Has it already been five years since the Bon Iver swoonfest began? The indie-crooner seemed to go directly from a cabin in Wisconsin to a Kanye collaboration, and is now staring down a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist (and stirring up a little controversy along the way).
Clearly, bedroom-folk has crossed over. So we weren’t too surprised when we heard Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon) and his friends (co-managers, Nate Vernon and Kyle Frenette, and audio-engineer, Brian Joseph) had been chosen as the faces of an international campaign for Bushmill’s whiskey. We caught up with the boys to talk bromance, whiskey and their upcoming SNL performance.
Refinery29: So between the four of you, you’re basically Team Bon Iver – how’d you guys meet? Aside from you and your brother Nate, of course.
Justin: "Kyle was my best friend’s piano student and his teacher was Brian’s cousin. So that’s basically how we met."
Refinery29: So you actually met through music…?
Justin: "Yeah of course. Isn’t that how you meet all your friends!?"
Refinery29: Pretty much! So a lot of people have been saying your involvement with a whiskey brand celebrating ‘brotherly friendship' is an attempt to ‘bro up’ your image. What can you say about that?
Brian: "Yeah that was definitely a formal discussion that we all had, ha."
Justin: "I mean….it’s about craftsmanship and shit that lasts beyond shit that’s stupid, and friendship, ya know what I mean? I have girlfriends, boyfriends (platonically!) and we drink whiskey together and we like each other a lot. That’s all I know about it."
Refinery29: Speaking of bro-y pursuits, you recently released a trailer for your own workout video. How does whiskey fit into this new health regiment?
Justin: "I’ll tell you exactly how! Our friend Jeff who works out with us as our trainer, he tries to make us exercise and we try to get him to drink whiskey. We trade off — the day time is his time, the night time is our time."
Refinery29: Liver training hours.
Brian: "And we rarely ever succeed."
Justin: "It’s true. He hates whiskey."
Refinery29: You guys have known each other for a long time and have pretty different looks. Describe each other’s style – no holds barred.
Brian: "Okay I’ll describe Kyle. Kyle is well-shaped, physically fit, dapper and newly sharply dressed….And as for style, I’d say urban-chic."
Nate: "I’ll do Justin. I’d say Justin’s style is non-traditional. Likes to mix-and-match, particularly socks. That’s his trademark look: different colored socks. Besides that, salmon is his favorite color, he wears a lot of salmon hoodies."
Kyle: "Okay, Nate’s style in a nut – Nate was really into hip-hop at one point in time and really dressed the part. But then he kind of got out of it, so now it’s this mix of like hip-hop and really colorful shit and skinny jeans all the time."
Justin: "And a couple sweet diamond earrings! Okay I’ll describe Brian’s look. So Brian is balding…."
Brian: "It’s okay, ha, I am."
Justin: "But he’s also really good-looking and he’s Lebanese and he wears really dark colors and he puts olive oil on his skin." Nate: "You do!?"
Brian: "Yeah, every day."
Justin: "Yeah he does! I think that’s a style too — I mean he always smells good…and he has really expensive backpacks. Great bags, basically!"