MERCURY: You're heralded as a kind of foremother of the current folk aesthetic that has blown up over the last few years. Do you think your aesthetic influenced the direction folk music has taken?
VASHTI BUNYAN: It makes me smile of course to think of myself as having been any kind of influence on anything—but then when I think about it more, I do know there is a link. Not necessarily rooted in traditional folk music—I certainly never called myself a folksinger—but in personal and narrative lyrics and spare instrumentation, and also in a great irreverence toward convention. Maybe it's a way of dealing with a world that is increasingly hard to understand. It was my way when I was young.
After being away from the music world for so long, what was it like coming back, making a new album and playing shows again?
It was a fairly slow process—thinking I couldn't do things (like playing live) and then doing them and finding that I could. I don't really think of it as coming back as I never really made any mark the first time around. I think of it as having taken up music where I left off in 1970, and having to learn all the lessons I never learned. I learned other ones though, and I have no regrets.
Following your experience with Lookaftering, do you think you'll be making another album anytime soon?
I will, yes. I loved making Lookaftering. I am writing another album just now, although it's quite hard mixing live performance with writing and recording. From what I see of other people it seems time has to be taken out for the making of an album—and this is what I will do early next year. Hopefully something new will appear in the autumn of 2007.
Among others, you've collaborated with Devendra Banhart and Animal Collective. Are there many other musicians you'd like to work with?
Many others, yes. I hope to work soon with Valgeir Sigurdsson on some of his music and I am looking forward to working live with [bands] Adem and Vetiver next year if all goes to plan. I have been so happy to find other musicians to work with since I "came back"—it is quite different from the way I experienced things in the '60s. People now seem so open and generous and happy to watch and be part of each other's progress. Maybe the music world feels more full of opportunity now. So many different ways to be heard.