photo courtesy Neko Case
Neko Case is a novelist-in-miniature, a poet and a dream-purveyor whose genre has been described as "country rock noir." Born in 1970 on a military base in Alexandria, Case grew up in working class Tacoma, Washington, and at 15 moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she studied art and began her wide-ranging journeyman music career. She joined indie rock band The New Pornographers and continues to play with them whenever possible. Currently touring her sixth studio album ( The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You ), Case plays Brown's Island at 8 p.m. on June 27 as part of the Friday Cheers concert series.
RM : What are your experiences of playing outdoors?
NC : There have been many weird things that have happened outdoors, but the weirdest was being hailed off the stage [during a storm] at Sasquatch one year. I prefer indoors, just because of the sound control, but our sound crew is so good we don't really have issues aside from the occasional rainstorm or squeaky owl. I'm OK with that.
RM : For singer-songwriters, there is a tendency by some listeners to confuse the song for the singer. Do you accept this as part and parcel of your territory?
NC : Sometimes it gets on my nerves, but only if it's a truly lazy observation. I try to leave space for the listener to insert themselves into the story. That's how music has always comforted me as a listener.
RM : When did you realize that music was going to be your career?
NC : When I was about 30. I didn't have time to go to my other jobs any more. I didn't accept it then, or even feel worthy to call myself a "musician." And not because I wasn't trained or because I am a woman; music just seems so sacred to me.
RM : What do you think of those audience members who record your gigs on their phones?
NC : I don't put up with that. It's not legal without permission, but more importantly, it takes away from the experience of the audience around you, who also paid to see and hear a show. I've always hated being filmed, and I mess up the songs when I notice it's happening. It's not fair or polite.
RM : Is there something you take with you when you tour, to root you to home?
NC : Just my friends in the band. They are all I need.