In explaining his road to success on a Made Me feature in Noisey, Kurt Vile's slacker-rock aesthetic is peeled back, revealing a hard working star in the making. With humble beginnings as a warehouse forklift driver, Vile began playing guitar on the side, writing folk-rock songs in his free time. "It was fun to, I guess, start from the ground up," he says. "It's almost like the whole blue collar thing. It's like, do it all yourself."
Vile found mainstream success in his hit "Freeway," which was included on his 2008 debut Constant Hitmaker. "Freeway I wrote in 2004... I was just kind of into the Bob Dylan thing back then, just like, always playing my acoustic." In writing it, he initially worried that "Freeway" sounded like a copy of something else. Deciding that it was just a symptom of a catchy song, he recorded a full band version. Now Vile hardly worries about sounding like his heroes, mentioning that "If it sounds familiar, that's ultimately a good thing."
From "Freeway's" release, Kurt's name spread quickly. Kurt Vile the rockstar became an idea that he enjoyed, but did not entirely take comfort in. "You play somewhere like London, and you play to two-thousand people easily, and every time you play to more people they treat you like you're a rockstar. And it makes you laugh, you're like I guess I am, but I'm also, you know, not."
Closing out the interview, he harkens back to the blue collar ethos. "I would go to the forklift and that was like a break. That was the best, I could just sit on that thing and I could just operate this, like, robot with wheels, it was kinda fun." Even as a rockstar, Kurt Vile maintains his normality, finding comfort in the mundane as much as the extraordinary.
Editor's note: A day later, Noisey and Budweiser posted another video of Kurt Vile talking about how early career as a recording artist: