Father John Misty, Diiv Talk Bonnaroo


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The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival schedule dropped yesterday, leaving fans a little over a month to decide which acts they wants to see, and which ones won’t make the cut. American Songwriter Magazine set in on a conference call Tuesday with Father John Misty (a.k.a. Josh Tillman) and Cole Smith of Diiv to talk about their thoughts on the festival, and what fans can expect from their sets.

Tillman opened up the conference by announcing that he was naked, and encouraging everyone else on the line to do the same.

He shared everything from his thoughts on mixing ecstasy and math equations (bad) to an update on his next album.

“I’m about 80 percent done with 80 percent of the songs; so I’d say, ‘I’m about 160 percent done,’” he said.

Tillman said he hasn’t figured out his schedule yet, but there are three stops that are definitely on his agenda.

“I’d like to see Weird Al. I’d like to see R. Kelly. I’d like to see whoever is making funnel cakes at the funnel cake booth; I’d like to go watch them for a while. Yes, those are my big three,” he said. “I hope that my music is ultimately some kind of amalgamation of R. Kelly, Weird Al and the funnel cake guy.”

He also said he hopes to run in to comedian David Cross at some point and take a photo with him.

“Yes you know, maybe like get a photo op with us like pointing at each other, like doing that kind of photo where, you know, like Tom Cruise and Stephen Spielberg pointing at each other,” he said. “I just want to take a photo like that with David Cross in front of like a Sierra Mist backdrop or something.”

Aside from his comically bizarre musings, Tillman did share his favorite part about playing festivals.

“In a festival there’s all kinds of people who have like no interest in seeing you, they have no idea who you are and they might just watch it on a whim or something,” he said. “I think, in all sincerity that is kind of part of what’s exciting about a festival slot.”


For Cole Smith, 2013 will serve as a return of sorts, as the Diiv lead singer attended the festival in 2007 when The Police headlined. Smith said he remembers their set as being “kind of a bummer.”

“They played like 30 minutes and didn’t do an encore,” he said. “Everybody was all upset, but then that gave us time to like run over and see The White Stripes, which was cool.”

Smith also talked about what makes Bonnaroo such a special festival to him.

“I’ve always wanted to play it because it’s just kind of curious” he said. “You know, it’s so hot but it has this kind of communal feeling. We just played Coachella, outside Los Angeles, which is like very proper, you know what I mean? It was really clean, people kind of like, you know, nobody really let loose.  I feel like Bonnaroo has this vibe of like Coachella mixed with Burning Man.”

Smith said Diiv has learned a lot about putting on a festival set since their 2011 formation.

“We did a festival called NRMAL in Mexico and I thought that that was the best show we’ve ever played by far,” he said. “Just having a big stage, a big crowd and an atmosphere of excitement at a festival is definitely something that forces you to give it your best.”

Smith said his favorite Bonnaroo memory was at the theater tent when Jim Jarmusch screened his movie Coffee and Cigarettes followed by a Q&A forum.

“It’s crazy to watch his film with him in attendance” Smith said. “I remember the entire time he was talking he was all antsy because he wanted to go see Wolfmother.”


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