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Q&A with Ernest Greene of Washed Out

Washed Out is the electronic-pop project of Georgia native Ernest Greene. He broke through a few years ago with his Life of Leisure EP, and last year released a full-length called Within and Without. Greene and his band were scheduled to perform at 6 p.m., but were pushed back to 7:30 after the storm passed. I talked to him just a few minutes before the evacuation began. This is what we said to each other.


Griffin: Have you played festivals before? Do you like doing it?


Ernest: We've done festivals before where it's like a 15 minute change over between bands, which is really stressful. We should have a half hour here which is a little better. It's still hard with our set up though. We have a lot of electronics to set up and figure out, so we always have our fingers crossed when we play a festival. But otherwise, it's good. People are loosened up and we've got a good time slot today. We change the set list a little bit. It's usually a lot shorter than a regular show, so we try to boil down to what we think is the best and most entertaining. I love playing but there are weaker moments in a long set, so it's fun playing the strongest stuff.


G: Two days ago you released a video for “A Dedication,” off of Within and Without. What was that process like?


E: We shot that in Georgia, a small town called Eatonton. It was where I was living when I was recording the album a couple years ago. That was sort of the idea, to capture a day in the life of being there. I had another video a few years ago with the same director. He came down from New York. I love his style, and he kind of connects with what I love about music videos.


G: It seems like they are a lot less important than they used to be, which is too bad.


E: Part of that is a funding issue. There's not like an MTV that's pumping videos out. But with technology these days, they were using SLR cameras to shoot so it was a pretty cheap budget, especially compared to like, 10 years ago.


G: I've read that you are a fan of The Tree of Life. The video reminded me a lot of that movie.


E: I love all of Terrence Malick's movies. There's this emotional quality to them, not that it's like sappy drama. Starting out there were a couple shots we had in mind that would be similar, but with all the videos I've done, a lot of the end result is just random stuff. Like the director wanted to use an old beat up piano, so we went on Craig's List, and it turns out the guy that had one, we get to his place and he's got all these little kids and kittens everywhere. We just ended up shooting right then and there. That ended up kind of having a Malick vibe to it, with little kids running around and stuff. That wasn't planned, that was just there.


G: It was just recently announced that you'll be opening up for the Shins soon.


 E: Yeah, it's a little bit strange. I don't know what it says about the music at all, but we've done opening gigs with a bunch of really different bands. We've done it for Beach House but then also for bands like Cut Copy, which is just like big, dance stuff. We just do what we do though. I've got some new songs that aren't quite as electronic sounding, so I think those will work really well.


G: Is that a direction you see your music heading in?


E: It's been two years since I've worked on the last record, so I'm just in a different place. Into different stuff. But for now, like the show we're doing today has quite a few songs with like heavy, subby, 808 kick sounds. I can imagine that might blow some 35 year-old's minds, coming out to a Shins show.

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