Thursday, November 10, 2005

Interview w/ Anathallo

Finding Freedom through the Absurdity of Music
by Justin A. Stover

In just over five years, these friends from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan have brewed an eclectic, quirky sounds that perfectly defines Anathallo.

The band's moniker is a Greek term meaning "to renew, cause to grow, or bloom again"; and that's exactly what the band and their music have done. Anathallo began in 2000, mixing a guitar-driven, post-punk edge with an odd melange of horns, vocals, harmonies and, well...junk. Yes, pipes, chains and metal junk were among the percussive instruments used by the band. Now in 2005, Anathallo continues to challenge musical conventions and themselves through their orchestral recordings and theatrical live-performances.

The group has embarked on twelve independent tours in the U.S. This past summer they toured again, and are returning to the studios. As Anathallo's Andrew Dost explains, the band played "for about six weeks this summer all over the country, tuning up some new songs and even playing a cover. After that, we continue to write new stuff, finish the new album, then record it." A split vinyl with the band Javelins is also in the works.

-Justin A. Stover

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Interview W/ Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens: American Music
by Justin A. Stover

"Who the hell is this guy" my friend asked as the awkward stranger plucked his banjo underneath the stage lights. His voice barely above a whisper, the tall and slender 20-something shook as he sang to the 1000+ people sitting below him.

"Seven swans."

The audience didn't know what to think of him, or of the spooky chorus that would haunt them for weeks on end. Most of them were still trying to pronounce his name in their heads, taking repeated glances at the ticket stub. "Soof-john? Suhf-jan? Suf-yan?"

"Seven swans."

It was a confusing half-hour indeed for those waiting for Over the Rhine to take the stage of Calvin College's Fine Arts Center. Who was this odd opener clapping his hands beside his ear after each song? Was he joking around, or were ballads such as "Flint: For the Unemployed and Underpaid" and "Romulus" to be taken seriously?

"Seven swans."

Nobody was quite sure who he was, or if they liked him. His melodies moved from beautiful to obscure, with lyrics ranging from heartfelt to downright weird. Most of all, why the fascination with Michigan?

"I am Lord...I am Lord...I am Lord."

A month later everyone knew who Sufjan Stevens was, though still had no idea how to pronounce his name. The moose painted on the festive, Hallmark-esque cover of his new album Greetings from Michigan and more quirky song titles did little to answer questions of his sincerity. Regardless of its dubious tone, the album was immediately a top seller in record stores across the country, while countless college radio stations aired his songs. And even the pickiest of critics and music pricks agreed Michigan and its creator were different, unique, perhaps brilliant.

Sufjan grew up in Petoskey, MI, thus explaining the fascination with the state. As a boy he studied oboe technique at Interlochen Academy of Music in Interlochen, MI. He later studied Creative Writing at Hope College in Holland, MI, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1998. Along with studies, Sufjan was a member of the local folk band Marzuki. Stephen Hemenway, a Professor of English at Hope College, described Sufjan as a hard worker "who had musi, artistic, literary abilities and seemed to thrive on all of these, which is my 33 years of teaching he was one of the best [students]."

Sufjan says he values his educational training, thinking schools "often provide the suitable context in which we begin to develop a language for bringing to realization the truths of our nature." However, he believes "we have learned everything by the time we are five. Perhabs by the time we are born." He also says "most universities are big business and we would be better off spending our money elsewhere."

Shortly after graduation Sufjan moved to his current home in New York City, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from the New School for Social Research in Greenwich Village. During this time he recorded two albums, A Sun Came and the techno project Year of the Rabbit.

In the spring of 2003 Sufjan released his third solo album, Say Yes to Michigan. On it the young troubadour travels across his home state, spending time with characters both fictional and non-fictional. Michigan's multi-instrumental, often avant-garde score and knack for storytelling won Sufjan a vast audience and much critical acclaim. He's also recorded and performed with several respected popular musicians, including Denison Witmer, Half-Handed Cloud, The Danielson Famile, and most recently Laura Veirs.

In July Sufjan released Come On Feel the Illinoise, which has remained the best-reviewed album of 2005. Given an unusual publicity suit through a potential lawsuit (the first copies had an image of Superman on the cover...a big no-no according to DC Comics), Sufjan and Illinoise have appeared in such magazine as Rolling Stone, SPIN, No Depression, and Magnet.

