Saturday SOS Interview: Car Seat Headrest
Will Toledo's bedroom confessional becomes a rock brigade – with empathy!
"I want to produce something that cements my reputation as something more than a one-album-wonder."
That's the hope of Car Seat Headrest brainchild Will Toledo, anyway. In one year's time, the Virginian swelled his bedroom project into an ever-touring rock fourpiece with two label-supported LPs. Last year's Teens of Style marked the then-23-year-old's Matador Records debut, trailed by May's Teens of Denial. Mingling the early naivete of Ben Kweller with Guided by Voices' finessed alt-raucousness, the South by Southwest veteran's songs capture life as-is: good, bad, bewildering.
"Pushing outside your comfort zone is a big part of making art," says the College of William & Mary graduate. "I've always tried to make my music personal. Denial is definitely in that vein."
This year's disc lessened the guitarist's initial lo-fi while upping the decibel quotient. Spilled guts, as always, fell front and center. Particularly stirring, "Costa Concordia" climbs slowly toward its peak, the English major's free-flow laundry-list one of confessions/resentments: "How the hell was I supposed to steer this ship?" he pleads.
"That's a song we don't always put on the set list," he admits. "It's difficult for me to perform."
Toledo's brainy/innocent air – Rivers Cuomo meets McLovin – continues scanning far wiser than the work of most twentysomethings.
"Many of my favorite artists were making music at my age," he notes, citing David Bowie and Kurt Cobain's respective magnum opuses, Space Oddity and Nevermind. "Now seems like the appropriate time to be fronting a rock band!"
When not touring, the Airbnb-hopper writes CSH's next album.
"If there's one thing [Denial] lacks, it's empathy," he says. "The next record is all about empathy. I'm in a better mental state this year. The next album will reflect that."