Bon Iver Has Long Wishlist of Collaborators

Grammy winner weighing recording options

February 13, 2012 4:35 PM ET

bon iver grammys
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver takes a bite out of one of his trophies in the press room at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Bon Iver and frontman Justin Vernon were already winners before last night's Grammys telecast began, taking home the award for Best Alternative Music Album for Bon Iver. But Vernon's biggest moment came in the ten o'clock hour, when the band won the award for Best New Artist, defeating J. Cole, Skrillex, The Band Perry and frontrunner Nicki Minaj. At the podium, the bandleader took the opportunity to recognize his lesser-known indie contemporaries.

"There's a lot of talent that's not here tonight," said Vernon, the band's principal songwriter. That statement left us wondering: Who is Vernon's own pick for best new artist?

"I've been listening to this band Polica from Minneapolis a lot lately," the 30-year-old singer tells Rolling Stone. "They're the best band I've ever heard." Vernon, a respected songwriter who collaborated with Kanye West on the track "Lost in the World," was also nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Holocene," losing to Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" in both categories. 

"When I started to make songs, I did it for the inherent reward of making songs," says Vernon, who released the debut For Emma, Forever Ago under the Bon Iver moniker in 2008. In the wake of the band's Grammy showing, Vernon is focused on identifying contributors for future studio endeavors.

"In the business of music, there's a lot of talk about producers and singers and shit like that. But the shit I geek out on is engineers. One person I'm very interested in working with is Frank Rogers in Nashville. I'm a big fan of modern country, and he works on some modern country that I really like. Another is Oz Fritz. He's a great engineer that works with Tom Waits."

While Vernon has claimed the next Bon Iver album may be five years away, that hasn't stopped the Wisconsinite from assembling a wishlist of collaborators.

"We all really care about James Blake because, well, just because. He's a guy that we know well that we've considered bringing in. But let's bring in his team, the men behind James Blake, as well. We met all those guys and they're great. Whenever you work in this business, you run into a lot of people that remind you of yourself. And when you run into people that are doing shit that's totally different — but yet you all agree about how to do it — then you win."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Love Is the Answer”

Utopia | 1977

The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

More Song Stories entries »