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J. Tillman's Quotes

J. Tillman profile photo

Born: 1981-05-03
Profession: Musician
Nation: American
Biography of J. Tillman

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Funny is a good foil. Humor is illuminating, and it also gives you power.

Tags: Funny, Good, Humor

I play sad bastard music. For the money.

Tags: Money, Music, Sad

I was kind of bored playing drums in a band. Which was depressing, because playing in the band was kind of a golden ticket.

Tags: Band, Bored, Playing

I was like, 'Josh Tillman, you are not a songwriter. You are an ape. Stop thinking of yourself as a songwriter.'

Tags: Stop, Thinking, Yourself

I've never taken the steps to be 'successful': I've never had a manager or signed to a publishing house.

Tags: House, Successful, Taken

It's a vanity to think that a legitimate shamanistic experience can be purchased.

Tags: Experience, Legitimate, Vanity

Laurel Canyon is kind of grotesque. It's this nature-themed place, and everybody is kind of angry.

Tags: Angry, Everybody, Place

My humor is my creativity, and my skepticism is a gift.

Tags: Creativity, Gift, Humor

There's a lot of risk in putting what you suspect you really are into your music.

Tags: Music, Risk, Suspect

With sad music, or music that's perceived as sad, there's a sense of solidarity that can be really powerful. My songs are all joyful to me.

Tags: Music, Powerful, Sad

I had this revelation, you are a lot better at the between-song stuff than you are at the song stuff. That was devastating. And I usually find devastating things to be pretty valuable.

Tags: Pretty, Song, Stuff

I think that providing obstructions in the live setting is when you get something that actually means something, as opposed to just aping your way through your greatest hits.

Tags: Actually, Greatest, Means

I try to make myself, and subsequently the audience, as uncomfortable as possible, whether it's completely desecrating a song they thought was one thing, or getting too drunk to really do a very good job.

Tags: Drunk, Good, Job

I would play my Dungeons and Dragons songs and watch people's eyes glaze over, and then I would start joking around between songs, and all of a sudden people were lighting up and engaging.

Tags: Between, Eyes, Start

I've been writing a lot about my encounter with love. Which is the white stag as far as songwriting is concerned because love songs are so banal, and my experience with love is anything but that.

Tags: Experience, Love, Writing

My last album as J. Tillman, 'Singing Ax,' that was really a premeditated death rattle of the aesthetic precedent I had set. I realized I wasn't creating spontaneously; I was enforcing all these parameters. I was too self-loathing or something, and there was this obvious dissonance between my conversational voice and creative voice.

Tags: Between, Creative, Death

When I was young, I had this contrarian thing, and my music for a long time was an extension of that. I didn't want to entertain people; I had too much vanity to be an entertainer. I think that some layers of vanity came off.

Tags: Music, Time, Young

You know, there's an economy in lyric-writing that doesn't afford you, or at least me - I usually start off with nine or 10 verses and then boil it down to two or three that are half the length of the original verses.

Tags: Off, Start, Three

Books have this function that help me to understand the work I've done, to wrap it up.

Tags: Done, Help, Work

Books have this function that help me to understand the work I've done, to wrap it up. Once it's done, fortunately, it doesn't mean there's closure.

Tags: Help, Mean, Work

Change in my work happens not in revolutions - it's more evolutionary.

Tags: Change, Happens, Work

I see my practice as picture making. Whatever is available, I use.

Tags: Making, Picture, Whatever

In order to engage in an 'experiencing of the world,' one has to physically move oneself to the most diverse places on earth.

Tags: Earth, Move, Order
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It's very real, the narrow line between a night danced away and the potential of death around the corner.

Tags: Death, Night, Real

When I was growing up, all the art that touched me was lens-generated, like Gerhard Richter, or Polke, Rauschenberg, Warhol.

Tags: Art, Growing, Touched

A photocopier is a camera in its own right. I was fortunate to grow up in the time and culture that I did. I was allowed to develop an awareness that the art that really moves me is actually based on an original image.

Tags: Actually, Art, Time

I want the pictures to be working in both directions. I accept that they speak about me, and yet at the same time, I want and expect them to function in terms of the viewer and their experience.

Tags: Experience, Time, Working

On the one hand I follow a vocation because I have an ability that I should exercise, but I want to use it for a reason, because I don't see that the freedoms that I enjoy are God-given realities. So I have a very healthy, activist general tension in me which feels that no, this is not gratuitous, it is important to keep this in focus.

Tags: Enjoy, Focus, Keep

There is this looking at the world as shapes and patterns and colors that have meaning, and you can't deny the superficial because the superficial is what meets the eye.

Tags: Eye, Looking, Meaning

The art of using deceit and cunning grow continually weaker and less effective to the user.

Tags: Art, Deceit, Less

A good word is an easy obligation; but not to speak ill requires only our silence, which costs us nothing.

Tags: Good, Silence, Speak

Ignorance and inconsideration are the two great causes of the ruin of mankind.

Tags: Great, Ignorance, Mankind

To be able to bear provocation is an argument of great reason, and to forgive it of a great mind.

Tags: Forgive, Great, Mind

The crafty person is always in danger; and when they think they walk in the dark, all their pretenses are transparent.

Tags: Danger, Dark, Walk

Zeal is fit for wise men, but flourishes chiefly among fools.

Tags: Fools, Men, Wise

They who are in the highest places, and have the most power, have the least liberty, because they are the most observed.

Tags: Liberty, Places, Power

Sincerity is like traveling on a plain, beaten road, which commonly brings a man sooner to his journey's end than by-ways, in which men often lose themselves.

Tags: End, Lose, Men