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Lo-Fi Revisited: Lou Barlow

Founding member of Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh and The Folk Implosion talks about his musical inspirations and his solo work.

When did you start making music? Who inspired you musically?
Age 12, 1979 or so, I moved to Massachusetts, discovered a plethora of college radio stations. I heard and was amazed by things like Young Marble Giants, the Dead Kennedy's  and the Renaldo and the Loaf. I began recording very short songs (30 seconds) on portable tape recorders with acoustic guitars w/ 3 or 4 strings. I immersed myself in the  hardcore punk scene inspired by labels like Dischord, Touch and Go. I met J Mascis by putting up a flyer asking for a drummer for a ' fast hardcore band'.

What was the set-up for early recordings with Dinosaur Jr.?
We set up and recorded the songs quickly, J. was in the midst of an incredibly creative period writing his first songs, he'd only been playing guitar for a year at that point...

Are you aware of the legacy you left behind with Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr.?
J had a legitimate influence on the return to vintage gear and the use of outrageous guitar effects. I seemed to influence a lot of young guys terrorizing prospective mates with poorly recorded love songs!

What do you make of the new generation of DIY lo-fi bands making music in their bedrooms who cite Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr. as inspiration? Which of the current bands do you like and listen to?
I think there are more good bands now than at any point during the 'indie rock' era... I don't know whether they were influenced by anything I've been a part of...  I like Panda Bear, Black Lips...

How is the Dinosaur Jr. tour going? You've released 2 great albums (Beyond and Farm) with the original line-up which almost goes against the received wisdom of bands who reform for the sake of cashing in. Are the earlier tensions between you and J. Mascis gone or now just channeled through the music?
It's always evolving. I was pleasantly surprised to find that J was into the challenge of writing new songs and continuing the reunion.

What do you have coming up that you're excited about?
Solo record early October, 'Goodnight Unknown'... recorded most of it myself in my usual incompetent way... I'm proud of it, please be kind.