Interview: Tobin Sprout of Guided By Voices

Legendary indie band, Guided By Voices are preparing to release their new album, English Little League on April 30th. We caught up with Tobin Sprout to talk about the new album, his solo career, and possibilities of a GBV tour.

When Guided By Voices broke up in 2005, was there ever a time when you thought you were done with music?
Not really. I thought there would come a time that I wouldn’t tour anymore, but I knew I would always make music. It is something I really enjoy doing, so whether I release albums or not I would still make music.

You have not released another solo album since the reunion of GbV. Is that still something you want to do?
I’m working on an EP right now, but not sure when it will be released. It might become an album.

In 2009, you released a children’s book, Elliott. There are rumors you were working on a music video/single under the same title. Any truth in the rumors?
I have a video on YouTube called Elliott. It’s something I used when I would go to schools and read ELLIOTT to the kids. It’s about the story of Elliott and how he came to be. I do some drawing on it and then just talk about how the story was written. It runs about 5 minutes and I wrote most of the music for it as well.

Guided By Voices upcoming album, English Little League, will be your third album in a year’s time. How does the band manage to write and record so much material?
We all write, so there is a lot to choose from. Bob writes the most, as you’ve seen. But if you want your songs on an album, then you better get busy writing. I wrote a lot of the songs on English Little League in one week. I just planned to write the whole week, and I did. “Amanda Gray” was the first and by the end of the week I had six or seven strong songs. “The Sudden Death of Epstein’s Ways” was one of the last to be written. “Waves of Gray” was one of the last as well, along with “Down By The Racetrack”. That one was actually too late for the English Little League album…but early enough for the EP.

What were the recording sessions for English Little League like?
They went very well. Lots of ad lib vocals and harmony. We don’t spend a lot of time on the songs. We get the main tracks down first, then overdubs and vocals are last. We mix and we’re finished. We were in the studio for two days. I also did the tracks for “Island” there with Mitch on guitar and Kevin on drums.

Finally, what’s next for Guided By Voices? Tour? Another record?
I’m not sure. We have singles coming out every other week until the release of English Little League album on April 30th but no tour dates in the works yet.