Father John Misty

Father John Misty

Elements of Misdirection

Hear the story of a successful American singer-songwriter, who grew up in a religious home that he had to break radically with. Meet Joshua Tillman who became Father John Misty, and who has made roleplaying the axis of his captivating songs.

“There are a lot of ways where the rhetoric of being an artist or a musician overlaps with the rhetoric of faith or religion,” says Misty. Growing up in a strict Protestant Evangelical home in suburban Maryland, U.S. – where only Christian culture was permitted – he explains that the fantasy world he has created is similar to the religious world in which he was raised.

Unhappy with his background, the American songwriter felt a strong desire to break with it completely and re-invent himself. The ultimate way of doing so was by changing his name. Several albums were thus produced under the name J. Tillman and were – in Misty’s own words – “cathartic.” Around the age of 30, he had a “creative pre-mature midlife crisis,” which made him realize that in order to survive creatively he had to keep moving. As a response, Father John Misty was created: “Any time you get on stage there’s something inauthentic happening. At worst something inauthentic. And at the most benign you are like an object to people and they’re animating who you are with their own perceptions and whatever else.” Creating the character of Father John Misty then also became a way for him to be “authentically fake.”

Joshua Tillman (Father John Misty) (b. 1981) is an American singer, guitarist, drummer and songwriter. He started out doing solo albums under the name J. Tillman from age 21 and later went on to play drums in the critically acclaimed folk-band Fleet Foxes (2008-2012). In 2012 Tillman released his first album as Father John Misty called ‘Fear Fun’. His second album ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ was released in 2014 and received excellent reviews from the likes of The Guardian, SPIN and Pitchfork.

Father John Misty was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen at the music venue Vega in Copenhagen, Denmark in November 2015 in connection to his concert. Clips from the concert are featured during the video.

Camera: Simon Weyhe and Klaus Elmer
Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Mika Rottenberg

    What is the Connection

    The exceptional video artist Mika Rottenberg here presents her intriguing video installation ‘Cosmic Generator.’ Set on the U.S.-Mexico border and in a huge Chinese market, the work explores the collapse – or reinforcement – of distance.

  • Svetlana Alexievich

    A Human is a Scary Creature

    Nobel Prize-winning writer Svetlana Alexievich is known for her monumental non-fiction narratives exploring war and its aftermath in the former Soviet Union. In this video she discusses the role of the writer in a corrupted society permeated by money.

  • Eileen Myles

    A Poem Says 'I Want'

    “I think a poem really is a statement of desire.” Meet the legendary American poet, writer – and homosexual icon – Eileen Myles. In this video, she discusses the innate power of poetry and how to address the absence of the female genitalia.

  • Sambuichi

    One with the Earth's Cycle

    “Architecture should thrive like a plant.” Gain insight into the philosophy of a frontrunner in sustainable architecture, Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi, and hear how he created some of his unique, site-specific buildings.

  • Naja Marie Aidt

    What You Don't Want to Hear

    “Life’s fragility is ever-present.” Deeply moving video with Danish writer Naja Marie Aidt, who opens up about the tragic death of her 25-year-old son, and how she dealt with her overshadowing loss and grief through literature, gradually returning to writing.

  • George Condo

    The Way I Think

    George Condo was part of the 1980s wild art scene in New York. In this video, recorded in his New York-studio, the iconic artist shares his life-long love of drawing and thoughts on his artistic expression, which he describes as “artificial realism.”

  • Joyce Pensato

    A Life with Cartoon Characters

    Meet the unique artist Joyce Pensato, who paints funny yet sinister large-scale versions of cartoon figures and comic book heroes. We visited the Brooklynite in her studio where she showed us around and shared her love for the iconic characters.

  • Paul Auster

    What Could Have Been

    “I don’t think there’s a human being alive who doesn’t reflect on what could have been.” Watch the great American novelist Paul Auster on the impact of the choices we make, the obsessive nature of writing and having reached the age of 70.

  • Bunny Rogers

    Mourning Youth

    Watch the praised artist Bunny Rogers (b. 1990) talk about creating autobiographical work that draws from memory and deals with her childhood by archiving her feelings from that time: “You can’t make objective art, it’s going to be subjective.”

  • Ed Atkins

    Something is Missing

    Ed Atkins is considered one of the most unsettling contemporary artists – as well as one of the most exciting. In this video, the young British artist shares how he works from written texts, and why melancholy is at the centre of his animated digital videos.

  • Louisa Gagliardi

    Longing for Something Else

    “Art is amazing because it’s in a way unnecessary, but extremely necessary as a testimony of its time.” Let us introduce you to a rising star of painting, Louisa Gagliardi, who creates her surreal work digitally and adds layers of paint to the printed image.

  • Hannah Levy

    A Design Purgatory

    “I wonder if the reason why people want to touch it is that they’re in some way attracted to it, or if they’re repulsed by it.” Meet the young artist Hannah Levy, who primarily makes sculptures combining curving steel forms with cast silicone.