Interviews New Music

Interview with Of Montreal

  • March 7, 2023
  • 4 min read
Interview with Of Montreal

Kevin Barnes, of Montreal, Freewave Lucifer, indie rock, experimental rock, alternative rock, freewaveIt was an honor to interview the mastermind behind Of Montreal and sole member of the enigmatic indie pop-rock band—however, they are much more than a pop-rock band and infuse a plethora of musical genres in their clever and incomparable work. Kevin Barnes was kind enough to take time to answer the following questions for our curious readers and bring clarity to their new masterpiece Freewave Lucifer F>ck F^ck F<ck.  

Freewave Lucifer F>ck F^ck F<ck addresses the full spectrum of human emotion. How was the writing process different for this album?

I had finished a double album called ‘I Feel Safe With You, Trash’ just a few months prior to starting work on FLFFF and I wasn’t sure if I had the energy and inspiration to create another album so quickly. I just started experimenting in my studio without any real sense of what I wanted to create. That felt fun and easy. I started thinking about music and it’s relationship to time. I would start a song and not worry about continuity. I would create short sections and then use them as inspiration for the next section and then I’d build off that new thing…eventually I’d have a fairly sprawling and winding “song”. I flirted with the idea of chopping up all of the songs and moving all of the parts to different songs, but then I realized that wouldn’t really make it better, it would just make it different.

What song on Freewave Lucifer was the most difficult for you to write? Why?

None of them were really more or less difficult or easy to create. “Hmmm” is definitely the most sad though. I wrote it about the passing of my mother.  

I’ve read that you experienced loss (very sorry to hear) and came out about your mental health. Your songs sound so happy and while the lyrical content is sad it tends to pull listeners out of the negative. Being a therapist (also) I feel that juxtaposition must be difficult. How did this inform the writing on Freewave Lucifer?

I do typically pull inspiration from my life experiences. Whatever is happening in my life at the time of writing an album usually informs the lyrical content. I don’t get much pleasure or fulfillment out of making sad sounding music. As a person who struggles with depression, I tend to try to create music that lifts my spirits. I think there are two sides to my psyche. On the one side is a very positive and playful creature and on the other is a more brooding and cynical one. I think that’s why a lot of my songs have a combination of happy and sad vibes.  

Does adapting songs on Freewave Lucifer to live prove to be as rewarding as making them to begin with?

It’s a very different experience. I love the challenge of trying to perform complicated material live. It’s a lot easier to cheat nowadays though since you can put whatever you want in the backing tracks.

Was there anything in particular that inspired you when writing the very dancey “Blab Sabbath Lathe of Maiden”? (Being a heavy metal fan I couldn’t help to notice the references)

I wanted to create an art-disco track and so I pulled inspo from Prince, Abba, Bowie. Lyrically there are a lot of references to Neuromancer, which I had just finished reading. The lyric “Deride A Ride Swan/Gang a Bong” was an homage to T Rex. There are a lot of fun references in that song.

Do readers/listeners take away different things from your songs on Freewave Lucifer than you intended? If so, what messages would you like readers/listeners to take from your most recent work?

I’d like for people to realize that it’s a dense piece of work and for them to have fun digging into it and discovering all of the reference points and hidden messages.

Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with?

I’d love to collaborate with Thundercat.

Lastly, are you working on anything new? A tour for 2023/2024?

Yes I’m about 3/4 finished with a new album that will come out next year. We’ve also got a tour booked for the Fall and I’m doing a solo show in NYC June 4th at Le Poisson Rouge


Listen to Freewave Lucifer F>ck F^ck F<ck below:


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About Author

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan is an accomplished promoter, event planner, producer, activist, counselor, poet and blogger. Within the course of two and a half years Chris Ryan has worked with some of NYC's most established promoters/event planners, been named 2007′s GaySocialite of the year, granted a promoter of the year award from NYC's most famous gay establishment, Splash. He's worked in some of NYC's top venues including; Avalon, Capitale, Cipriani, Cielo, Pacha, Element, Le Poisson Rouge, XL, G Lounge, Plumm, Hilton Hotel, Indigo Hotel, Spirit, Myst/Quo, Splash, The Ritz, Vlada, Roseland Ballroom, Heaven, etc. In 2008, Chris Ryan has begun to unveil some of the most innovative & unique parties New York City has ever seen. The Fusion events "fuse" together all disciplines of art into an event that remains diverse yet cohesive at the same time. won best gay promotions website from NYC Event Patrons in 2008 & he was granted an award from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Gov. Patterson & Michelle Clunie (QAF) saluting him for his hard work in nightlife. Chris Ryan has also begun working with many renown companies, including; doctors, lawyers, physicians, modeling agencies & more. Chris Ryan has been responsible for wide-scale promotions for all these companies & generating tremendous business. Chris Ryan has even started to become National with events taking place in LA & Miami this year. In May of 2009 Chris Ryan received the very prestigious honor of being named a "40 Under 40″ Gays in America by the Advocate Magazine. He also created three successful parties that generated over 1,500 patrons each. In January of 2010 Chris Ryan was featured as one of the top promoters to look out for in Noize Magazine Chris Ryan joined forces with legendary promoter/event producer, Lee Chappell and created one of the most talked about events of all 2010, Desire @ Capitale. Chris Ryan and Lee featured one of the most outstanding artists NYC has ever seen, "Oh Land." Her performance coupled with an exquisite and unforgettable set design added to this extravagant event that held over 1,000 patrons in one of NYC's most successful PRIDE events! Chris Ryan then joined forces with legendary Pacha promoter, Rob Fernandez in addition to Jake Resnicow and Tommy Marinelli to bring one of the largest and most successful parties worldwide to NYC, MATINEE. The event on Governor's Island saw over 2,000+ attendees and one of the most ambitious productions ever. In 2011 Chris Ryan started Emerge Music Promotions with business partner Darren Melchiorre. Emerge Music promotions began signing artists with plans to develop and market the artists to the community at large. Emerge Music promotions has big events planned for 2012 and 2013. Chris Ryan debuted the IMAGE events which took place on top of two of NYC's most beautiful rooftop venues, Rare View and Indigo Hotel. The events were blogged everywhere and featured the fashion designs of several clothing designers, artists and photographers. Chris Ryan felt that fashion and art should be displayed at every event and attracted the likes of Malan Breton, Calvin Klein and even Katy Perry. Chris Ryan began an extremely successful event which incorporated the concept of a house party into a nightclub atmosphere. The event Twist'D at G Lounge has been one of the most talked about events in NYC and allows it's audience to play nearly-naked Twister, beer pong, flip cup & more with other attendees. Chris Ryan was granted an excellence in volunteering award from AVP (Anti-Violence Project) for all his efforts in supporting the organization. 2013 has a very promising landscape on the horizon and Chris Ryan is complacent in saying "you haven't seen anything yet!"


  • Wow this interview is amazing, it makes me love Kevin even more

  • He’s one of the greatest artists of this century, fantastic interview.

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