A little talk about love. Interview with Father John Misty
For many years, Joshua Tilman writes songs: for a while he was a drummer of Fleet Foxes, and after that he recorded 2 albums as Father John Misty.
Due to the fact that the interview was taken on the eve of Valentine’s Day, Stefan Greiner devoted the column “A Little Talk About …” to the topic of love. This is no coincidence: Tilman’s album “I Love You, Honeybear” is filled with love, oysters, sex and massacres.
It’s always hard for me to talk about love without cynicism, unless it’s something intimate that I share with the person I love.
It’s hard for me to talk about love because it does not exist. The word “love” is rather just a term for that nameless thing that you can experience with another person. If we talk about something outside this, then I don’t understand what it is about. An album is a chronicle of the experience of how to love and be loved. This is shown on the cover: a child wearing a Josh Tilman mask. For me, this picture is a reflection of the mechanism of love: it brings out God’s jealousy, obsession and dependence, all these disgusting features. They bring you down to a primitive man. And many people seek to avoid such experiences. Love reveals our true nature.
Is true nature hidden behind a mask?
Yes, we hold back our own “I”, but inside we are all children, we are all vulnerable.
Personally, you have fundamental Christian experience. From this point of view, “first love” seems to me something more complicated than a kiss on the playground. How it was?
I began to dry very early on girls. Even at a young age, I came up with a strange belief in beauty, that beauty can save, that pain can be avoided with the help of beautiful girls. It always occupied my thoughts and bothered my nanny. I was fascinated by women. My first kiss happened at the age of 15, with a girl whom I was not in love with, but she was magnificent. She was a cheerleader. I remember that we kissed in the cellar in the house of my parents. When my mother caught us doing this, she realized that my childhood was over.
How do you understand that you fell in love?
I understand this from the decisions I make. True love gives courage. This game is very easy to play: “I have a life time in which it would be undesirable to have a relationship. It’s not you, but me. I’m sorry. Blah blah blah” – and other verbal garbage that we all we speak. But when you meet the one you need, then courage appears. Not this bravado, which only shows that one has a fear of intimacy and which is used to amuse one’s ego. For me, love is what pulls you out of your comfort zone. A person is inclined to establish rules of conduct in relationships in order to reduce the threat of intimacy, but everything was different with her, with my wife Emma. On the first night together it became clear to me that this girl was special, that she was a person. I would never have thought that I would become the person I became. All thanks to her. I was pleased with life before that, up to 30 years. I knew what she was like, I had plans, but with the help of Emma I was able to know myself.
Do you write love letters?
Not. I have never done this. There is love in my album, but it is not a love letter. The difference between sentiment and true feelings: sentimentality is based on the idea that love is a perfect beautiful thing. Everything else with this way of thinking is no place. This is how love messages function. Real emotions are more diverse: beauty can be beautiful, disgusting – disgusting. And disgusting can penetrate into the beautiful. This is what I’m trying to show in the album. No propaganda of love is needed.
Misty’s father, finally, is the main question: if I’m in love, should I confess that I feel to her / him?
Yes! Take your eggs in your fist and confess.