Daughn Gibson showed a love for the softer side of country music on his debut album All Hell - its lovesickness, spiritual yearning, and penchant for stories of lost souls crept into every corner of the music.

His sophomore effort Me Moan again evokes a country-rock feel, but is more closely aligned with the genre’s wilder side, found in honky tonk bars, pick up trucks, and bar brawls. It is All Hell’s extroverted twin.

This is no surprise considering that, with positive critical response to All Hell and a growing fanbase, Gibson is having one hell of a good time. In a recent interview we talked about the development of Me Moan, its religiously-motivated cover art, and more.

It’s been almost exactly a year since we talked last.

And it’s been a great, wild year.

Me Moan was preceded by the single-only “Reach Into the Fire.” Was that song created as a kind of demonstration to bigger labels [Gibson signed to Sub Pop for Me Moan]?

Sub Pop had a bank of artists they were considering (commissioning) remixes for, including Shabazz Palaces and Tiny Vipers. I said I’d put them together so basically remixed, or mashed up, rather, their songs. And “Reach Into the Fire” was the result.

As you said the end result isn’t really a “remix” per se, more so an original song.

Yeah. I had the ability to put three artists together, kind of like throwing ingredients into a pot to see how it tastes.

Did you pursue the relationship with Sub Pop?

I did not. Matt Kosloff, who helped put out All Hell, plays in Pissed Jeans, who are signed to Sub Pop. He informed me they wanted to talk about doing a record with me, and that was well before anyone had even heard All Hell. It was completely astounding.

The cover of Me Moan is very unusual and unsettling. Is it an original image?

Something I put together. I wanted it to be slightly blasphemous, like a heavy metal record from the early ‘80s. I liked the idea of someone becoming unhinged with religious ecstasy, pouring themselves out without the constraint of fear, social norms, or clothes. So that’s really what the cover is about.

Are you religious?

I have a non-academic interest in religion. I’m fascinated with its importance in the world, and how fucking hilarious and serious it is all at once. The “cult” of religion is what’s interesting to me.  

What is the “Pisgee Nest” referenced in your new song of that name?

It’s a place where people live in a park in central Pennsylvania. A village, or a collection of houses a couple hours from where I live.

The song is about a disturbing sexual incident that happened there many years ago. An episode of prostitution. It really kind of messed me up to think about so I decided to write about it.

Your ability to tell stories like that within your songs is often positively cited. Are the songs on Me Moan more autobiographical?

My songwriting hasn’t changed. It’s a mixture of personal events and external anecdotes. For me songwriting is just a way to embellish some very simple ideas. I hope I’m getting better at it or that I’m getting my points across in a more succinct way.

Me Moan is a more collaborative work than All Hell. It’s a co-production with Benjamin Balcom, for example. Did you find working more closely with others on your own music to be a positive experience?

The end result is positive. I’m thankful for all the help. But the process of getting there - especially if you’re not familiar with how a person works - can be really tough. There wasn’t any kind of conflict but if you work by yourself you can deal with an idea in a matter of seconds. If you like something, you put it in, if you don’t like it, you get rid of it. With other human beings you have to think a lot harder. There are egos involved. I tried to keep my own ego in check, and that was the hardest part, but it totally worked out great.