In this episode of the podcast, Ian and Kurt discuss the film “Little Miss Sunshine”, the book “Enders Game” and more.
Bands that we enjoyed playing:
Death Cab For Cutie, Bright Eyes, Dashboard Confessional, Elliott Smith
Mark Z. Danielewski
by Ian Cruz
August 25, 2006
1. House of Leaves has had to be the most abstract/artsy book I’ve read in the sense of the layout of the book. What can we expect from Only Revolutions in the layout of the book?
Narrow and wide. Always rightsideup though you sometimes have to turn the book upsidedown. Green, gold and violet. Brash, bold and violent. A möbius strip. A highway of words. Spring on the run.
2. Where do you find your inspiration to write this book?
There were two teenagers I came across years ago. Homeless, parentless, incredibly impudent. They had nothing going for them but they still said they were gonna have it all. They were divinely in love with each other. They looked after each other, cared for each other, watched over each other. Some folks I spoke with claimed they eventually pulled their lives together and got jobs. Others said they took off across the country. Others heard they’d even gotten married. (And maybe they were talking about the two I knew. Or maybe they were talking about some other wandering teenagers. Or maybe we were all talking about gods.) The only thing I know for sure is that one day I walked by the corner where they used to hang out begging for change and they were gone. Long gone. Like they’d never been there to begin with.
3. What was it that made you want to become a writer, and when did you start writing?
I don’t really know. It all happened long before I was born.
4. How much research do you put into your writing?
I don’t research at all.
5. Is there any music you listen to while writing, and if so let’s hear what you’re listening to?
Anything and everything my sister Poe has written or happens to be working on. And right now I’m listening to an advance copy of Danny Elfman’s SERENADA SCHIZOPHRANA out in October.
Add to that this morning’s Billie Holiday, Bach, Green Day’s AMERICAN IDIOT, Earl Hines, Chris Cornell’s overlooked EUPHORIA MORNING, Nino Rota, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Bruce Springsteen’s “Reno” on DEVILS & DUST, Tool’s 10,000 DAYS and we’re not even starting to get there.
6. Have you ever thought of releasing your own “On Writing” type of book?
Didn’t I do that with HOUSE OF LEAVES?
7. Has there been any talk to release more copies of The Fifty Year Sword or to have it published along with other short stories?
Not so far. At some point though I’d like to record an audio version of T50YS with five performers. Maybe put it out there on Halloween. We’ll see.
8. Who is one of your favorite characters that you created?
I love them all though they don’t all love me.
9. What are a few of your favorite books/authors?
Lewis Hyde’s TRICKSTER MAKES THIS WORLD. Georgio Agamben’s THE OPEN. Jorie Graham’s EROSION. Celeste Langan’s ROMANTIC VAGRANCY. David Mitchell’s CLOUD ATLAS. Sarah Vowell’s ASSASSINATION VACATION. Ian McEwan’s ATONEMENT. Thomas Pynchon. Cormac McCarthy. Brad Telford. Gary Trudeau. Bill Watterson.
10. House of Leaves was said to have taken 10 years to finish. With that being said, how long did it take you to write Only Revolutions?
11. How would you describe Only Revolutions in your own words?
Fast. Exterior. Impatient. A world without homes. Without schools. Without ancestors or progeny. Without the word “in” or “or”. Without even light. Where love submits to all and vanquishes all as it explores the true terror of freedom and time and speed.
12. In a previous interview you said that the film rights to House of Leaves were not for sale. Do you feel that there is no need for a film, or that a film based on this book in particular just wouldn’t be possible and if made it wouldn’t have the same feel as the book did? Would you ever consider selling the rights to any of your other works?
I don’t think I follow. HOUSE OF LEAVES is about a movie and ONLY REVOLUTIONS is already a movie.
13. In music today, bands usually have a strong debut album and when it comes around to their sophomore release they have what is known as a “slump”. Do you think the same could be said about authors today, and if so do you fear the thought of possibly getting a “slump” yourself?
Hailey & Sam are both sixteen. I imagine that makes them sophomores. Why don’t you ask them if they’re slumping. But be careful, I hear they’re extremely dangerous.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
I’m chained to my desk and I’m utterly free.
Ian and Brett host this episode of the podcast and give you details on the latest happenings in their lives as two friends shoot the shit.
Sound clips from the interview with Nate Ruess from The Format.
Featured Music from:
Wolf Parade, Xiu Xiu, Weezer, Alkaline Trio, The Appleseed Cast
Cursive – Happy Hollow
Saddle Creek 
Wow. I guess that’s how I will start out this review. Review of what you may be asking (which I am sure you are not because you obviously clicked on a link that
had read the title and what album I was to be reviewing) “What album are you reviewing?” Well, let me put that question to rest. I am reviewing the latest from our
beloved Omaha-based rock band, Cursive. The disc? Happy Hollow.
Before I get into talking about this goodie, let me first confide in Cursive’s previous engagements.
The last album we got out of this band had been their b-side disc, The Difference Between Houses and Homes. I think it was released to help ease listeners and fans alike over until we would hear anything new from this band. But before we had that gem, we got an album that would really show what Cursive had, and this classic was called The Ugly Organ. It rocked. Seriously. They had a cellist in the band. This had definitely been a one up for them. Hell, before that we got a (what I would like to call their best) album by the title Domestica. I would love to call it Cursive at their prime, but I know many would like to debate with me about the Ugly Organ already taking the title, but to me… Sorry.
Anyways, let me get to this new one. Happy Hollow, a great album. Truly a ruby for these guys since their loss of Gretta Cohn the cellist, but the album had a down flaw in that. It seemed they still took that step backwards. Yep, they still didn’t live up to that sound The Ugly Organ had, or that sound of Domestica. But don’t let that alarm you, these guys changed their rock sound to an even better horn-rock sound. The horns really do brighten the mood on this record, since the CD does have a rather dark mood due to the album’s concept, which is sorta vague to me on one matter: Who are all of these people? I really think I got just the jist of it: There’s 14 songs – 14 Hymns as Tim Kasher calls ’em; There’s a great sense of religion going through the album – there’s even a character that of a priest in the story; And the rest is all stories of different people living amongst each other in the town of Happy Hollow. It’s sort of like a Tarantino thing of Cursive to do.
Some of the tracks sound a little overproduced and are a little too “busy” or unorganized. There seem to be all of these different elemental instrumentation going on in the songs like as if the band was trying to hide up that patch where there could have been some great cello going on.
I may sound like there is no good going on for Cursive in this review, but I’d like to add it’s great qualities. Kasher really brings back the “umph”, the strength that Cursive has been known for through their career. The lyrics are still heavy (as in cool). We don’t have that amazing line of “My egos like my stomach. It keeps shitting what I feed it”, but we do get some scientific lingo with the line “Every molecule, every atom / Every single particle down to the quark / Until they break it apart”. It’s pretty neat.
This is yet another release for Cursive, and they have done no wrong.
Wolf Parade – Live
August 6, 2006
by Brett Hendges
August 6th is a night filled with the hip shaking beats of this Canadian import from Montreal. My brother, my two friends, and I stood in line outside the Magic Stick, thoughts of unfavorable results start coming to mind. After the wait we venture inside and make our way up the stairs to pay, and get our hands stamped with an in-depth camera stamp. Our timing is exceptional; we get in, just in time to see the first band taking the stage. Holy Fuck, an electronica dance improv band from Toronto had me swaying where I stand. Solid beats from the bass and drums to there unique sounds coming from the barrage of keyboards. Holy Fuck’s performance tells me I’m in for a night of dancin’ beats.
Frog Eyes took the stage next, fronted by Carey Mercer, who sounds like he is spilling out every emotion he has left in him. I start to realize that I am not very found of this band. Wolf Parades Spencer Krug has played on The Bloody Hand, Frog Eyes’ debut.
Wolf Parade ascends the stage at last. It is a tight fit for the band, but they rocked it just as well. Opening with songs from their self-titled album and EP’s, their set was off to an amazing start. The crowd loves the show, with waves of dancing fans and arms in the air with shaking hips; it is a fine night for Wolf Parade. Continuing the set they played Apologies to the Queen Mary in its entirety, Fancy Claps gets the crowd clapping along and Shine a Light one of my favorites. Wolf Parade gives us a revelation when they grace us with a couple new songs, saying “this is the first time we played these on stage”. The new songs are amazing with Krug picking up a guitar and showing us he knows how to use it; the new material leaves me in anticipation. Wolf Parade sends me home swaying in my car seat, with their dance-tastic sound.
By: Brett Hendges
Hey, this is Nate.
Hey, Nate. This is Ian from Mesa Love.
Hey, I’m sorry about earlier. I was having an interview, or not an interview, a sound check.
Oh. That’s cool, that’s cool. So, what else are you guys up to?
Ugh, we’re in Norfolk, Virginia.
Well, let’s just get this out of the way.
Dog Problems recently debuted at 77 on the top 200. How does that make you guys feel?
It’s pretty crazy. It was weird. It exceeded our expectations. I think we did two times the amount of work. yeah, so it’s pretty nice. I’m pretty shocked how things are going right now.
Wow, that must be really amazing.
Yeah, it’s different ’cause it’s just something that you don’t – Well, I mean it wasn’t something we were aiming to do.
– Phone connection starts dying –
Are you still there?
Okay, sorry. It sounded like you were going out.
Yeah, that’s what I thought too.
Are there any plans to release anymore material or other bands under The Vanity Label?
I hope so at some point. At this point we’re just so focused on doing the record and discovering how to work the Vanity Label as well as, you know, promoting the band ourselve, but I think that once things die down and we get a little bit of free time and we’re writing our own music, I think that we will probably start looking for some music. I would love to produce and release something, but at the same time I haven’t found anything, yet.
Oh, so there’s no bands inparticular you are looking at?
Nope, and it’s good to because we wouldn’t be able to release them at the time. So, I don’t want to find something and then get like “Goddamnit, I can’t release them.”
Yeah, that’s always a bummer. This next one is a fan submitted one, but does smoking affect your vocals at all?
Uh, it does. I mean, I like to think it doesn’t because it’s something I feel like I have to be doing at all times. But uhm, no it.. At the beginning of tours I usually lose my voice for a few days, or it can be a little bit of a wreck. Like when we started this tour a few weeks ago, maybe like the third and fourth show, and maybe the third, fourth, fifth and sixth show we’re a little rough. But once I get a day off it comes back, it comes back. And then if smoking does anything to affect my voice beyond that it’s usually just ’cause I’ll smoke too many cigarettes and I’ll get sick. But it doesn’t like.. I don’t think it really does too much. Like on tour it’s a problem, but it doesn’t affect my voice in the studio.
In the song “Snails” you mention that your dog Nico ran away. Did she ever come back?
No, she ran away while we were actually doing Dog Problems. So that made it even more right to have that be the album title, and we put up flyers. I went home a few days later, we had a break, and my roommate put up flyers and he had already been to the humane society, but we did it for another week to be sure. We never found her.
Oh, okay. So is that why you guys are teaming up with local radio stations to help humane societies?
Then I guess that already kills the question “Where does Dog Problems come from”, right?
Well, not necisarily. I think Dog Problems we had for a while, and it’s taken on so many different meanings, and essentially I think it that it just means that.. The album itself is about a relationship that like had gone on for five years and had just gone, like ended. And it was five years on and off. There were three times when we thought that, you know, I didn’t help the relationship. Like some people would have a child or something, we would buy a dog.
How many dogs would you say you ended up with?
I ended up with three dogs.
This is a fan submitted. They just wanted to know if anyone has ever jumped up on stage and “rocked out” with you guys and sang vocals with you, and if you’re totally cool with that kind of stuff.
Like fans jumping on stage?
Eh. I don’t know. We’re so wrapped up in our own thing that it’s kind of.. like when people jump on stage, I mean I guess, you know. There are times when we are having a great time . So like people will just come up and it’s kind of like a feel of the moment type thing. But no, not generally.
So you also have this song called “Faith in Fast Cars.” What’s the story behind that? Is it going to be on an EP, or a b-side disc, or release it on the internet?
I think what we’re going to try to do with Dog Problems is a b-sides disc. You know, I want to do that song. It’s just we’ve tried so many different versions and we haven’t been able to nail it properly. And I think that the subject matter is something that I’m completely over, and I was at a time that I was probably like at my worst, and I think it’s time to just let things go.
This is a great question. A fan wanted to know “What’s up with your obsession with Mickey Mouse?”
I’m just fortunate to have the most Mickey Mouse shirts in the world. I don’t really like Mickey too much, but he makes a good shirt and he makes it really nicely.
Alright, they also wanted to know if you wanted to be a Mouseketeer when you were younger.
Nah, I don’t .. well it would have been pretty rad especially like, my age group of the Mouseketeers were like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. So yeah, that would have been amazing.
Did you ever consider releasing Dog Problems on Jim Adkin’s label, Western Tread?
No there was never like.. It was never discussed. I mean, those guys, the people who run Western Tread, are great but it’s just we wanted to do it on our own.
Okay, this is the last question we have. I guess it’s sorta a personal question. Well, for me. I just saw you guys last year in Detroit with Jimmy Eat World. Uhm, so what would you say is probably been your favorite tour to be on in your career?
Uhm, hmm. Well, I really love this tour that we’re on right now. All the bands are really great. And also we did a tour with like Steel Train, Limbeck, and Reuben’s Accomplice, and I think that that was probably my favorite tour.
Alright, I guess that’s all the questions and thanks a lot.
Oh, no problem.