Most can agree that songwriting is a craft, but few musicians actually Zoom in from a garage, near a workbench, surrounded by tools, in an oversized hoodie. Neko Case does.
“I have to do a lot of building today — top-secret building. I hope I get it right,” she tells Consequence. “I’m going to need a trip to the hardware store. That kind of thing.” Whatever Case is building in there — Tom Waits-style — includes spray paint, and is bound to be messy. But she’s up for this constructive sort of chaos.
Over Case’s long career — she put out her first record, The Virginian, in 1997 — she’s relentlessly pushed forward and honed her abilities as an idiosyncratic and incisive singer/songwriter. But she’s never put out a retrospective compilation until now. Case is on a press junket for Wild Creatures, a collection of 22 songs from her past (plus one new one, “Oh, Shadowless”) arriving Friday, April 22nd on ANTI- Records.
Is it a strange feeling for Case to finally look back on this wild, wooly thing she’s built for 25 years — an entire songbook? Not entirely, as she’s partly in the business of looking back. Performing live is predicated on it, and she’s lining up a tour this year (grab tickets here) after what feels like forever. So is playing with her old friends in the New Pornographers, who just finished a new record.
How does Case view the arc of her career leading to Wild Creatures? All is revealed in this career-spanning interview, which includes detours about a dirt-bike sample, depression, Reservation Dogs, and why she doesn’t want to tell anyone what the (gorgeous) new song “Oh, Shadowless” is about, less it bum them out into oblivion.
I imagine you’ve spent your career relentlessly looking forward to the next statement you can make. Is it strange to look back for once?
Well, it doesn’t really feel weird, because whenever I tour with the band, we’re always looking back: “What songs should we do this tour?” So, there’s always some kind of looking back happening. I still pretty much know everyone I’ve ever recorded with. So, it doesn’t feel weird, really. And the New Pornographers are the same. We just relearned two of our earliest records. So, it feels pretty par for the course right about now.