GQ recently organised a 40-minute conversation between two of Wisconsin’s most recognisable figures – Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, sitting the pair down at Lambeau Field in Green Bay for the interview.
It’s a fairly wide-ranging interview – among other things, Vernon and Rodgers talk about their mutual appreciation for one another, their respective pre-show/pre-game rituals, therapy, football movies and far-off retirement plans.
They cover a lot of ground, and it’s a pretty interesting chat whether you’re a fan of music, sports, both or neither – particularly some of the conversations around expressing emotions, burnout and mental health in general.
“You have to start out well, and I think I just wasn’t well for a few years,” Vernon explains at one point.
“Adjusting to my minor version of being well-known or semi-famous, and all the attention and things like that, you know. I had to deal with therapy to clear out all the junk. I had to re-center everything.”
“The therapy thing is interesting, because I know growing up, that word had a real negative connotation,” says Rodgers.
“Now I think it’s where it should be, as far as the collective thought. It’s an important part of growing. It’s asking for help, which is actually a strength.”
Vernon also opens up about the origins of the Bon Iver favourite ‘Holocene’ one Christmas night with his brother.
“We went and walked to this bridge over I-94, and there just wasn’t a single car. There was nothing for miles and miles. And the air was hanging in such a way, with the ice storm going on, and it looked like this sheet of ice on the road and this glow of the distant lights of Eau Claire,” recalls Vernon.
“And it was just, it really just came out, “at once I knew that I was not magnificent” in the aisles of ice and all that. It was one of those moments where you’re not sure if you’re really the creator of something or not, of if you’ve just been handed something to share. It’s easy to stay humble sometimes when it’s like, you know, I’ve worked hard and everything, but sometimes you just feel like you really are a conduit for describing an idea or something like that. That’s really where that all came from. And the different verses are really about Eau Claire and about my people from there.”
Watch the full interview below. The discussion about ‘Holocene’ starts around 28 minutes in. Bon Iver tour Australia in June next year – head here for all the details.