Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon Recording Album With Rapper Astronautalis

Justin Vernon

By Zachary Swickey

Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon must not be keen on taking breaks, because despite being on the road for most of 2011 – touring behind his Grammy-winning self-titled album – he somehow found the time to record a new full-length effort with his rapper friend Astronautalis.

While the concept may seem like a radical departure for Vernon, it’s really not if you are aware of his other side-gig with his supergroup Gayngs – a “collective” of 25 musicians, including Har Mar Superstar, rappers P.O.S. and Dessa from Doomtree, as well as three members of Solid Gold.

The record will also reportedly feature Bon Iver drummer S Carey and producer Ryan Olson (the man responsible for forming Gayngs) with Vernon’s April Base Studio in Wisconsin serving as the project’s headquarters.

“This process was exhilarating, and it drove us further. We were originally going to be down there for a day,” Astronautalis, real name Andy Bothwell, said in an interview with City Pages – claiming he also freestyled for eight hours over the music Vernon came up with.

“A lot of my fans are like, ‘Oh this is going to be amazing: Astronautalis rapping and Justin singing choruses.’ It’s not going to be that,” Bothwell said about the effort.

The two also reportedly have a separate moniker for the project that they have yet to reveal, and though they are reportedly hoping to release new music sooner rather than later, they did not set a release date for the project.

It’s safe to assume that the disc will land on the new label Vernon founded, Chigliak Records. An imprint of Jagjaguwar, the label that signed Bon Iver, Chigliak Records focuses on “never commercially released” or “locally released [in Wisconsin] and never put out on vinyl,” as well as new music.