For Under the Radar's 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.
Check out our Best of 2015 print and digital issues for answers from Arcade Fire's Will Butler, Julien Baker, Blanck Mass, CHVRCHES, Dan Deacon, The Dears, Dutch Uncles, EL VY, Everything Everything, Father John Misty, Field Music, The Flaming Lips, Sondre Lerche, Low, Luna, Mew, NZCA Lines, Cullen Omori, Natalie Prass, Small Black, Surfer Blood, Tamaryn, Telekinesis, Vampire Weekend's Chris Baio, The Walkmen, Youth Lagoon, and others.
Here are some answers from Tom Krell, who records as How to Dress Well. His latest album, What Is This Heart?, was released in 2014 by Weird World/Domino. A shorter version of this interview ran in the Best of 2015 print issue, which is still on newsstands now. This is the full unedited version of the interview.
Top 10 Albums of 2015
It's virtually impossible to pick a single number one album, because music plays many roles and serves so many different and unique purposes in life. But here are 10 albums I obsessed over in 2015!
Kara-Lis Coverdale: Aftertouches—Her arrangements and sound design choices are constantly surprising and powerful. Such an amazing producer.
Majical Cloudz: Are You Alone?—Another stunning and raw record from my friends Dev and Matthew, sooooo beautiful and poetical.
Young Thug: Barter 6—In addition to some other tunes from slime season, this record completely blew me away this year. To have been a fan for awhile and then witness his complete blossoming was a huge blessing! What a free spirit! I love his vision of pop music and I want to live on his planet.
Ian William Craig: Cradle for the Wanting—Another masterpiece from IWC. Somehow so calming and so stressful.
Mount Eerie: Sauna—Weird to me that this wasn't more buzzed about-every time I put this on I'm astonished at how sprawling and beautiful it is.
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Future: Beast Mode—Sure, I lost my mind for DS2 (and "March Madness") like everybody else, but it was really this lil' record that killed me this year. Future and Zaytoven together are the best-and I'll always ride for melodic, melancholic Future. "Just Like Brothers" is my favorite song of the year. "Jersey," the future solo, is easily the best song on What a Time to Be Alive.
Grimes: Art Angels—Even though we make very different music, I somehow feel like she is a musical kindred spirit. I love the way she hears pop music-so free and raw and exciting.
Oneohtrix Point Never: Garden of Delete—Complete freak show tunes, yet somehow totally beautiful. A true legend in our midst.
Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy: Sintetizzatrice—Crazy vocal experimentation/ambient chorale-truly stirring music.
Jenny Hval: Apocalypse, girl—One night, I listened to this record in the dark on a beach, alone and very intoxicated. Nothing will ever be the same.
What was the highlight of 2015, for either you personally or for the band? What was the low point?
The best thing I ever did in my life was to write my next record. 2015 was a sick year.
What are your hopes and plans for 2016?
Deliver my record!
Mainstream pop music is increasingly embraced by indie rock musicians and listeners, as well as serious music critics. At this point, do you draw any distinctions between Top 40 pop and indie rock/pop? Are you comfortable with this shift?
Surely the distinctions are still bold and obvious.
What are your thoughts on how the 2016 U.S. Presidential election is shaping up?
Bernie or death.
Which Star Wars character are you most like?
I've never seen Star Wars.
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