Joanna Newsom Interview: New record is 'different from anything I did in the past'
It’s been half a decade since avant-garde harpist Joanna Newsom released her critically acclaimed 2010 triple LP, Have One on Me, and the songwriter says she spent most of that time crafting the tunes on her anticipated follow-up Divers, out Oct. 23. “I was always writing,” Newsom tells EW. “I also spent a year or two on the instrumental arrangements and overdubs. I wanted the character and colors of the instrumentation to shift definitively, from song to song, which entailed a wide pool of collaborators and a lengthy collaborative process with each person.”
The multi-instrumentalist also switched up toolbox for Divers, using an arsenal of nearly a dozen keyboards and synths (Clavichords! Mellotrons! Marxophones?) and her trusted harp for the process. “It was all fun,” Newsom says. “Probably the most fun I’ve had making a record—but it was immersive.”
Newsom says that while some of the songs took “years to write, others formed in a day or two.” Meanwhile, it wasn’t all Divers, all the time Newsom wed SNL vet Andy Samberg in 2013 and contributed narration work to last year’s Paul Thomas Anderson-directed Thomas Pynchon adaptation Inherent Vice. Those changes, along with her half-decade without a release, guarantee Divers should stand apart from her earlier work. Says Newsom: “I think the result has a kind of tonal variegation to it that’s different from anything I did in the past.”
•Joanna Newsom talks about her excellent new triple album, the ‘toxic’ world of fashion, and ‘passing’ in the New York scene
Get exclusive details about fall’s buzziest albums in Entertainment Weekly Issue #1379, on stands Aug. 27.