There’s a known fact within the music industry that one of its most consistent curmudgeons and contrarian characters is also the same man responsible for one of its most magnificent albums. The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt, architect of deep voice, darkly comic songwriting, concept albums, and the monumental 69 Love Songs, isn’t the world’s biggest ray of sunshine, but that didn’t stop us from giving him a call. In support of the iconic band’s first ever SXSW appearance, and the release of their new album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, we hopped on the phone with Merritt to discuss technology, vampires, 50th birthday parties, and how he doesn’t care about the hopes and dreams of the young.

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