Father John Misty Talks Trump, Foucault and 'Pure Comedy' in New Interview

Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images
 Father John Misty at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Oct. 23, 2016 in Los Angeles. 

There’s nothing unusual about a musician in 2017 speaking up about the current political climate. Denouncing president Trump has become de rigueur. Though only Father John Misty would reference these difficult times by quoting the words of Foucault.

The outspoken folk artist (born Josh Tillman) recounted the teachings of the late French philosopher and thinker for his take on the turmoil currently engulfing the United States.

“There is something about Trump that - I mean I have to say this carefully or choose my words carefully -- but Foucault said it’s better to have a King, because you can see the King coming at least and then you can defend yourself and you can unlock your defiance an authentic form of defiance,” Misty tells Zane Lowe in an interview recorded for Beats 1.

Misty has a reputation as a man with a lot to say, and he didn’t disappoint as he shared his deep and meaningful insights into “power structures” and the nature of rebellion. “In the day to day now people are experiencing psychic trauma in a way that they probably haven't in their life, they're scared it’s like there’s an evil king,” he added. “But it’s definitely clarifying it brings everything into focus in a way that a more established form of politics allows us to get away with never really having to examine.” 

The Maryland-raised artist also shed light on the creative process behind his forthcoming album Pure Comedy, the two-set follow-up to his acclaimed 2015 sophomore album I Love You, Honeybear.

“I just knew I wanted to make something fundamentally different than anything I had made before and so my life was gonna have to reflect a fundamental change too,” he says of the new LP, co-produced by Tillman and Jonathan Wilson and due April 7 on Sub Pop.  

“And when I wrote ‘these goons they elected to rule them’ (from the title track) that goes beyond the political elect who rules us in a million different ways day in and day out. We give people power of us in an infinite number of ways before you even get to politics. I think that we absolve ourselves of a certain responsibility via politics, you know personal responsibility. It’s kinda a stand in for the much hard decisions about they way we want to live and who we want to have control." 

The interview airs Wednesday.


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.