Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

Mark Z. Danielewski

August 25, 2006


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.

That’s all.

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?

6 years.

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.

Last Question:
What is your favorite thing about writing?

I’m chained to my desk and I’m utterly free.

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The Format – Nate Ruess

August 1, 2006

Nate Ruess – The Format
by Ian Cruz
August 1, 2006
Featured in the Mesa Love podcast Episode 3 [MP3]

Um, hello?

Hello?

Hey

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?

Yep.

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?

Yep.

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?

Yeah.

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.

No?

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.

Xiu Xiu – Jamie Stewart

July 17, 2006

Jamie Stewart – Xiu Xiu
by Ian Cruz
July 15, 2006

1. Rumor had it that you were covering an Elliott Smith song on Tu Mi Piaci. What song did you cover and why didn’t it make it on the EP?
caralee was working on it so i am not sure (she lives in a different city). i think she was unhappy with how it turned out. he is her big hero so i think she would never feel did it well enough.

2. How do you feel about Xiu Xiu’s new album, The Air Force, already leaking onto the Internet?
i think it sucks. i think it is theft and whoever leaked it, or any records, makes art and the efforts of people that they supposedly like meaningless throw away pieces. i would like to say fuck you to them.

3. How does the writing process for Xiu Xiu go? Do you write the lyrics for the songs Caralee sings?
it is very mixed. sometimes i sit in front of the computer all day and night in my underwear and bang out a song non stop and sometimes 7 or 8 people work on small parts of a song over the course of a year. for the air force i finished about 75 % of it , as much as i could do before hitting a brick wall, and then caralee and greg saunier turned it into a record. it was very collaborative and exciting. both of them a endless springs of creativity. i write the lyrics but it is not a rule or anything.

4. Have there been any new sounds or instruments you had used on the new album that you hadn’t used on past albums?
the aforementioned caralee’s voice, certain percussions we did not have before, particualrly a set of tuned hyper sustaining bells called crotales. say as if it were french and it does not sound so much like jazz fusion. also a set of 21 hotel desk bells that are all within micro tones of
eachother in pitch. accordion we have not used that since knife play. greg also added samples in very subtle ways to several of the songs. it is interesting how he used them to enhance sound that were already there. also lots of bird sounds and koto.

5. Do you work when you are not doing anything with music?
no i am lucky. i work on music all the time but it is a priviledge.

6. You’ve been coming out with albums at least once a year, and last year you had released two albums on being a live disc. Are you planning to keep going at this rate with releases?
i hope we can. after the air force i am not sure but i hope. we have started working on the post air force record but it is still in early stages. we are adding a new member, percussionist ches smith and trying to take things in a little different way but we will see. we will also do another XXL record and freddy rupert from this song is a mess but so am i are starting an
industrial band in the vein of wolfsheim.

7. Are there any plans to do another split?
with w.s. burns.

8. Is there any significance in the album title or album artwork?
the air force causes the most death in the war on terror. the most civilians are murdered by huge bombs and rockets blowing up entire houses. the air force gets no physcial blood on its hands and is distant from the death it deals indiscriminantly. at least marines have too see what they do.it is so sick that a button explodes an entire family and the pusher never knows. in the united states the people who are the most pro war tend to be the most narrowly , violently christian and as a christian myself i cannot believe that they could claim to believe on the teachings of jesus but still join and justify the horrors they commit or support.

9. For The Air Force you had chosen Greg Saunier to produce. Why had you chosen him and who else did you have in mind?
deerhoof changed my life literally. we are friends and i love how he arranges songs and his sense of space and sound and emotion. he was a dream to work with. i had no one else in mind.

10. Were there any songs that did not make it on the new record and what were they called?
they never get beyond the scetch stage if they are not working out so they are all called like “song with wierd guitar thing” or something. scraps litter my hard drive.

11. Do you ever feel that you are too open with your personal life when writing songs?
no. why else make music if not to be open.

– The next set of questions were submitted by fans –

12. What’s up with that song “Fabulous Muscles”?
it is about the grocery store. what do you mean by this question?

13. Is it hard/awkward to play your songs live in front of audiences?
sometimes but worth it to play.

14. Some listeners say that you have a voice like Ian Curtis. He’s known to be one of your influences so how does it feel knowing that you have a similar voice?
i have been so moved by his songs so it is natural and a considering he is a huge favorite of mine it is a compliment.

15. On the new CD do you have any content related to George W. Bush like you did with La Foret?
his supporters but not him specifically.

16. How would you say your music has changed since the beginning? Less or more abstract?
more dense and we have stopped using real peoples names so for that reason i suppose a little more abstract. we never try to be abstract but it is not always possible.

17. Have you written any songs while being on illegal drugs?
i never really got into drugs. too much bad family history with it. booze on the other hand…. ugh!

18. A rumor on the Internet says that Elliott Smith was killed by his girlfriend, Jennifer Chiba. The question is what do you think about Smith’s death?
it is sad and pointless no matter what. he was a mess and is in a better place now but sad sad sad.

19. How did your Australian tour go?
it ruled. we thought it would suck but every nice thing you have head about australia and new zealand is true.

20. Will you be coming to Canada and not just Toronto?
montreal and i believe ontario.

21. How many times do people think Xiu Xiu is Asian pop music instead of
indie/experimental?

once in a while we get an email from china. it is nice. i have mailed a few records to people there but have never gotten a reply.

Anything you would like to say to the readers?
arf !arf!