Devendra Banhart An interview with the soft-spoken pied piper of psychedelic Bohemia.

Devendra Banhart An interview with the soft-spoken pied piper of psychedelic Bohemia.

Issue 35

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Music

  • Words Sean Michaels
  • Photograph Lauren Dukoff

NOTES

“Press the button of world peace and wipe out everything but the moon,” Devendra Banhart sings on his new album, Ma. You would be forgiven for assuming that the current state of the planet has turned Banhart into a nihilist. Thankfully, he’s just exasperated. At 38, the maniacally creative musician, poet and artist is still as inventive as ever; his 10th studio album brings together cheeky folk songs, winsome rock and even loping Japanese country-pop. Banhart says he “let the lyrical narrative lead the way,” and Ma returns again and again to the unexpected (and even uninvited) consequences of love: romantic fervor, filial devotion and the love of one’s homeland—Venezuela, in Banhart’s case, and its disastrous ongoing political crisis.¹

What’s it like to talk to people...

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