BY Neal Broverman

February 04 2010 4:50 PM ET

STEPHEN MERRITT MAIN X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Are your homes an influence on your writing or music?
I
don’t know that it particularly does influence my writing. But Realism
definitely couldn’t have been made without my spending a lot of time
visiting the musical instrument stores of Los Angeles. Because there’s
so many South American/Central American instruments that I just
wouldn’t have gotten in New York.

“You Must Be Out of Your Mind” is a wonderful kiss-off song, a wonderful song in general.
Thank you.

How autobiographical is your material?
Well,
most of it not at all. But it does explain the world in terms of my
record collection; my record collection is such an important part of
who I am that I don’t think it’s trivial to say.

So what are you listening to now?
Right
now I am listening to a record set of John Foxx and Harold Budd —
translucence and drift music. It’s wonderful for being able to listen
to and not listen to.

This is a bit of a generalization, but why do you not think there are not more gay folk singers?
Well,
I think it may have to do more with being openly gay than who is gay.
There are plenty of gay men doing quiet music; they just aren’t in the
club scene, so they’re forced into not being open about it.

Being
a man singing about men in some of your songs — is that a nonissue in
the world you work in? The indie world, quote, unquote.

I’m not in the indie music world. I’ve had a major record label deal for 10 years.

“Indie” is more of a generalization — I mean in the world where you operate.
Which is what?

In the interactions that you have.
I don’t think of myself as being in one particular social scene relating to music.

I guess I’m just asking if it’s an issue in your working life.
Not
that I know of. Every five years when I accidentally read my press, I
discover that when people don’t like my music they tend to use the word camp. And that’s sure a code word if I’ve ever heard one. So at least
a significant chunk of bad reviews I get are actually specifically
homophobic.
























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