for tour.

I was going to say, you probably didn’t have to do much other tour rehearsal outside of that.

No, we didn’t. And it’s funny, too. I’ll point out, I think it was for Elsewhere 2 that we had the most recent conversations. And those were recorded actually after. So that’s kind of funny. I mean, that’s always weird, when you have something that’s recorded earlier come out later. For instance, this one is always trippy, but “Angelina” was the first song I wrote and recorded after Cardinal. But when it came out on Everything So Far, people assume that that’s a pre-Cardinal song.

Yeah, that’s interesting because I think it was on this soundtrack that “Endless” picks up a little bit of the final track on the Marigold album.

Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. We use that loop in a live setting.

So the movie’s obviously a bit quirky, but in a good way. But then getting to see so much of the inside of the house. The house seemed pretty quirky too, with the red bathroom tiles, and the railing upstairs looked a little dangerous. I’m not sure I’d want to get up there. And then it looks like there were quite a few out buildings on the property too.

Yeah, it’s so weird. [Laughter] They’re several decaying sheds in the backyard, four I think. It’s just the wackiest property, which is part of the reason we didn’t need to build some crazy set, so we ultimately decided this house is weird enough. I mean, that’s how it started. But, yeah, I mean, really, it started like, what can we do in the last few months? So it’s just kind of an innocent question that led us down this overly ambitious path. I mean, I’m really happy we did it.

Right, that makes sense.

We weren’t able to do everything that I wanted to do with it. Just because, this was the first, at least first attempt on my own. Thankfully, Kenna Hynes, who directed the film, has experience making music videos and she also did Command + S for us and made a documentary for Skylight. So you’ll recognize the house in that as well. So yeah, thankfully, there were some experienced people on the other end, but just trying to communicate what my ideas were without the technical lexicon for it. And so that was one challenge, but yeah, it’s a quirky house, very unusual bathroom. You have this double tall living room.

Yeah, so that’s where most of the music scenes were?

Yeah. Which we call the Elephant Room. 

I guess just for me as a layperson watching that I just assumed you guys had like a professional studio built inside the house or something like that with booths, etc. But it’s really just the house itself. So is that where Skylight and Marigold were recorded relative to what we were seeing in the movie?

Yeah, in that room. The only difference would be that we moved the control station into the next room over so that we have more room in the main room. But when we were recording Marigold and Skylight, yeah, that was in that room. And we also had the control station there too. I think the listeners of those albums will notice that ambiance or natural reverb is a signature element of the sound.

So you mentioned Kenna. So how did you guys first meet her and come to work with her?

Well, when we first met her, she was living in Chicago and playing in a band called The Island of Misfit Toys, and she and Josh started dating. Eventually, she moved over and lived in Amperland. And, yeah, so that’s how we met. I stayed on. Sam Skinner and his partner Lucy lived there for a year, and then Nick Levine was there for a year. So it was very cool to have different energies every year, different creative projects going on. Everybody living there just sort of doing their thing. There’s a lot of space to do your thing.

Right. So was she doing film-related stuff previously, or did she come to that over that time period?

Oh, yes, I mean, she had done music videos before and, I think, studied film. She had a solid background in it and had a production company. Actually, the very first thing that we worked on together did not end up coming out or, at least, it hasn’t yet. Movies, man they take so long to make. I had no idea. [Laughter] I should have known, but I really didn’t. We did a tour called the First Annual Pingus Invitational where we brought a ping-pong table in the van and just set it up at every house show. And Kenna used to play in Blue Ranger too. So Kenna and Josh were playing in Blue Ranger and also Caleb of Sinai Vessel. And Nick and myself, we all went on tour, and Kenna was making a movie about that tour.

Gotcha. So that’s never come out, is what you’re saying.

Yeah, maybe in a few years, it might be interesting. But that was the last tour those shows [house shows] were possible. After that, I started feeling kind of responsible for how dangerously packed these spaces were. Because there’s no sense of fire restrictions, oversight, or regulation. It was just literally like 120 kids packed shoulder-to-shoulder in basements. It’s one thing when it’s 40 kids. And it’s an entirely different thing when there’s just one exit and nobody can move. So I started to actually feel like, damn, there’s got to be another way to do this. But that tour, that’s another reason why that tour might be worth revisiting. Because that’s kind of the last time we did that sort of thing.

