Justin Vernon and Bon Iver recently released their latest album, i,I, and the 38-year-old singer-songerwriter opens up about his new music in an extensive new interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe.
During the cHat, Vernon discusses what was like to collaborating with Kanye West, Francis and the Lights, Chance the Rapper and BJ Burton, and how he regrets reacting negatively on social media to his collab with Eminem, “Fall”.
Speaking about working with West, Vernon admits he amazed by the rapper’s process. “Well, I definitely witnessed how you can have music be cooking on a stove, like over here, and you can respond to it,” he explains. “If you’re like Kanye, you can wait and there’s going to be cooks in all sorts of kitchens and they’re going to show you all sorts of stuff and you get to react to a lot of things. You get to say no to a lot of things until you’re very sure you like something. That was very stunning to watch him just A: hear it all, and, like, have the bandwidth to communicate that well with that many folks… So there’s all sorts of drawbacks there, but… He cares about music a lot. You don’t get to have made the music he’s made if you don’t, and he puts it very high up.”
In addition to his work with Bon Iver, Vernon is also a sought-after producer — so much so that he actually forgot that he has a credit on a Nas album.
I think Francis [of Francis and the Lights] and I have the production credit on the last song on the Nas record and I don’t even remember making it,” he admits. “We just spent a lot of time together. We enjoy each other’s company and we’re also both musical, so that’s why there’s been so much s**t that we’ve done together. You know, we like to spend time together.”
One collaboration of which he’s not that fond is “Fall”, which appears on Eminem’s Kamikaze album. In fact, when the track was released last year he ended up denouncing it on Twitter, admitting his portion of the track “came from a session with BJ Burton and Mike Will.”
Referencing the song’s use of a homophobic slur, he added: “Not a fan of the message, it’s tired. Asked them to change the track, wouldn’t do it.”
He now admits “I made that huge mess out of the Eminem song and I was just in a carwash, and I just tweeted,” he recalls. “It’s like, what was I doing?”
In retrospect, he now wishes he had “just chilled out” instead of reacting on Twitter. “It was very rude and I felt really bad about it,” he adds. “I think people have not figured out how to calculate how easy it is to say something on there with how much you should say it.”