Okkervil River perform live in The Current's studios

Okkervil River perform "Down, Down The Deep River" live on The Current. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
Okkervil River perform live in The Current's studio
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On the way to their show tonight at First Avenue, Okkervil River stopped by The Current's studios to talk about and to play some songs off their new album, The Silver Gymnasium.

It's fitting Will Sheff of Okkervil River begins by telling Mac Wilson some memories of St. Paul, Minn.; Sheff — who graduated from Macalester College in 1998 — is a sentimental guy. He's really fascinated with memories, particularly those memories that are jogged when we visit a place we haven't been in a while.

And memories are what inspired Okkervil River's latest album, The Silver Gymnasium. Sheff says he wrote the album as a reflection on childhood, particularly the personal symbols and details, so he revisited Meriden, N.H., the town where he grew up. Even if the memories only matter to him, Sheff believes listeners will find the music relatable as they begin to consider the value of their own nostalgia.

Over the course of their conversation, Wilson and Sheff also discuss early synth instruments, Macalester College's Hüsker Dü-related urban myths, and how tape recorders and radios gave each of them their first forays into what it feels like to be a DJ.

This thoughtful and insightful interview concludes with some reflections on Lou Reed, followed by Okkervil River's cover of Lou Reed's song, "Cremation."

Songs Performed

"Black Nemo" off The Silver Gynmasium
"Down, Down the Deep River" off The Silver Gynmasium
"Cremation" (cover) from Lou Reed's 1992 album, Magic and Loss released on Sire Records

Okkervil River's album The Silver Gymnasium is out now on ATO Records.

Hosted by Mac Wilson
Produced by Lindsay Kimball
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Web feature by Luke Taylor

External Links

Okkervil River - official website

'A Reason to Keep Singing' - Will Sheff's tribute to Lou Reed (Gawker.com)

Related Stories

  • First Listen: Okkervil River, 'The Silver Gymnasium' Sheff sets Okkervil River's seventh album, <em>The Silver Gymnasium</em>, square in the heart of his own childhood; in the specific spot that produced his most sepia-toned memories. As such, the record captures not only his own autobiographical details, but also musical cues from the era.
  • Okkervil River In-Studio Performance Taking their name from a short story written by Russian author, Tatyana Tolstaya, the Austin, Texas folk-rock band could literally be called a garage band - they recorded their debut album in a garage before being signed to Jagjaguwar records where they released four more critically-acclaimed records.

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  • will sheff, okkervil river
    Will Sheff of Okkervil River performs in The Current's studios. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

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