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Elvis Perkins

Written by Thomas Mitchell on April 28, 2009

Elvis Perkins is feeling the aftermath of South by South West festival. He played there, rocked out and now his body is seeking its revenge.

“I just got back from South by Southwest. I’m a little hung-over; whatever it was it took it out of me” Elvis says, and I can hear the defeat in his voice.

But SXSW is one of the most prestigious festivals around, surely he had a splendid time?

“It was madness, everybody is squeezing in there, whether its output or input. I gave my all the first few days, but on the last day I just sat back and received. Now I’m paying for it.”

All this talk of giving and receiving has me excited, but I focus my energy into this interview. Elvis treats his words like prized pennies. Not willing to waste them, doling them out slowly and cautiously.

Ash Wednesday, Elvis’ debut album was very much a solo effort, but for his follow up, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, he called up a merry band of misfits, and packed into the studio. It was a different vibe admits Elvis.

“It’s definitely different; it’s also different just to make a second record. The first one is rough, but in the second one I spent more time stirring up creative ideas with a lot of people.”

He pauses before continuing, searching for the perfect analogy. “A lot of cooks in the kitchen, not necessarily too many, but there was a lot of transfer to get the vibrations going. It just takes time and energy to weave through everybody’s opinion.”

There is a sigh on the other end of the phone; I can tell the effort exhausted him. One can appreciate how tired he must be.

He’s currently in the midst of a US tour, before hitting Europe. However, adding to that Elvis gets cyber fans accosting him, demanding he grace their shores for a gig. Does he still bother to read these things I wonder?

“I go through phases of looking at it and not looking at it. It’s interesting when you’ve created something and laid it out for the world; its weird to see the feedback, thoughts and feeling it stirs up in people. It’s hard to avoid at times for that reason, so when I am looking at it I think I shouldn’t be.”

Despite Elvis’s background (his father won a Golden Globe for his chilling portrayal of Norman Bates in the original Psycho), his entry into the industry was far from glamorous. Spare time in the summer, a second hand guitar and the stark admission that “there was nothing else vying for my attention so loudly (as music) or that I was so passionate about.”

That passion has morphed into a career for Elvis and allowed him to traipse all over the world. Yet in spite of his passport being fuller, his mind is perhaps not?

“Despite going all over the world, it feels like nothing is happening. You never see quite as much as you would like” Elvis concedes.

It seems a lonely existence to travel and play and travel again, but it seems to me Elvis wouldn’t trade it for anything. The future doesn’t look to get easier either, with his fan base swelling like a pregnant chick with octuplets.

“I have my work cut out for me when it comes to record number three, I hope to do better with writing on the road this time. Touring leaves you little energy left over to write after performing and travelling.”

And it obviously has left him with much to do as by this point he’s sort of half snoring and I get the feeling he may have drifted off to sleep. Hearing what I assumed to be drool dripping onto the receiver, I quietly hang up and let the guy get some rest, besides if I ever want to hear his next album I’m best to do what I can to see he gets his slumber.

Elvis Perkins In Dearland is out now on XL Recordings via Remote Control. Check out www.remotecontrolrecords.com.au for free mp3s.

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