Though Sufjan often performs decked out in red, white, and blue, he says the 50 States project "has nothing to do with feelings of nationalism or patriotism. As he points out, "These are bland, abstract terms with often negative connotations." He admits having "an allegiance to ideas of freedom, and to free consciousness and to the free spirit of [humanity], but doesn't consider himself a "patriot."

Contrary to the Lee Greenwoods and Toby Keith's of the day, Sufjan doesn't rely on a shallow, militant political rhetoric to convey his thoughts on America. Rather, he uses stories, setting each one in a different town or city, where real flesh-and-blood characters struggle against their own imperfections, their own failures and their own desires to love and be loved. Through story, Sufjan saves us from the abstract world of patriotism, taking us instead to towns many of us have visited and roads we've likely driven down before. And though Michigan, Illinoise, and the rest of the 50 States project will rely heavily on fiction, these stories unveil potent truths about American history and its constituent states.

"The 50 States project is an exercise in observation, in narrative technique," Sufjan explains. "It's an exercise in the fictional work of historical summary. State lines are as arbitrary as road names. And yet each map, each river, each harbor has been given a term which in itself carries considerable meaning. I'm interested in the small regional details that evoke unimaginable mysteries." By finding stories in these nuances, Sufjan also finds a greater understanding of the pain, loss and hope holding the American citizens together.

Through these stories, we learn to better sympathize for the people suffering the endless economic hardship in Flint, MI. We feel the unconditional love and loyalty a widowed mother has for her children on "For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti." And we even hear the horrific thoughts of a child-molesting, murderous clown on the biographical track, "John Wayne Gacy, Jr."

Whether evoking sympathy or pity, pride or fear, Sufjan stevens and his melodic folktales remind us not only of what it means to truly be an American, but to truly be human.

"We come out of the womb shaking with the terrible realization that life is most certainly the constant accomodation of pain and suffering," he states. "We begin to develop a utility of thought and action. We are put to work. We make things. We try to be useful. This is the trick of society, to induce the mechanism of work. How awful. Let's get out of this myth right now and start clapping our hands. Let's throw basketballs around the playground. Let's visit old people in the hospice. Let's start doing things for other people. There is more to life."

Sufjan has made quite a name for himself in just a short time. Yet, this popularity is not because he has developed a certain image or sound that happens to be marketable within pop-culture. And it is certainly not because he "figured out" how to sneak his way into the music industry. Rather, it's because he has worked hard with a craft he takes very seriously. It is because he is a master of historical narrative; not to mention a damn good musician. Because every song he creates, ever note, lyric and instrument walks with us through familiar soil; namely, that of our own homeland.

-Justin A. Stover

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Interview w/ Andy Greenwald

Emo, Books, and Blogs:
An Interview with Andy Greenwald

Andy Greenwald is one of the most renowned young music journalists today. He is Senior Contributing Writer for Spin Magazine, freelancer for publications including The Village Voice, and is author of non-fiction book Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo. He will also be releasing his first novel Miss Misery in January of 2005. I recently spoke with Andy Greenwald about his journey into journalism, thoughts on the music industry, and his passion for fandom.

What lead you into music journalism and writing for Spin?

Well, it’s a pretty simple combination. My two loves were music and writing. I was an English major in college, went to Brown University. After my junior year of college I wanted to spend the summer with NYC friends, but my mother said I better do an internship if I went.

Where did you end up interning?

I had internships at Spin and Matadors. My time at Spin was really good because they had a website and couldn’t pay for it, so they hired internships. I had the first review when the web launched. Eventually I was the editors assistant, then later assistant at the magazine. I took over spin .com, which was a dream job. I had my own staff, our own ofice...complete autonomy, and contact with the bands we loved. Every band that’s big now, from Bright Eyes and Death Cab, was in our office. While I did this I wrote more for Spin and freelanced for other magazines. Later on everyone was fired but me. I was kept to run the website, but there wasn't much to run, so I concentrated on writing and looked for other things to do.

How'd you decide to write Nothing Feels Good? Is emo your favorite music genre?

No, not at all. What Nothing Feels Good came from was specifically a series of stories I did for sping in 2001 and 2002. The first was on Dasbhoard, Makeout club, blogs. They were totally outside of my experience, but I was really excited. I felt there was a connection between the 3. What was really appealing about the genre was the teenagers themselves. I’m fascinated by fandom. The love and devotion people have towards music and the music they discover during that time of life. I was really interested in it. I felt I’d have a unique perspective, since I was an outsider.

What kind of music had been consistently your favorite when you were a teenager?

