As 'Lo-Fi Hi Fives' draws near

R. Stevie Moore comes with a lengthy, dizzying discography.

Often viewed as the godfather of lo-fi recording, the Nashville resident has - to date - recorded more than 400 albums. Churning out song after song, it's a maze which is a beautiful place to get lost in; yet a maze nonetheless.

A sampler for UK audiences has been in short supply for some time. Cherry Red pieced together a cross section a while back, but with R. Stevie Moore's profile rocketing of late, it's perhaps timely that Tim Burgess has stepped into the breach.

Using his O. Genesis label, the singer has pieced together 'Lo Fi Hi Fives: A Kind of Best Of'. A very personal selection of R. Stevie Moore's work, the pair even performed together (albeit briefly) at this year's Field Day.

Venturing backstage, ClashMusic found the pair to be on buoyant form. "I basically asked Stevie what I could and couldn’t use, and I has an idea of what to put on and Stevie told me what I couldn’t put on. It was a good collaboration" Burgess explains, simply. "There’s a new generation of fans that’ll all want to hear it. It just seemed like a great idea, we get on really well, I wanted to put my spin on it and R. Stevie was happy to help me along with digging out the archives."

Allowed to piece through R. Stevie Moore's vast discography, Tim Burgess was free to pull together an intriguing cross section. "I had a wish list and out of 15 R. Stevie said: “This has been on something, you can’t have that one, the rest are great.” Every time I suggested something, R. Stevie would suggest another 10, so I’d have to go through them and have a picture in my head... but I think it was collaborative, I really do".

A tall, imposing figure R. Stevie Moore's warmth, wit and dyed blue beard allow you to develop a genuine, almost instant liking for the lo-fi guru.

On his back catalogue, the Nashville artist had the following to say: "It’s not as complicated as people seem to make it.. like you must be going nuts, 400 albums. No! You go on YouTube, watch 20 YouTubes, there’s your album. Their favorites... I can’t choose these yet because there’s all this other stuff. It’s not complicated, I say that in interviews all the time. “How did you do the lo-fi home recording in the ‘70s? Did you have any idea it was going to happen in 2012?” Of course not! Life just falls into place or it doesn’t. It’s not as complicated as it seems".

Famed for his use of the internet, R. Stevie Moore is typically evangelical when the topic of the web is raised. "I think it’s fantastic, it’s a godsend both visually and sonically. Now I have much of my back catalogue on Bandcamp. I used to chuckle at those websites, these new young bands getting on Reverb Nation. There’s a million websites where you can post your music, there’s even ones that have long since died like MP3.COM. We used to take advantage of that, it was great. Anyone can put there music up on there. Myspace, remember those days?" he asks. "The internet is just perfect for it, I can have direct contact with fans or enemies, hecklers. I go nuts on it, it’s like performance art".

Invited to perform at Field Day, the performance feels like a very real affirmation of Moore's artistic struggle. "It’s mind numbing" he says. "I’ve been struggling so hard, not to mention I never was a live performer much, now I’m doing one nighters around the globe. It’s outrageous".

Explaining more about his back catalogue, R. Stevie Moore insists that he has two discographies: one for studio albums, and the other for compilations. "I’m almost always down with what they choose, I can’t be bothered" he says. "There’s a lot of people thinking I’m shooting myself in the foot by offering so many recordings. A man needs an editor, people re overwhelmed with the quantity. I don’t care, if somebody wants to put together what they think is a kind of best of, it’s almost always valid".

"Stylistically, I cross so many genres of music, usually I just mix them all up in a blender like a mixtape. Variety, various artists, others want tog et more focus - I lack focus and I’m proud of it" he continues. "Also, the value of mixtapes in some songs follow other songs wonderfully; it’s spooky. You don’t know until you experiment".

With the Tim Burgess / R. Stevie Moore partnership seemingly bearing fruit, there was time left to ask if the pair could envisage working together in the future. "Oh yeah, we want to make music together. Which we shall. Schedules are tight, but we will."

'Lo Fi Hi Fives: A Kind of Best Of' is due to be released in August.
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