Interview: Mike Kinsella of American Football


Danny Steiner

For fans of twinkly, downtrodden riffs, and melancholic lyricism, the name Mike Kinsella is a familiar one. The American Football front-man has been involved in several revered projects over the years including Cap’n Jazz, Owls, Joan of Arc, and Their/They’re/There. With the release of the new American Football LP, as well as his 10th release under his solo project name,”Owen”, Kinsella seems to be more active than ever.


Due to the sheer magnitude of work he has put out, Kinsella’s name and face in a way represent a sort of iconography for the emo genre. A level of celebrity that he doesn’t feel is warranted. At his core, Kinsella maintains that he is an average dude, who just enjoys making music with his friends.

That same passion for writing music is what ultimately manifested in the new American Football album. As Kinsella recounted, the bulk of the album was done by exchanging various ideas through drop box, and ultimately working in a room together only a few times before tracking began.

While LP 2 sounds like the band picked up where they left off, the album shows a maturity in song writing for American Football. The songs don’t feel as technical this time around compared to their first release. Instrumentally, LP 2 seems to have a greater focus on beautiful melodies that paint a sorrowful, existential soundscape that throws the listener into a pensive state of mind.

I was able to talk with Kinsella a few weeks back about his upbringing as a musician, the writing process of the new American Football album, and his thoughts on being heralded as an emo god.


The new American Football, and Owen LPs can be found here