Twelve years ago little known band Bon Iver released For Emma, Forever Ago, an album recorded by Justin Vernon almost entirely in an isolated cabin in Wisconsin. The expansive, searching record was showered with acclaim and has since been cemented as an album that redefined the folk genre for American music, setting Bon Iver on course to become one of the biggest bands of the decade. In the ensuing years, two more critically acclaimed albums have followed - Bon Iver, Bon Iver and 22, A Million - as well as countless awards and sold out tours the world over.
The growth has been exponential but throughout Bon Iver’s evolution the band’s commitment to translating their music in the most intimate way, from small crowds to stadiums, has never wavered. “It hasn’t changed me, it only shifts my perspective,” says Justin of their success. “Whether it’s ten people in a room in Paris ten years ago to 10,000 people in a new city, it’s all still very full of energy. Both experiences are very similar for us, as the performers of our music every night, we want to equip the arena for a larger sense of experience and allow as many people as possible to see that.”
This year marks another point in the Bon Iver story. In August the band will release their fourth album, i,i, followed by Autumn, a North American tour that will take them to the close of the year. “This project keeps evolving and each iteration raises the bar from one version to the next,” says Bon Iver’s production designer, Michael Brown. “We’re doing this to both challenge ourselves and reward the fans that are coming back to see what is being created or even re-invented. We want our audiences to have a completely new experience every time they come to a show.”
In this exclusive documentary for WePresent we delve into the intricate production of Autumn, share in the camaraderie between the band and find out why Bon Iver will always let the music speak for itself.
i,i by Bon Iver is out via Jagjaguwar on August 30
See Autumn tour dates below
I find being vulnerable is a very important thing to do as a person, and as an artist. When you are vulnerable you open up and things can hurt, the truth can hurt but you learn acceptance. This is my work, my field.
Bon Iver continues to grow as a family, an entity, a creative hub - formed of like-minded people with a purpose of spreading love and art to an open audience. i,i and this tour is our most realized presentation of who we are as a band.
Sean Carey (drummer)
Being a part of bringing this record to life was such a unique and singular joy. To be surrounded by so many incredible people at work on their contributions to a larger effort, sharing a space with so many resources and so few distractions.
Jenn Wasner (guitarist)
- 8/31 - Missoula, MT - KettleHouse Amphitheater ø
- 9/2 - Vail, CO - Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater ∞
- 9/3 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre ∞
- 9/4 - Salt Lake City, UT - Maverik Center ∞
- 9/6 - George, WA - The Gorge Amphitheatre ∞
- 9/7 - Vancouver, BC - Pacific Coliseum ∞
- 9/10 - Portland, OR - Theater of the Clouds ∞ ^
- 9/12 - San Francisco, CA - Chase Center ∞ ^
- 9/15 - Los Angeles, CA - The Forum ∞ ^
- 10/3 - St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center † ^ #
- 10/4 - Rosemont, IL - Allstate Arena † ^ #
- 10/6 - Toronto, ON - Scotiabank Arena † ^ #
- 10/8 - Columbus, OH - Schottenstein Center † ^ #
- 10/10 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center † ^ #
- 10/11 - Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center ‡ ^ #
- 10/15 - Boston, MA - TD Garden † ^ #
- 10/17 - Washington, DC - The Anthem †
- 10/18 - Washington, DC - The Anthem †
- 10/19 - Raleigh, NC - PNC Arena † ^ #
- ø w/ Indigo Girls
- ∞ w/ Sharon Van Etten
- † w/ Feist
- ‡ w/ Yo La Tengo
- (^ Mirrors production)
- (# L-ISA production)
For tickets and show information, see boniver.org