Indie Mixtape 20: Aaron Lee Tasjan Loves Watching Turner Classic Movies

On his fourth full-length effort, Aaron Lee Tasjan evokes the folk and psychedelic sounds of yesteryear, with a unique modern twist. Tasjan’s approach is informed by a chameleonic career in music, from a distant glam rock past (he was once told by Jimmy Iovine that “guys in make-up don’t sell records”) to having a then-unknown Lady Gaga open a New York show for his band. On Tasjan Tasjan Tasjan, the songwriter embodies all of these different phases of his musical life.

Today, we’re happy to give an exclusive look at the new song “Another Lonely Day,” the latest single from the album, and one that epitomizes the shimmering psychedelia that Tasjan made his name on, but with a fine-tuned modern melodic sensibility that solidifies the strengths of his songwriting. Check it out below.

To celebrate the new song and album, Tasjan sat down to talk Nina Simone, Dublin, and The Departed in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Sparkling, hazy, proletarian & opulent.

It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?

As a sample in a late period Phoebe Bridgers masterpiece.

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?

Really wish I could say Dublin but I’ve never played there.

Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?

John Cooper Clarke is one of many. Never combed his hair, always looked fantastic.

Where did you eat the best meal of your life?

Sir Patrick Stewart and his wonderful and talented wife Sunny Ozell (lovely singer) took my manager and me to dinner in London once. We had all played a role in the Americana UK Awards presentation earlier that evening. Everyone’s outfit was phenomenal.

What album do you know every word to?

East Nashville Skyline by Todd Snider.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Dave Frishberg & Bob Dorough at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, CA.

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

If it’s in the city, anything from Urban Outfitters. If it’s at bedtime, anything from Sleep Outfitters.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?

Twitter is for talking but not listening. Instagram is picturesque gone grotesque. But if you must, I like Isbell on Twitter (the replies section is endless entertainment) and Lilly Hiatt on Instagram.

What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?

There really isn’t one. We talk a lot and read, too.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Spelling of the word grotesque.

What album makes for the perfect gift?

Any Nina Simone album.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?

Never crashed. Ran out of gas a few times though. Always while driving down the freeway.

What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?

It’s a picture of a nude Marilyn Monroe with my former bandmates face superimposed on her body. Why on earth would I ever get another one?

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?

I only listen to the radio when I’m home. We have incredible stations here in Nashville that play great music. Lightning 100, WMOT, WXNA and now WXPN, too. No need to flip from any of those.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

Ken Rockwood (Rockwood Music Hall) gave me a 1969 Gibson ES335 after he heard my guitar was stolen at SXSW. Still blows me away.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

You will find your sound and style through a series of adventures you wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Let it all go and enjoy!

What’s the last show you went to?

To Nashville With Love. The benefit for the Nashville tornado that was organized by Yola and included some truly incredible performances at Marathon Music Works here in Nashville.

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?

The Departed although I tend to just go straight to Turner Classic Movies. They’re always playing something I like. My Grandmother turned me on to it years ago.

What would you cook if Obama were coming to your house for dinner?

I’ve never seen him eat, but he looks like he eats lean. Maybe something special since it’s a big night? Chicago style pizza (no idea how to make this) or a Chicago style hotdog (also completely in the dark on how to make one of these.) Clearly, I’d have to ask!

Tasjan Tasjan Tasjan is out February 5 on New West. Pre-order it here. To celebrate the release will be a virtual performance on January 31, broadcast live on both Lightning 100 and on More info here.

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