Catching Up With Steve Gunn

This Thursday, April 1st — Aquarium Drunkard presents an intimate livestream performance with Steve Gunn. The Brooklyn-based artist has been recording new material in Los Angeles (more on that below) and made time to stop by the East Hollywood venue, Gold Diggers, for a set of recorded music. Gunn’s first fully produced livestream event finds him dusting off a few of his catalog standbys, along with debuting new material. 
A warm and welcoming, emotional and high flying performance. In a transitional period full of optimism, this set feels like a bridge to better days ahead. Snag your tickets from NoonChorus and we’ll see you out there soon in brighter environs. | t hale

In anticipation of the set, Gunn joined us for a few quick questions about stepping back onto a stage, how he’s been staying creatively occupied, and his forthcoming album. 

Aquarium Drunkard: Tell us a little bit about the performance… What can folks expect? I hear new tunes might be in the mix.

Steve Gunn: Playing this solo acoustic set was a nice way to feel a little transition into hopefully getting out there and playing more shows soon. Gold Diggers reminded me how much I’ve missed these kinds of venues—the ones with the perfect atmosphere and sound. It’s an ideal spot for an intimate concert, and I’m really grateful that you guys had me over. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a venue, and hanging there with the small crew made for a special afternoon.  

I wasn’t sure how playing would feel because it’d been so long since I’d played these songs in a venue—I felt a bit rusty—and I’d also been so deep in the studio world for a couple weeks before that. Regardless, I was really looking forward to playing. And after being there and digging in, with the great sound and supportive crew, it started to come back to me. My plan to play some new songs also added to my nerves, but I figured, at this point, why not? I didn’t have much time to prepare, so I just kind of got up there and went for it. I’ve been hesitant to perform online or doing much Zoom stuff, so this really was the first time in a long time—and it felt good. Thank you for having me!

AD: So you’ve been recording a new album in Los Angeles then? Any tidbits you can share there?

Steve Gunn: Yes, I’ve been working with Rob Schnapf at his studio Mant Sounds over in Eagle Rock. I’ve been in there with Justin Tripp, and Matt Schuessler too, and we’re nearly finished with a new record. I’m really happy with how it’s all coming along, and working with Rob is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. We’ve had a bunch of guests contribute, and I’m psyched about who’s been involved. I’m looking forward to sharing more details soon.

AD: Have you found any silver linings during this difficult past year? Were you able to creatively turn on or did you find yourself in any interesting isolated corners of nature (or otherwise) that gave you perspective/ideas?

“I got deeper into working on music, and I cherished my surrounding parks. I have never sat and watched a season change before. It felt significant.”

Steve Gunn: One small bright side of this past year was figuring out a better way to take care of myself and stay creative. I realize now how much I needed a break from traveling, so it was good to embrace not moving around so much. After some hardships and worrying intensely for a while, I decided to shift to a different kind of focus, which was really helpful. Things opened up for me, and writing these new songs coincided with that. I got deeper into working on music, and I cherished my surrounding parks. I have never sat and watched a season change before. It felt significant.

AD: Any music or books that you’ve gravitated towards recently for inspiration or comfort?

Steve Gunn: A few books that really moved me: Mary Oliver, Devotions: Selected Poems. When The Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Same Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry. Kay Larson’s Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists. Some Charles Portis, and WG Sebald too.  

I listened a lot: Shivkumar Sharma, Sarah Davachi, Eno, Segovia, King Crimson, The Coltranes, Yabby You, Monk, The Beatles, Bob & Neil to name a few.

AD: With everyone itching to get back into a room to see live music again – we appreciate you recording this and can’t wait to see/hear it. In that spirit… who are a few artists you’re excited to see when live music is back and any particular places are you most excited to perform?

Steve Gunn: Well, thank you so much for having me! I enjoyed playing at Gold Diggers immensely. The show felt like a step forward into a new, hopeful trajectory. The first band that comes to mind that I would love to see soon is The Sun Ra Arkestra. I’ve seen them many times, and am always excited to see them again. Their music is so celebratory, and I think it would be a nice way to ring in a new realm. I also miss seeing my friends play! Maybe some heavy rock? I miss traveling! I just want to stand and watch someone play in a nice-sounding venue like the one I was just in.

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