So kind of a funny thing with the movie, there’s obviously lots of music but there’s no dialogue. It’s all like a silent movie mixed with a concert movie.

Yeah, the loudest silent film of all time. [Laughter] That’s what I wanted to do.

Okay, that makes sense. So that was a pretty interesting twist. So who came up with that, or was that always the idea?

Yeah, that was my idea. I thought that would prevent us from having to act too much. [Laughter] We had a good time doing it. Let’s just put it that way.

Yeah, well, that’s obvious. And yeah, I guess I’ll jump to that. So who took to acting most naturally? And who caused the most retakes to have to be done?

Well, I think Sam is a natural. He has amazing comic timing just with body language alone.

Yeah, well, there’s lots of expressions with everybody looking in the same direction and all that type of stuff.

Well, I think the truth is we didn’t really do that many takes on any of it. So we were really focused on making this sound good and performing musically, and we really just packed the other stuff in into just a few days. Not that I’m trying to hedge or anything like that, I like the way it came out. But part of what I like about it is that it’s just so unstudied and kind of weird. And I’ll say too, but that watching it without the score, which is how we edited it, we edited it first with no incidental music. And then when I ended up putting the music into the picture, it changed the mood so dramatically. And actually, it turned it into the mood of Amperland. It’s what it is now. And, I mean, I think it was naive to watch a movie and not understand that the texture would be, in many ways, defined by the soundtrack. But I was initially a little concerned in a way that it wouldn’t be surreal enough or that it would be a little bit campy, for sure. But I think that having music that’s, ultimately, a little bit dark in it did set the mood in a way that I really quite liked, and that was, again, terribly surprising.

Well, there’s a kidnapping involved, so it’s got to be dramatic like that [laughter] or a supposed kidnapping, at least.

Supposed, yeah. [Laughter] Right.

So, I guess, yeah, if there’s a plot to the movie portion of it, it’s Lincoln [the band’s stuffed sloth mascot] going missing. And I think I first saw him on the Skylight tour. So when did you guys first get Lincoln? And if this isn’t revealing too much, did he actually go missing at one point? I don’t know if that was a stunt double in the last scenes [laughter], or that’s the real Lincoln.

So Lincoln was emancipated from a New Jersey roadside rest stop where he was being held captive along with maybe 20 of his siblings. We were able to get him and ferry him out of there, spirit him away. And he just became a close member of the family pretty much immediately. One of the funny things I’ll say about Lincoln is, actually, he has a little bit of heft to him so that if you give Lincoln a hug, there’s something shockingly anthropomorphic about him. [Laughter]

Interesting.

Yeah. And I think that that’s probably why he ended up being such a crucial member of the family. We would just constantly make jokes, or we blame things on Lincoln or like, “I think Lincoln is starting to get hungry. Let’s order something.” He was really an amazing—I don’t really have the words for it.

Well, now you’re speaking about him in the past tense, so.

Oh, well. Yeah, no. [Laughter] Good point. Although, I should say this to anybody who’s concerned about Lincoln’s future. I mean, Lincoln, just like all of us, was acting. He does have interests in slow cinema. But he has not relocated to Central America. He’s still with us. And I will say to the second part of your question. Was this based on the actual disappearance of Lincoln? No, but Lincoln’s younger sister, Lego, was at one point stolen from the merch table one dark night in Chicago. But just recently, we got a message from somebody who claims to have received Lego as a gift, and their conscience was really getting to them. And they’re like, “You know what? Lego deserves to be back home with her family.” So in many ways, this was an allegory for something that actually kind of happened. But all’s well that ends well because Lego’s back here with her big brother.

So the scene in the bathroom was awesome. And then having the dads come in for their flex moment, that was really cool. So I knew that your dad had played piano, and I think he was on Skylight. Maybe Zack and Nick’s dad was too, but I don’t think I ever knew that their dad played the pedal steel until I saw this movie.

Yeah. Maybe that wasn’t quite as publicized, but it’s Mike Levine who’s playing on Cardinal, actually.

Oh, wow. Okay.

Yeah. And my dad sang on some stuff earlier on Mixtape One. He’s on the song “Days” on Everything So Far. And he played piano. I think he maybe even played on “Waveform.”

Oh, way back then? Okay.

