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Andy Cabic of Vetiver

A Walk in the Park

San Franciscoís folk-rock outfit Vetiver, led by Andy Cabic, returns to SF April 7th to celebrate the release of Tight Knit, the bandís fourth LP and debut on Sub Pop. Cabic emerged with the band in 2004, a few years after moving to San Francisco from North Carolina. He spoke with SF Station during a phone interview.

SF Station (SFS): What initially led you to move to San Francisco?

AC: There was a room in an apartment waiting for me. I finished school at University of North Carolina; that ended, along with a band I was in. It was sort of an interregnum period, and friends out here had a spot for me, so I just up and moved.

SFS: It seems like it worked out okay for you.

AC: Yeah, I love it here. I had only lived in Virginia, where I grew up, and North Carolina, where I went to school. I havenít desired to live anywhere else. This city has it all.

SFS: There was kind of a burgeoning scene with Devendra Barnhart, Joanna Newsom and other friends that you played with after youíre arrivedÖ

AC: That was actually about three years after I got here. When I first got here, I wasnít connecting with musicians in the same way things seemed to proliferate in North Carolina. I was meeting a lot more visual artists and writers, and kind of enjoying that difference.

Before Vetiver happened I was playing with a group called Tussle, and then things started to grow and change with Devendra. Eventually, I stopped playing with Tussle and was working with Vetiver and Dev most of the time.

SFS: The music on the new album lends itself to the outdoors and nature. Do you try to go away and leave the city to write songs?

AC: I usually stay and home and write songs in my apartment. They come over time in pieces, or sometimes they come all at once in a half hour. Each one is different. I donít tend to rush things or sign off on a song until something about it seems like it has reached a level of completion or sturdiness.

SFS: Is there any significance to the name of the album?

AC: Iím sure there is some significance, but there is nothing that I would put out there as a purposeful answer. I think it works on several different levels related to the cover art, the songs and their sequencing.

SFS: Does it also work because you are working with the same band members? Are you gelling more?

AC: The lineup still fluctuates. There is a balance of people I have been playing with for a while and new people who come in and out on occasion. Gelling is a strange word. We are playing better, but none of them live out here, so we donít rehearse. Itís not the same way you would consider that phrase with a band that practices every week.

I didnít write the album for the band; I just arranged the song to include their contributions. The album is disparate. There are a couple songs where I play almost everything. Itís diverse in that respect.

SFS: What do you enjoying doing in SF during your last free moments before going on tour?

AC: I just got back from a tour two days ago, and Iím leaving next week, so itís really just a brief period where I unpack, clear off my desk and untangle things. When Iím home, I like to walk through Golden Gate Park, or have meals with friends I donít get to see all of the time. Iím gonna play some Frisbee tomorrow and do a bunch of errands. Itís just kind of catching up as quick as I can.

Vetiver performs at Great American Music Hall on April 7th and the Palace of Fine Arts Theater with Fleet Foxes on April 15th.