For many, this past weekend served as a means to experience the vast array of sounds the annual festival AthFest had to offer. For Ernest Greene known professionally as Washed Out, Saturday was a sort of homecoming. WUOG writer and talk show host F. Stanley Julien caught up with Greene backstage following his highly anticipated show on Saturday night for a one on one interview.
It has certainly been a while since Washed Out’s Ernest Greene has been in Athens. The musician who lives in Atlanta stated he doesn’t “get a chance to come back often”. Greene- a UGA alum- graduated from the University in 2007 after studying English Literature and Philosophy. Since that time, he has gone on to earn much critical acclaim with a list of well-reviewed EPs and collaborations. During the interview, Greene retraced his housing origins in the city of Athens- from living in the River Mill Apartments to living behind a Sorority house; it was certain that this city had shaped an integral part of the person Greene is today. Following graduation, he attended USC in Columbia, SC. for Graduate School. It was there that Greene revealed he met fellow ‘chillwave’ artist Chaz Bundick- known as Toro Y Moi. Very quickly the two bonded, and today Greene considers Bundick to be one of his very best friends. He expressed that while he strongly desires to work with Chaz- their schedules currently do not coincide as Bundick is finishing up touring, and he himself will begin touring soon. Still, their collaboration is something fans can expect in the near future.
As the conversation went on, the topic of influences came up. Greene expressed his love for legendary hip-hop musicians OutKast, and how the album Stankonia is of much importance to him. He expressed the ardent desire of collaborating with his favorite musician Andre 3000-saying “I keep thinking maybe one day I’ll run into him somewhere in Atlanta..”. The interview continued with Greene expressing fondness for the band he followed that evening- Athens favorites Reptar. Greene acknowledge the growing fame the 4 piece band was gaining-stating he was in England recently and after informing someone he was from Atlanta, the immediate question asked was “Do you know of Reptar?”
On his own augmenting fame, Greene appeared to be unfazed, humbly stating there were some things from his performance tonight he had hoped to fix in time for the tour, and that tomorrow he and the band would work on them. He and the band are currently preparing to embark on their next tour for the upcoming release of Within and Without- on Sub Pop Records. The record which has been generating quite some buzz for its album cover will be released everywhere on July 12th.
On the album cover, Greene stated that “the cover is not meant to be provocative..and that this record is different from other records in that its aim is to show intimate moments”. Perhaps the intimate moments being refereed to are in relations to his wife of a year and a half-who joined Greene on stage Saturday night as part of the band. This is not the first time Greene’s wife has inspired an album cover- as he revealed that the female on the cover of the Life of Leisure record was in fact her, and that the picture was taken on St. Simon’s Island here in the state of Georgia.
As the conversation waned, the topic of Portlandia came about and Greene acknowledge the realization that many of his fans were introduced to him through the mentioned IFC television show. Portlandia- the Fred Armisen satirical sketch show features an instrumental version of his song “Feel It All Around” as its theme song. When asked how that came about, Greene revealed that he received an email from Fred Armisen stating that he was a fan and was hoping to use Greene’s music for an upcoming tv show. Initially, Greene thought this was a prank his friends were playing on him and wrote it off as fake. This was before reading the final lines of the email which contained Armisen’s address on it in Manhattan, NY. Seeing this, Greene responded and sent him the record. 4-5 months later, Portlandia hit television screens and so came a lot of individual’s introductions to Washed Out.
An extremely talented musician, Greene hopes to return to the Classic City later this fall in October to perform. He has revealed interest in stopping by the WUOG station for an interview or through performing in our station’s lobby. We’re excited to see what he has in store!- F. Stanley Julien