At last year’s inaugural Eaux Claires Music Festival, Bon Iver performed live for the first time in almost three years. Though the performance featured the debut of new music, band figurehead Justin Vernon was cagey about the end of Bon Iver’s extended hiatus. Following today’s announcement that Bon Iver will once again headline Eaux Claires, however, Vernon has told Billboard that a full return is indeed on the horizon.
“I’m no longer winding down,” Vernon said. Ever noncommittal, though, he immediately couched his comment. “I’m not exactly sure where I am with it. I’ve been winding down for a number of years for numerous reasons. For exhaustion, exposure. It’s never died or anything to me. It’s one of those things that needs to be protected in my own spirit.”
Vernon went on to say that Bon Iver’s upcoming Asian tour and second Eaux Claires appearance could very well feature new music. “You know, we’re not just gonna play the same set we did last year. I’ve been working on music, you know, man… I’ve definitely been working on music.”
He expounded on what’s taken so long for him to come back to Bon Iver music, and why it mostly has to do with self-imposed restraint:
“It takes a long time, and I’m not sure exactly what it is or what it means to me, and until that happens I won’t really know exactly what sharing it will look like or feel like or when. There’s sort of this internal pressure, not from anybody but myself, to come out with new music for the festival. But I’m not gonna make myself do anything. I really have to take it step by step and have patience and know that the music — if it comes out, it’s gotta be really true, it’s gotta really live with the other records and extend from them and be reborn and all that. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
It’d seem to be a fool’s desire to expect firm answers from Vernon regarding the future of Bon Iver, but if nothing else, it seems clear that there is at least a future.
Watch Bon Iver debut a new song at last year’s Eaux Claires: