Villages gets a national nod

It takes a village: Ross Gentry’s Q&A with Vice Magazine was a compelling examination of music that can be tough for newcomers to decipher. Photo by Chris Ballard

The Asheville music scene landed in the national spotlight again last week when local drone/ambient artist Ross Gentry (Villages) was interviewed by VICE Magazine for its website.

Gentry is co-founder of Headway Recordings, which was featured on the cover of our Feb. 20 issue. For those unfamiliar with Vice, they're the hipster arts and culture mag turned immersionist political investigators with regular (and hilarious) features like "The Westminster Dog Show on Acid." They’re also the folks who accidentally gave up the location of accused murderer and obvious-crazy-person John McAffe when he was on the lam in Central America last December, and the ones who accompanied Dennis Rodman on his bizarre tour of North Korea in late February. Yep, those guys.

That said, the in-depth Q&A is an interesting read and a sincere examination of Gentry's complex soundscapes. There's the usual background info, an engaging discussion of his writing and recording process and, most interesting, some insight into the narrative intent of music that, at first listen, can seem a bit random and abstract. The generally soft-spoken Gentry seems surprisingly talkative (maybe he's into emails) and the piece should be as interesting to newcomers as to fans.

Of course, no nationally published interview would be complete without some local love, and Gentry certainly gives credit where credit is due, name checking fellow experimental Asheville label Bathetic Records and giving big props to Harvest Records, which he calls "the greatest record store in the world.” He goes on to plug the local experimental scene ("This genuinely inspiring, self-sustaining hub of forward-thinking, uncommon music of all forms), and we think it's worth noting that Gentry himself is a major reason that scene exists in the first place.

Check out the full interview here and listen to Villages on SoundCloud.

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