Starting in 2013, a gloomy chapter was added to the story of Conor Oberst. All of a sudden, Oberst was falsely accused of having raped a fan at a show at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina, ten years earlier.
The interview you’re about to listen to, however, does not deal with the details of the accusation, the libel lawsuit that followed it, or how it affected the record sales of Oberst. Suffice to say that Oberst was undoubtedly innocent, and that his accuser completely retracted her story, admitting she lied to get attention.
Instead this interview, which was recorded earlier this year in Copenhagen, focuses on how to find peace in this world. Through meditation, marriage, soothing YouTube videos, getting older, and, especially for Oberst, through songwriting.
After the false accusations, the mental state of Oberst declined. In his own words, Oberst went on tour with his old punk band, Desaparecidos, to outrun the nightmare he was living in. During the tour, however, a doctor had to check in on the health of Oberst, as he was clearly not feeling well. He was diagnosed with unusually high blood pressure, a cyst was discovered on his brain, and the tour was cut short about a month.
He then returned home to his native Nebraska after having lived for over a decade in New York. Back in Omaha, he went through the therapeutic recovery process of writing the songs that would appear on both the stripped-down album Ruminations and then the full-band album Salutations. It is against this backdrop that the following conversation about finding peace took place.