Bon Iver's Sean Carey on Hoyas and why he didn't get a Grammy

Categories: Q&A
Photo by Cameron Wittig
Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Astronautalis form band, record album
Bon Iver wins two Grammys, and "Bonny Bear" is born

Sean Carey has been a key component of Bon Iver's live presence for years. In addition to being the drummer and backing vocalist for Justin Vernon's band, the Eau Claire-based artist has grown a solid solo career in the past few years as S. Carey.

The project yielded a full-length collection of folk-inspired songs titled All We Grow in 2010, and today marks the release of the experimental electronic EP Hoyas. Over 18 minutes, these songs blast a rocket filled with the emotional tension of Carey's previous work into the sonic universe of Kanye West's 808's and Heartbreak

Gimme Noise caught up with Sean Carey at his home in Eau Claire where his current project is assisting his sister in recording a new folk project called Luray. We discussed the mood that fed into Hoyas, and why he didn't get a Grammy statue.

Gimme Noise: So is Hoyas a reference to the Georgetown University mascot?

Sean Carey:
Not really. The background story of the EP is that my friend Ben Lester and I just started passing more electronic ideas back and forth. We came up with a bunch of ideas. Some of them sucked and some of them stuck. These four songs developed into things that I thought could be S. Carey songs. In that process, we started calling the project "Hoyas" -- just as some weird band name. It doesn't have much more of a story than that, except that we like the name of that mascot. We're not Georgetown fans or anything.

We started applying it to anything -- imagining it as anyone's mascot. My wife is from Bayfield, and we'd call the team the Bayfield Hoyas, even though it's not their mascot. Just kind of stupid stuff. Instead of having the band name be Hoyas, we decided to name the album Hoyas to commemorate our fake band name.

GN: Because of the vocal treatments and experimental nature of the songs, this is definitely a project that gets into a mood more than latching onto the individual songs.

Totally. We never thought of it as "this is my best song I've ever written." There's nothing precious about it. It's more experimental. I just wanted to share that mood, and not have a ton of weight on it.

GN: How would you describe the mood?

SC: What I kept coming back to after it was done, and I was really thinking about the songs, was the mood of... it's a little nostalgic. When I was in college, we had this group of friends where one of our main hobbies was just driving around at night and going to weird places. It was before we could get into bars. Just stargazing or taking cameras and doing long exposures of stars or lights. That's where I always go back to with the songs. You feel like you're free to do whatever, and you're exploring. We would go swimming or trespass. I don't know.

Stream the entire EP at Stereogum.

Sponsor Content

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault