Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

Interviews

Questions For Andrew Weathers

andrew weathers interview

Photo credit: Andrew Marino

Americana droner/guitar whisperer Andrew Weathers, who’s made some truly killer fucking records (some of which have made it to my Top 10 Drone list) and co-runs Full Spectrum Records with Andrew Marino, took some time and answered these questions for me. Super kind of him. He’s got a couple upcoming records, One Day We’ll Find The Valley on Lifelike Family and a split tape with Wes Tirey coming on Scissor Tail Editions, so definitely keep an eye out for those. And if this dude is new to you, start here and try not to fall too far down the hole.

 

What is the best way to die?
Probably of Natural Causes, surrounded by loved ones.

How do you think you’ll die?
Recently I was driving around the mountains in Humboldt County with my partner & I said
“I have a feeling that this is how I’m going to die, driving over one of these ledges.” But
I’m just very afraid of heights.

What makes you happy?
Work, hanging out with my friends and family, being in transit, a good anecdote, eating,
coffee in the AM

How can you die happy?
At the end of my life, if I tried to be good to be people, did as much good work as
possible, & maintained a certain level of integrity while doing it, I’ll be happy.

How close have you come to death?
I’ve been pretty lucky so far, I’ve not come all that close to death. Not counting the very
real every day dangers of being a pedestrian or driving a car, the closest I’ve felt was one
night in Oakland. I was waiting in line at the grocery store with my friend Hannah to buy
some beer & a frozen pizza; three men with masks & guns came in & demanded the
money from the tellers. Hannah & I ducked & walked towards the back of the store.
Everyone in the shop hid in the loading dock until they left, I was on hold with the Oakland
PD for about ten minutes before I talked to anyone. Nobody was hurt, but we were a little
fried after that.

What does kindness mean to you?
Being welcoming & helpful without expectation. Always working on this one.

Where do you find love?
There’s infinite love in finite existence.

When were you most afraid?
I either don’t remember a lot of fear in my life, or there just hasn’t been much. I felt intense
fear most recently on the cusp of mounting a pretty large production for my day job. There
was a lot of people’s time & money put into it & it’s my job to make sure that it went well. That is fucking heavy.

One summer I was in Chicago eating lunch next to the water with my friends during one
of the Andrew Weathers Ensemble tours. All of a sudden there was a massive explosion
followed by gunfire. I thought for sure this was some sort of attack & we were through. I
reached for my phone to call my folks, we were all kind of losing it. Turns out they were
filming the third Transformers movie. The entire city of Chicago was in on it but we
weren’t.

How do you listen to music?
In my car, from my laptop in the mornings, sometimes while cooking or at work. After a
particularly difficult day, I’ll listen to pop punk in headphones on the train. I often feel like
I’m not a devoted enough music listener.

Interviews

Questions For Have A Nice Life

have a nice life interview
Dan Barrett & Tim Macuga, aka Have A Nice Life, aka the raddest dudes in the northeast, honored me with their thoughtful answers to some serious questions.
 

What is the best way to die?
Tim: We literally don’t know.

Dan: Or not at all, if possible.

How do you think you’ll die?
Tim: I will probably die of pneumonia while trying to recover from a heart surgery. There will be a cold plate of cafeteria ravioli and a half eaten cup of applesauce by the hospital bed. The SOILED LINENS cart will be parked outside the door. The other guy in the other half of the room might be awake to see my last. He’ll try not to think about it. Daytime TV in the future will still be shitty.

What makes you happy?
Tim: I’m happy with things, experiences, ideas, or personalities that I can’t deconstruct. It’s a relief knowing, “Well, I must love these people no matter what,” or “I don’t understand abstract calculus,” or “This film is ludicrous.” There’s ground to stand on; maybe I tested its stability to exhaustion, maybe I just lacked the compulsion to obsess about it.

Dan: Yeah – I tend towards experiences of non-thought. Anything where you just stop and nothing fills the space created.

How can you die happy?
Tim: An assassin slips cyanide or some more advanced instant-death poison into my cup while I’m watching Big Trouble in Little China. I have a hard time believing anyone cognizant of imminent death, no matter how long they’ve been preparing, feels peace. The day/general time you’re about to die – if you know it’s been such a long illness and you’re slipping – “OK, this is going to be the day,” – it still consists of so many moments. And sheer terror has to enter that moment to moment process somewhere. Getting back to happy from terror is not a simple cold water shake-off.

How close have you come to death?
Tim: To my own knowledge, and of my own death, not very. I was with a group on a far end of the Grand Canyon, at the bottom, in 130 degree heat. I was fine, but bad things almost happened to a few of us and the panic did set in – “We just climbed hours and hours *into* this pit in the Earth. Shit.” I’d love to see a reel of hidden camera footage of all of the times I might have come close and was just completely unaware. It’s reasonable to think we’re all like those cartoon characters sleepwalking through dangerous construction sites.

Dan: I spun out across 4 lanes of snowy traffic once, ending up facing the wrong way and staring into oncoming headlights. The only thing – literally the only thing – I thought was “NO NO NO NO NO NO.” So.

What does kindness mean to you?
Tim: Kindness is asking, “How are you?” with actual intent to listen to a truthful response.

Where do you find love?
Tim: After climbing hours and hours into a pit in the Earth, for one.

Dan: I found mine by giving up on it.

When were you most afraid?
Tim: When I was 7, I demanded my mother tell me when I would die – I had just realized a vague notion of “not being” and needed to figure out what I could do to, well, I didn’t even know. I think it was actually after hearing Skeeter Davis’s “It’s The End of the World” on the radio. I understood it was a sad love song, but “end” – Jesus. Air raid sirens went off in my head.

Dan: I’ve been afraid that I wouldn’t make it out of depressive periods. I don’t know if that’s more dread than fear, or how those intersect, but. That’s a feeling you don’t really forget.

How do you listen to music?
Tim: Like a monster.

Interviews

Questions For William Cody Watson

William Cody Watson interview pic
Big time Bill Murray fan William Cody Watson gave me a moment of his time and answered some questions for AGB.
 

What is the best way to die?
For me, the only response that comes to mind is in my sleep. That may seem like a complete cop-out and I even feel that it is, but you have to consider the fact, that when I’m sleeping, taking a break from the total chaos that I feel swirls around me on a daily basis — I’m at peace… I’d like to perish during that. I don’t want to be facing the same chaos when I go… But again, who’s to say? I can only imagine that, and I like the idea of dying while dreaming. Other than that? Maybe with a knife in my mouth, and all that that entails.

How do you think you’ll die?
Car crash; I’m convinced.

What makes you happy?
A handful of things… I feel most happy, I think, when I conquer something I’m struggling with — if I achieve something. If I go after a goal and I succeed. That makes me happy. That’s a bit of pride, perhaps, and maybe that’s not such a great thing, but it’s the truth. Other things make me happy: music — even terrible, depressing music — shit, that probably makes me the happiest, because I’m satisfied to know I’m still emotionally connected.

I honestly find happiness in my own melancholy, as ass-backwards as that sounds. I find happiness in my family, my friends, spending time together, learning and growing. I find happiness in other people’s stories. I like to know about other people’s struggles and adventures. But, I also find happiness in solitude, learning about myself. I find happiness in books. I find happiness in liquor. I find happiness in women. I find happiness in humor. I find happiness in sleep and in dreams.

How can you die happy?
I’m not sure I could ever die happy, or if anyone could, really… I’m not trying to be grim here, but I just don’t think that’s a guarantee. We’re all trying to make ourselves happy every day, I think. If I really get literal about it, I think I can die happy when I’ve achieved as many things that I feel are important as I can. I want to create art, be that music or writing or anything that people can connect with. I want to reach people. I want them to feel what I’m doing and, in turn, I want them to feel new things.

Even more literally, I think I could die happy when I’ve spent a year in solitude, maybe in a cabin in the woods… Or perhaps after I’ve wandered in the desert. I could die happy after I’ve kissed a beautiful woman whom I adore. Maybe in the rain, maybe not. Doesn’t matter. I can die happy knowing people around me are satisfied.

How close have you come to death?
I’ve been alive 29 years… And well, I think just being alive you’re always close to death. Everything out there can and wants to kill you, in some way or another. Once you realize that, and realize how absolutely near death you are at any given moment, you start to cope with it… After a while, you just kind of don’t even worry about it.

What does kindness mean to you?
Kindness means being honest with someone. Kindness means helping someone, without a sense of self-accomplishment, without a sense of “what’s in it for me?” Kindness is laughter. Kindness is an embrace. Kindness is a smile across the room. Kindness is a conversation where no one is waiting for their turn to speak. Kindness doesn’t come often, but when it does — you know it immediately, and it washes over you and it resonates.

Where do you find love?
I find love in the fingertips of people with naive passion. I find love in bedrooms. I find love in lust. I find love in record bins. I find love in books. I find love in a deep belly laugh. I find love in dreams. I find love in myself.

When were you most afraid?
I’ve always been most afraid when the notion of losing everything crept up. In those moments when you feel like everything is broken or faulty, and nothing can seem to come together. That’s a very immature and raw way to look at things, but I’m just being honest.

I’m most frightened at the thought of losing everything I’ve come to find my passion within. I’m afraid at the idea of losing things I’ve put my heart into and put into my heart. I’m afraid of losing myself.

How do you listen to music?
Mostly… In bed.

Interviews

Questions For Michael Vallera

michael vallera
Multi-media artist Michael Vallera, the dude behind Cleared, COIN, and Maar, was supremely excellent and answered some questions for me.
 

What is the best way to die?
Consult lyrics to Neil Young’s “Thrasher”.

How do you think you’ll die?
Too engaged in living for speculation.

What makes you happy?
Travelling, recording, making photographs, my friends.

How can you die happy?
Continuing to create at all costs.

How close have you come to death?
Blizzard driving.

What does kindness mean to you?
Patience.

Where do you find love?
Friendship.

When were you most afraid?
While experiencing sleep paralysis.

How do you listen to music?
Slowly.

Interviews

Questions For Ryan Huber

ryan huber interview photo
 
Ryan Huber is the dude who runs Inam Records, makes gloriously devastating metal noise as Sujo, and less metal but no less awesome noise as Olekranon. He’s pretty quiet on the internet, except for his onslaught of releases that eventually show up on Bandcamp, so I’m very honored that he allowed me to ask him some questions. Also, this may or may not be the only photo of Ryan in existence.
 

What is the best way to die?
Accepting the end and being at peace with your life. We’re all going to get there with some regrets; appreciate the universal experience.

How do you think you’ll die?
Odds are cancer or car accident.

What makes you happy?
Being with a person who I feel connected to, making and listening to music, a shared sense of humor with someone, wine.

How can you die happy?
If I was experiencing the above when it happened; that’s probably the closest I would get to dying happy.

How close have you come to death?
Riding in a car with 7 drunks speeding down a highway at one o’clock in the morning with the lights off and hitting a deer.

What does kindness mean to you?
Doing something nice for someone not because it makes you feel good but because it is good.

Where do you find love?
Relationships, animals, music.

When were you most afraid?
Growing up when my mother would sometimes come home really late from work. She had a friend that was decapitated in a car wreck and and I couldn’t stop thinking of that when she wasn’t home at the normal time. I’m noticing a theme.

How do you listen to music?
Driving, reading, on the computer, running; it’s the one constant environmental additive in my life. Genre’s are usually seasonal. As it gets warmer, I tend to listen to older hardcore and punk. Winter is for drone. Autumn is for electronic/indie rock I guess.

Interviews

Questions For High Aura’d

high aura'd at pa's lounge 2
 
Dark droner High Aura’d whose amps burn white aimed straight for my heart on his contribution to You’re All The Fucking Best with his track dedicated to my dear departed bunny, Hodge. His kindess extended to honoring me with a response to these questions I posed to him.
 
What is the best way to die?
To live on in another form

How do you think you’ll die?
With a bang, not a wimper.

What makes you happy?
Expressing love through work, my family & friends, nature

How can you die happy?
By knowing I tried to be kind and helpful to others

How close have you come to death?
Once, as a child, I stepped into a busy street and was pulled back…just in time

What does kindness mean to you?
Acting on compassion, and having no regard for reward

Where do you find love?
In my family, the suffering of others, through my work, in loss

When were you most afraid?
We have a fenced in backyard. once, while making dinner, the girls wanted to go outside in the yard and play.
It was a nice Summer day.
I kept an eye on them, but soon noticed that I couldn’t see our then 2 year old.
I had not checked to make sure the fence gates were closed and locked and she had slipped out.
I ran frantically through the house, and yard to make sure, she hadn’t just come in to use the bathroom.

We found her, up the street, 3 houses down, playing in a flowerbed.
I don’t wish that on anyone.

How do you listen to music?
Intently, and looking for love.

Interviews

Questions For Nicholas Szczepanik


 
Drone Grandmaster Nicholas Szczepanik and I must be vibing on the same wavelength. He was one of the next two artists (in my head) to ask my questions to and he approached me first, just to throw his name in the hat as someone who’d like to contribute. Obviously, I took him up on the offer. Be sure to check out any/all 3 of his killer albums out this year (The Truth Of Transience made #3 on my Top 10 Drone Records list).
 
What is the best way to die?
Death is inevitable and unknown. The uncertainty is what makes it scary, but whether it’s seen as a beginning or an end, death is always change. Yet life is also change, and since it is a series of passing moments, we should enjoy each one as best we can before we too pass. I know this is all much easier said than done, but this is what I have decided works best for me. The best way to die is to live.

How do you think you’ll die?
I guess because I’m slightly morbid, I sometimes imagine myself dying unexpectedly at a relatively early age. Strangely, I think I do this as a strategy for self-motivation. In all honesty, I just hope I die after my mother; she already had the burden of bringing me into this life, she doesn’t need to be around when I leave too.

What makes you happy?
Chocolate; a hot tea in my favorite mug from Mexico; a home-cooked meal to share with someone; the smell of the fallen leaves in Autumn and how they crunch under my feet; the animals I see and hear each day; the silence of snow; the warmth only love’s laughter brings; crying, because it means I feel.

How can you die happy?
Knowing that you lived for those two or three things that mean something to you.

How close have you come to death?
We’re always close. Life is one big, ever-changing risk. I imagine we’re all teetering on the brink of death by the simple choices we make each and every day. Though, somehow, I still think we die at a particular point in our lives for a particular reason. Or maybe I just hope it’s not completely arbitrary—that would be a bit discouraging. Either way, I try to remind myself that being alive means eventually dying, and that being dead means having lived.

What does kindness mean to you?
An instinctive, incidental gesture.

Where do you find love?
Now, I find it everywhere: in sharing and forgiveness, in laughter and heartache, in knowing that things will happen and still wanting to experience them with that one person who makes the world a little less daunting.

When were you most afraid?
When I tried to make sense of it all.

How do you listen to music?
With my gut.

Interviews

Questions For Jenks Miller

Credit: Jeremy M. Lange

 
Jenks Miller answered some questions for me. He prefaced them with: “I’m not being dismissive when I answer ‘I don’t know’ … just being honest.”
 
What is the best way to die?
I don’t know.

How do you think you’ll die?
I don’t know.

What makes you happy?
Sound, nature, new ideas, good people, my dog.

How can you die happy?
I don’t know.

How close have you come to death?
I’m not entirely sure. The distance in auto accidents and illness.

What does kindness mean to you?
Acting on a sensitivity to needs and desires outside of your own.

Where do you find love?
Sound, nature, new ideas, good people, my dog.

When were you most afraid?
In the time before I had accepted my whole Self, I was afraid of my shadow.

How do you listen to music?
On a CD or record player, with an open heart. I try to find something I can appreciate in whatever sounds I am hearing. I tend to spend time with sounds I haven’t heard before, those that push me outside of my comfort zone and want to be explored.

Interviews

Questions For Kyle Bobby Dunn


 
This is the start of a new thing on Anti-Gravity Bunny. Inspired by the pleasure I got from interviewing Jon Mueller about Death Blues and from Root Blog’s Q&As, I decided I should be asking artists about shit that I want to hear them talk about. Since this is the first time these questions have been asked, I may alter them in the future.

Kyle Bobby Dunn is my guinea pig in this. He’s a fucking champ. Look out for his upcoming album of jaw dropping beauty & delicate gloom, In Miserum Stercus, out soon on Komino. It’s stunning.
 
What is the best way to die?
I’d presume during sleep is the best way to go out. Whatever you might be the least aware of since you’re ‘not supposed’ to have control over it…

How do you think you’ll die?
Hopefully jumping from a huge cliff in the Canadian rockies. Lots of scotch would be involved though so that might get to me first.

What makes you happy?
Good food, good drink, long trips, French women, good clothes, great films, nice sounds, old instruments, smell of firewood, fine cheeses, strong coffee, good sleeps, bathing, trees, lakes..

How can you die happy?
Maybe a nice quiet beach in France with a strong sense of finality.

How close have you come to death?
Too often really.

What does kindness mean to you?
I don’t think I know anything about kindness, most of it has made me quite sad. An attempt to understand is ok, but it’s still hard.

Where do you find love?
Wherever I can, usually can’t.

When were you most afraid?
I am too constantly afraid.

How do you listen to music?
In many different formats but it seems I’ve gotten quite into the headphones whilst walking around and doing stupid self-indulgent type things.

Interviews

Life & Death Blues: Interview With Jon Mueller

Photographer: Kat Schleicher

 
Jon Mueller is as awesome as it gets. Bio, line one: “My aim is to help people listen and communicate.” One of the most worthy goals I can think of. Plus, the dude plays drums like nobody’s business, founded the continually overlooked Pele, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, and Volcano Choir, has worked with an insane amount of respectables like Lionel Marchetti, Swans, Bhob Rainey, Rhys Chatham, Marcus Schmickler, and James Plotkin, and has put out killer albums on labels like Type, Important, and the sorely missed Table Of The Elements.

Death Blues is a project of Mueller’s that’s been long in the works. If the project’s name is what caught me first, the statement was a close second. It talks about death, how we live our lives when we grasp that death is inevitable, how to live in the present, and the importance of connecting with others when we all have mortality as common ground. Mueller’s concepts are being embodied in every format imaginable (“writing, recording, images, movement, video, taste, performance, and more”), but the main idea isn’t the media, rather using the media as a means to spark communication.

Mueller stopped by Boston recently on his short tour with James Plotkin in celebration of their new collab 2xLP Terminal Velocity on Taiga and, knowing a little about Death Blues, I was excited to talk to him about it in person. We chatted for a bit, but after I left, all I could think about was Death Blues, what it meant to him, how it came to be, all that good stuff. I’ve been a bit obsessed with death lately, so I also saw this as a great opportunity to talk with someone other than my wife about it.

I got in touch with Jon via email, asking about Death and blues, and got answers about Life and positivity. Not quite what I was expecting but certainly a pleasant surprise. I rambled on about every question that came to mind, from the metaphysical to the musical, and although I didn’t anticipate a response to all of it, he was kind enough to humor my excess & gloom. I’ve left my brainstormy overkill questions intact because why not.
 
AGB: Was there an epiphanic moment that you can trace the Death Blues project to? Did you encounter a lot of death before realizing the importance of being present in every moment? What kind of important moments do you remember as laying the foundation for the project? How long were you living life as hyper-aware before the project was conceived?

JM: There was a moment. I was walking around New Orleans for hours one morning, having just come out of an intense flu and antibiotics phase. I had never been to the city before, and wanted to see the most I could on foot before my plane left. During this walk, I thought a lot about what was next for me. I had some ideas about what I wanted to do musically, but I was hoping for some kind of context to put those ideas into. That hope led me toward questioning ‘why’ I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I dug as deep as I could dig into those answers, and with New Orleans as the backdrop, it started to reflect the fact that so many people lived in that city, understanding that another Katrina could, and likely would, happen again. This really struck me – identify what’s important to you and pursue understanding why those things are important to you.

So, the project has less to do about death, and more to do with life. The thing about death is that it’s coming for all of us. What are we doing right now to make the best experience we can have in this moment, even if the situation sucks, various problems exist, etc? We have the ability to enhance any situation.

And I wouldn’t say I’m “hyper-aware.” I’m just trying to understand things, as I assume everyone else is.
 

 
AGB: Death Blues’ mantra seems to focus more on the empowering “Seize the day” rather than the bleak “I might die right now,” but the name is still pretty dark. Did you intentionally lean towards the positive? Why did you chose that name? Also, you say in the Death Blues video (above), “No one likes to think about death, yet how often do we really think about living?” How have you balanced the light/dark conceptually with this project and in your own life?

JM: The positivity is completely intentional. It’s what I would prefer to experience.

I had a good conversation about the name with some people yesterday. Yes, it does sound dark and some have even told me I should change it. But this was part of the New Orleans experience I had. The fact that we have a limited time implies a potential negative, and blues has historically been a way to not only address, but also cope, with negative situations. ‘Celebrate life’ might be a perfect translation for the name, but it lacks the urgency and heaviness of the situation I wanted to be more apparent.

AGB: How did you go from “I’m going to die” to “Life is beautiful?” How has being present impacted your life?

JM: Every moment is a chance to consider positive or negative elements. This project is a reminder for me to make more thoughtful considerations.

AGB: The site calls Death Blues a multidisciplinary project, incorporating performance, video, writing, etc, but it’s certainly seen as your project. How much of a hand do you have in each aspect? How have you chosen people to participate?

JM: I’m involved in most aspects of it, yet other people have taken an interest and simply wanted to be involved. Initially, there were a few people I had to make requests to contribute, and explain the scope of the project. Most of them got it and have continued to be involved. But as time goes on, the idea is resonating with people I hadn’t even talked to about it, and they’ve contributed in ways they might not even have intended.
 

June 23, Lilypad

 
AGB: How would you say the music relates to the theme of Death Blues? You mentioned in our conversation before that this is harder music than you normally play. Did you initially set out to make it heavier? Why have you chosen this sound to embody Death Blues? I appreciate you making death themed music without relying on the usual death or black metal sound, but was venturing into that style ever a consideration?

JM: The musical portion of the project will focus on acoustic instrumentation and voice in a variety of contexts. Some of it is very hard. Powerful sound can create a positive feeling, and that’s what I’ve always been drawn to. There will be a variety of recordings that will approach this in different ways.

AGB: What sort of physical releases will be involved? Records, obviously, but what about DVDs/books/etc? When will we be able to hear/see something?

JM: I don’t have specifics on this right now, but the goal is to communicate the idea through a variety of forms.

AGB: How long do you foresee Death Blues lasting? Is there something like an end goal for the project or for yourself to be reached? Do you think there’s potential for the project to expand in medium & participation or more honed in on a particular medium as time goes on?

JM: It will potentially last for many years. I am in advanced stages of a grant selection that would certainly help determine this if it comes through. If so, there are a lot of elements that will take place over that time – performances, group discussions, talks, film, books, and more. If not, I will do as much as I can with the project through my own means, for as long as I can.
 
Death Blues has a few performances in the works right now as “band only,” including a set at Hopscotch (see you there!?), and the full multidisciplinary experience takes over Milwaukee in November. Also, consider this an open invitation to talk death. I’m all for it.