Indian Blanket -- playing this Saturday at the Firebird with Swedish folk group First Aid Kit -- is the little-known brain child of St. Louis' Joe Andert. The band has spent much of its existence locked primarily in Andert's self-criticism and careful exploration. To date, the show calendar has been vanishingly sparse and the public documentation is a series of demos and one single. Not too many people have had the chance to fall for Indian Blanket, but the band does have one very high profile supporter in Klara Söderberg of FAK, who is a close friend of Andert's. She has been and will continue to be a frequent collaborator with the band.
They met a few years ago out of mutual respect for each other's music. Their first duet was a cover of Bob Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather," which Andert has allowed us to share with you -- it's on the final page of this interview. We also spoke with him about the roots of Indian Blanket and his hopes for this weekend's show.
Cassie Kohler: There isn't much information about Indian Blanket out there. Can you give our readers an idea of who you guys are and where you come from?
Joe Andert: Indian Blanket is myself, Jim Hughes, Alex Beaven and we just added cellist Katie Brown. I went to Columbia College in Chicago. I was studying film and poetry and Jim was studying music composition. We've been friends since high school, Alex too. We played with people there and it was called the Indian Blanket. As people dropped out of school and new people came in it was always called Indian Blanket. For the longest time, it was really just a name for this music that I put out. Now it's been a few years and Jim and Alex have been there the whole time. Indian Blanket is a more solid thing. It always been a folk-y, Americana thing.
So Indian Blanket is your musical vision and members kind of come and go?
To an extent, I think that was the case until recently. Now I think its definitely us [four], because it's definitely a group writing project. Everyone is so much on the same page, there is no do this or do that. Now, there is almost no reason to speak to the band. It's just easy and everyone has been playing together for so long that it's not the kind of thing we have to talk about.
Indian Blanket doesn't play live very often. What's up with that?
Almost never does it hit me that I should book a show instead of writing songs. Making sure a bunch of people heard the music was never something that I really cared about and that's changed recently. The songs have gotten to a place where I want people to hear them. Also, we were playing with these two brothers but it didn't work out. They are killer musicians, but they weren't coming from the same direction. We had to completely start over and couldn't play a show for a while. In that time period, I went through this thing where I didn't even like the songs anymore, so we had to rewrite all of our stuff and come back to a place where we were comfortable.
Can you elaborate on not liking your on songs after some time?
They [the songs] aren't relevant anymore. If they aren't true to me anymore, singing about it, I can't be real about it. When you are singing something, I think you have to sing it like you mean it and that's how you get to someone.
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