I’m forgetting. That might have been me. Who knows? I think firstly, I have to say that my dad just taught me so much about being a musician and just an attitude towards instruments that it’s something to have fun with. It’s something to do with people that you love and that instruments are things to respect. But they’re not mystical things. They’re everyday household items.

Right. So did Mike teach Nick to play the pedal steel?

Yeah. Early on. I think absolutely part of Nick’s early interest in the instrument had to do with the fact that their dad played.

Oh, wow. That’s cool.

Yes. And I think that Mike might have given Nick some lessons early on. But mostly, Nick was living in Chicago for a while as they’re beginning to learn the instrument and then lived in Upstate New York. So mostly, I think they’re actually self-taught, which is just totally mind-blowing.

Yeah. No. Definitely. Let’s see. One final thing on the movie. I mean, do you have a favorite scene, and is there—I know there’s different Easter eggs and stuff in it—but I don’t know if there’s any kind of glitch or thing like that, that the general public may not notice that you do.

Okay. Well, my favorite scene is definitely the bathroom scene. The prelude to the bathroom scene, [Laughter] when the door opens and I’m just standing in a rectangle of light. I was so amazed when Kenna assured me of that because, of course, as the actor, I couldn’t see myself, what the composition was. And she just nailed that one. That was amazing. And that was a super fun scene to film too. There’s a lot of laughing and especially the suppression of laughter. Like when the water spilled out on my leg, we didn’t know that that was going to happen.

One thing I’ll mention. The heating system in the house. There’s a vent right below the toilet paper, and so the toilet paper is kind of flapping. So I think it’s just the most hilarious detail of all of that. [Laughs]

Gotcha. Yeah, I definitely noticed a couple of suppressed smiles here and there. I don’t remember where they were, but. [Laughter]

Yeah.

So I know when you and I last talked, you had a lot of stuff swirling around in your head about the future of the band. You talked about maybe going back to college, doing prose writing, where to move to, just anything you can share any of those fronts?

Oh, yeah, well. I’m still reading really seriously. As far as writing prose, it is so hard to do. I think that it’s interesting to note that there’s some crossover with writing songs, but not a lot. I was listening recently to a George Saunders interview. He’s a short story author.

Yeah, I’ve read The Semplica Girls, I think was the name of it.

Oh, yeah. Cool. Well, I recommend his whole oeuvre. I think I’ve read pretty much everything he’s written except his new book. So he’s coming out with a new one that’s just about the mechanics of the short story, some of the Russian greats. Chekhov, etc.

Okay. Right. Gotcha.

And so he’s a teacher and he’s in the habit of describing how one makes art, and just that mysterious process. And so it’s interesting to hear him say a lot of the things that I will say about songwriting. Especially, I was struck with what he says about editing or re-reading your work or when you’re writing a song, you can kind of tell when there’s a moment that you start to lose just a little bit of interest, and that’s the moment you need to focus on. Like, you’re going along,  “Yes, I like this line. I like this line. Okay, maybe my attention wanes a little bit.” Or like, “I’m a little bit shy about this line,” or something. There’s some emotional deviation that is actually your artistic sensibility detecting that there’s something that could be improved about that.

Definitely, there’s some element of coevolution or me hearing him and thinking about that and thinking about what it means for songwriting. But I think there’s some kind of independent discovery about it. And this is all to say it’s interesting to hear somebody talk about writing prose, have some of the similar realizations that I’ve had about songwriting, and yet not being able to translate that to prose. I just need to learn those lessons all over again. Somebody can tell you what to do, and they might be right and you might understand it intellectually, but to actually do it is a much different thing. So I’m trying to be patient with myself about that. And in the meantime, I’m just reading as much as possible. I’ve put out a list on my personal Instagram.

Yes, I saw that. 

I was annoyed, though, because I read more books than there was room to say. [Laughter] 

I didn’t know you were allowed to write that much, anyway. I feel like I’ve been cut off for much less.

Yeah, I know. There’s a character limit. And yeah, no. I somehow managed to read 55 books.

Oh, my gosh. That’s insane. Good for you.

Yeah. And actually, this is very rare, but I liked almost all of them. I mean, they’re self-selected. I’m choosing books that I think that I’m going to like, but rarely do all of them land. But I had just a real landmark year in reading in 2020.

