“I should clarify that as the archivist, it’s not my decision to release or not release anything. But it is my job to inform the estate – his surviving family – of what they have. A little part of me understands the hardcore fan. I’m a major fan of, say, Velvet Underground or Pink Floyd, and I would buy anything that had one new song that had been dug up. I’d be in the store the day it came out. So I understand that mentality. But on the other hand, if you do have all the outtakes of the Velvet Underground, it’s still White Light, White Heat that’s really fucking good and revolutionary. You don’t want to dilute that album by making a version with 400 bonus tracks so it’s an unlistenable experience.
There’s some trepidation to put everything out. I worry about New Moon, even. Say somebody buys this as their first Elliott Smith record; it’s really good, the songs are very good, but it’s not a record that Elliott crafted in his lifetime, and I think those records are stronger. Now say there are 20 different CDs of his high school band and mumblings into a cassette when he’s 14 and… I don’t know. It starts to dilute things to a certain degree, and people might also start to say “Oh, is the family looking for money?” And that’s so far from the way things are proceeding with the estate. They would be horrified to be thought of that way. Nobody wants the money from this – that’s why portions go to charities and things like that. It’s not the reason anyone would ever do it.
Elliott’s father is fairly involved and had gone to see him play live quite a bit. But his father and his mother and half-sisters, they’re not involved in the music industry, and there are certain traps; I feel like a little bit of my job is that they understand scenarios better and can make informed decisions. They have a really great lawyer, too, who helps with decisions.”