Father John Misty's Josh Tillman on Fearlessness and the Human Condition
"The new album, it's violently personal, so much so to the point that I have some anxiety about releasing it," he explains. "I'm writing about things that are very, very sacred to me. There's some anxiety about commodifying that and turning it into a product that's for sale and then it's open for criticism or even praise -- whether someone is praising me or criticizing me, it's kind of equally embarrassing."
However personal the final product may be, it's going to be relatable. During our conversation, Tillman reminds me that his work has foremost been about relating to himself rather than pandering to the whims or emotions of others. Given Fear Fun's success though, there must be something that resonates with his listeners.
"When you see someone on stage or you hear someone's music that's just full of humanity, as you suspect that it is, that attracts people," he says. "We're just monkeys looking in the reflective lake. We can't get enough of it."
Where Fear Fun had Tillman holding up to mirror for us all to see, this next record has him turning the same mirror on himself. He has no qualms about introspection, however. Tillman remains steadfast in his belief that being bold is the only way to accomplish anything of note.
"The more bravery you're willing to exhibit in terms of conveying what you really are and what you really think takes a really long time, as an artist, to kind of get to that place where your vanity and your fear subsides enough so that there's no barrier between what you really think and what comes out in your music or mode of expression you're working in," he says. "You have to be fearless if you want to do anything worthwhile."
Father John Misty is scheduled to play tonight at Crescent Ballroom.