Oh, that’s great.

So, I’m still interested in going back to school. I don’t think I want to do it remotely. And I know that there’s so much that I could still do on my own, but I would really appreciate the community of an academic cohort. I think it would be really cool to have the resources of brilliant professors. I look forward to all of that one day, but we’ve got to get through this pandemic first.

I think when you last talked to me, you basically said that you had enough together for the next album or at least the songs themselves. And I want to say there were some photos at Levon Helm Studios or something I thought I saw. So anything you can share there?

Yeah. We are recording a new album. It’s going to be out in 2021. And the way we’re doing it this time is to just really not have any strict deadlines to finish the album, make it really what we want it to be, and then hand it in and see when it comes out. I know every band is clamoring to get back at it just as soon as possible. But we’re taking it a little bit slower. Especially, I had been thinking that I was going to be applying to grad school this past December, but I decided to defer for a year, so we have a little bit more time.

Gotcha. Okay. Well, good for the rest of us, I guess, even if it wasn’t your plan. So the same people that were on the tour are on the album?

Oh, yeah, pretty much. My dad’s playing a lot of piano on it too. We’re going to have some others on the album. Yeah, I mean, it’s a similar casting if not exactly the same.

Okay. Cool. Well, thanks for talking about that. So when did you actually move out of Amperland?

May 1st [2020].

Oh, okay. So right after we talked last. It seems it’s been pretty intentional that you’ve picked “location not disclosed” on your posts so are you able to share where you are living these days?

Yeah. Well, I mean, I love the pine nuts, but they are a little nutty. There’s some real sleuths out there who want to know where to find us and I’d rather be a little bit more circumspect than that. It just seems prudent. It may be a little paranoid, but I’d rather say we’re in Ulster County, New York.

So speaking of being quarantined and not being able to get out, you guys were on the Governor’s Ball lineup last year.

Yeah.

And I think they’ve announced dates for September. So I don’t know if they’re planning to do the same lineup or if you guys have been contacted about that.

Oh, yeah. I’m not sure whether that’s confirmed. So I really shouldn’t speak on it. I will say that September is a little bit optimistic. But at the same time, it’s outside so that’s good. I really really can’t wait to go to a concert, I miss that so much.

Oh, yeah. Me too. I mean, it was a huge part of what my wife and my family and I did a lot of. You guys you were the last ones we saw in February (2020).

Oh really. Oh, cool.

Yeah. I mean that was right before everything fell apart, so.

I guess that’s right.

Good timing on your part there. Yeah. I don’t know. I think with the COVID testing and everything, I remember the beginning days of that and people were like, oh where do I go to get a test and how do I get a test and there were all these long lines and now you can walk into CVS or a Walgreens and get that done so I’m hopeful that this vaccine rollout will start to pick up speed quicker than people think.

Yeah. But the fact is there are just a huge infrastructural barriers and it really underscores how helpful it would be to have a single centralized health care system. That’s my view on it. That would actually matter a lot as far as distribution. But it’s so decentralized at this point.

Yeah. We’ll see what starts to change and I know some people in Canada and the nursing homes up there…I still don’t think they’ve gotten vaccines out to most of those and I don’t know. I think it’ll probably happen quicker than people think but who knows.

Yeah. Well, I definitely hope so. And I think there is some reason to be at least more optimistic than whatever the chaos was before. We at least have somebody who cares. Responsive to public critique. I think that’s the thing like he the shame cell.

Yeah, or at least even an awareness factor is refreshing. That’s new and different.

Yeah. So I mean thank God for small victories. But on the other hand, there are already reasons to be kind of pissed off. I would say, chiefly, the $2,000 checks they were campaigning on quite explicitly. There was some ambiguity about whether that would be an additional $2,000 or an additional $1,400. And I think it really says something that Joe [Biden] didn’t choose to exploit that ambiguity in the favor of the people. That was a choice that they made. And there was even a lot, I hate to say it, some false advertising. There are tweets that I remember seeing from [Raphael] Warnock that had a picture of a check with the number 2,000 on it. So, I’m just really upset and disgusted that the government does not seem to be looking out for vulnerable people. Meanwhile, billionaires are richer than ever, and we’re seeing people die. We’re seeing people on the streets and income inequality is worse than ever. I think that there’s a growing majority of people that are really disenchanted. And I hope that they get spoken for.

