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We Visited the Bon Iver Cabin in Wisconsin and Turns Out He’s One of Those Dudes Who Pees in Jars and Just Like, Keeps Them

Environment influences art in ways that artists may not be consciously aware of. Nondescript houses in Illinois, fields in upstate New York, and cemeteries near wherever the hell Glenn Danzig grew up all left indelible marks on music.

One of these such iconic locations is a rustic cabin in the woods near Eau Claire, Wisconsin where Justin Vernon created his first record as Bon Iver. Via some blackmail on one of Justin’s childhood friends, the Hard Times obtained exclusive access to the untouched, humble chalet where an indie-folk revolution began.

The first visual to grab our attention were the jars of piss. Dozens of them. The jars are cataloged and organized according to date, color, and recorded food intake. But despite the methodical ordering system, many of the jars were left open; some were spilled years ago. A fetid stench of piss saturates the structure. We can deduce that Justin consumed primarily asparagus during his tenure here.

A modest mid-2000’s computer setup sits positioned in the center of the room. Presumably, this was the recording hub for all of “For Emma, Forever Ago” songs, but currently the two monitors show online poker sessions and XHamster tabs on one screen, while the World of Warcraft main menu sits on the other. More jars of piss can be found under the desk.

The walls are adorned with pencil sketches of a woman, all of which are labeled “Emma” underneath. And let us be clear- these drawings suck. They look like something a creepy child would draw in the beginning of a horror movie about demonic possession or something. Emma’s head is always bizarrely bulbous and misshapen, and the eyes are always crossed to some degree.

Empty cans of Spam and jars of Nutella litter the floor of the cabin, while a collection of acoustic guitars line the walls. Curiously, all the guitars have very amateurish penises drawn on them with Sharpie markers, except for one which is a perfect naturalistic representation of a penis (scrotum included). The beauty of this particular penis is astounding. A sheen of light catches the tip at a perfect angle. The drawing takes us back to a more pure time not long ago… but also… forever ago.