Yeah. I mean, I saw some stuff today about expanded food stamp programs and some other things. But I’m far from knowing the details. That does remind me, though. I think when we last talked, that was before all of the Black Lives Matter protests and all of that. If I look back on 2020, if there’s anything positive that happened, I feel like it was that. And I do feel like there’s still some momentum along those lines. But we didn’t really get to talk about that. Anything on that front?

Right. Oh, man. Well, I stand in complete solidarity with Black Americans who are fighting for their final liberation. I felt really enthusiastic about how the protests were going, and they were really starting a very important conversation. I think that reparations are starting to enter the public consciousness, just like a real viable path forward. At least, people are talking about it. But the fact is we have a Speaker of the House [Nancy Pelosi] who does not support it, that resolution, I forgot the bill number, but it’s been introduced every year for so many years. And she doesn’t bring it to a vote because she doesn’t support it. So I’m hoping there will be increased awareness about that. I think it’s an absolute slap in the face for the Democratic Party to have nominated California’s top cop as the VP and the author of the ‘94 crime bill as the President, in response to concerns about police brutality, structural racism, and mass incarceration. I’m happy they won, right? But that, for me, was a really mask-off moment, that this might be a little bit controversial to say, but it seems to me that the Democratic Party is using identity politics quite cynically in an effort to advance critiques about their preservation of the status quo. Cornel West talks about it, that it is not enough to put black faces in high places, but that part of what we’re after, regardless of race, are those who have a liberatory policy proposal.

Right. So you’re concerned that the reform may not actually happen?

Right. It seems that in certain ways, the Democratic Party is using performative gestures of allyship repeatedly in favor of addressing the material benefits of vulnerable people who are disproportionately black and people of color. So it’s kind of, it’s a fake Band-Aid. And I’m really concerned that it could lead to further demoralization of the electorate. 

Now, on the other hand, we do see some really encouraging signs in Georgia. If that is actually a shift in the electoral map, and there’s no reason that can’t be replicated in Mississippi, which has the largest Black population of any state by percentage. So I think that there are good things ahead. But it’s absolutely, totally concerning that [Jon] Ossoff doesn’t support defunding the police. And in fact, the majority of the Democrats don’t support it. It seems to be a no-brainer that there should be some reallocation of the budget in cities where the police force is receiving more than half the entire budget. And that goes for the military, more broadly. And just as a small asterisk at the end of my rant, I think we need to acknowledge, too, that the military is one of the most pernicious carbon emitters. And that you really can’t be pro-environment and pro-military. Those, to me, are incompatible positions to hold. So that’s some of what I think. 

I should probably say the caveat, that I’m not a politician. I’m just following along. These are my impressions, and I really quite desperately want to see some real change to address white supremacy in this country and to address the climate crisis. I think those first two kind of have to be right at the top of the list for things that we’re looking at.

Well, I mean, they’re on the stated agenda. So I guess we’re three days in [for the new administration], so maybe give them a little time.

That’s right. And I should say, I’m really heartened to see the Senate equivalent of the massive voting rights overhaul. I think Senator Merkley of Oregon introduced that and that’s a really good bill. So I think that includes some automatic voter registration, which would just absolutely change the game. Why do we have to be an opt-in process? It should be compulsory.

Right. Well, we covered a lot. [Laughter]

Yeah, we did. No, thanks for letting me go off a little bit about that. And thanks for writing about my band. I hope you’ll share some of those perspectives. I hope that even people who disagree with where I’m coming from, if they like Pinegrove, will understand that my goals are extremely local to myself and to my process, which involves introspection and personal accountability and those types of things. Just being tender towards your own emotional ecosystem. I think that when you zoom out the aperture that ends in a question of public policy. And so these things aren’t as tenuously connected as some people might say, “Just shut up and play the song,” might have in mind. I think that these are actually really intimately connected, right?

Yeah. I know like Jason Isbell takes a lot of flak for some of his views. But it’s like if you like them, that’s who you like. And it comes with the package.

Yeah, and I really don’t think that somebody has to be a socialist if they want to listen to Pinegrove. This music is for everybody. This is just the best way, in my opinion, to get to some of the things that this music is talking about or trying to address. But it’s not the only way. So I welcome the conversation. I welcome disagreements.

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