I had the split personality in high school. On one side, completely indie rock...guided by voices, superchunk, pavement. But I mostly listened to hip hop. Generally, you like what you like and its’ across all genres. I could relate to the experience of finding yourself through music.

What characteristic of emo music do you respect the most?

The idea of the person on stage as a confidant. But the confidance is now totally different. Jimmy eat world have a strange careeer. They are very private....their relationship to the fans has changed. It's very private music for people...more money was being pumped into the scene. Dashboard (Chris Carabba) is someone who so actively sought to make that personal connection with others. I mostly try to reveal in the book that you can’t do it. There’s a certain point you can’t. The concerts get bigger, the fans get older. High school ends. Even Chris is moving on...he’s pretty happy these days.

Do you think emo music will survive for much longer?

I think emo is already changing into the next thing. There will always be an emo genre. Kids will turn their noses. It’s been interesting for me to see. I wrote Nothing Feels Good during the big boom of emo. The fans and bands were getting signed. Really, out of all those bands, only two have been successful. My Chemical Brothers and Fall Out Boy. I think they are interesting test cases. Chemical never really was emo, but they are bringing showmanship back. Emo in its pure state is showmanship. Fall out Boy is more interesting example because they are tailor made for TRL.

In your book, you spend a great deal of time highlighting the importance of blogging and the internet in emo. Do you think emo is what pushed the music industry into the MySpace, Purevolume blog structure that it has recently become?

Emo is absolutely what pushed the industry. Whatever would push the industry would be the teenage music...their music at the moment. I think emo was that music. I tried in the book to show how rapidly it has changed. How Taking Back Sunday was known in a matter of months. Emo has an incredible reach. If you tap into the established network of these bands then you're on. It’s remarkable.

Do you think MySpace, Purevolume, blogging etc. is a good new direction because it has a more egalitarian structure, or do you think it is bad because it allows literally any band/artist to have a career, regardless of talent?

I would agree with the former. I think that good music exists. On the side of the band is fans and writers. I think that it’s pretty great. Anything that empowers the fan over the corporation is great...fantastic. Of course, I think bands should be paid and rewarded for it.

What about burning mp3s? Do you think that it is hurting or helping the artists?

The truth is, bands signed to labels make their money touring. But I don’t see a real downside for bands getting their music out through burnt CDs, particularly the bands we’re talking about in the genres. The kids [fans] are so devoted...they will buy EVERYTHING of [their favorite band]. It’s a genearation of kids who emphatically support these bands.

Now, in regards to blogs, zines, etc. Do you think these should be considered journalism?

Zines are fandom..not journalism. On some level, zines are fading away. Online mags like Pitchfork have replaced them. I do feel there’s someting to be said about matured criticism [journalism]. I think it’s great to share music, like through zines and online mags. But I think sites like Pitchfork are damaging with their writing. They’re getting better, but I find their writing so immature. They have no sense of humor. We’re all like that when we’re twenty or twenty two and in college (laughing). But I felt that what we did on the website 5 years ago was revolutionary. At no point were the "high up" music industries ready to adjust. Like napster, a lot of established magazines were caught off guard by the web.

Are you worried about music journalism losing its power and popularity?

I do worry... I think magazines will find a way to integrate their online with the print.

Now, before we close talk a bit about your upcoming novel, Miss Misery.

Miss Misery, named after the Elliot Smith song. It’s an online alias of a character of the book. I wrote it last winter and it will be published in January by Simon Spotlight Entertainment (Spotlight and Schuster). Fans of Nothing Feels Good will find a lot to like about it. It’s a similar world, in more personal and humorous way. This is my first fiction. It was basically...the plot of the book came out of an experience writing the first book. When I found myself unsure of how to write it I got more caught up in the lives of people online. I was doing it for research, but it’s a weird way to spend your time. Eventually I came up with the plot. I think it will appeal to a wide readership. I'm doing a tour for it in January. I did a lot of study of the Epistolary novel in writing it.
-Justin A. Stover

To find out more about Andy Greenwald, join his myspace account at: and check out

Michael Glowacki

Graphic Artist Michael Glowacki

Home is where the art is. Just ask Michael Glowacki.

“I am very passionate about supporting any local community,” says the twenty two year old artist and graduate of Kendall College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. And though he’s now a graduate student at the rigorous Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit, Glowacki says he’ll still support the Grand Rapids’ community. On October 14th he returned home for a week long showcase at the Division Avenue Arts Cooperative (DAAC). “When I was taking out all my loans for tuition I definitely questioned what I can actually do with art, besides let it hang on a white wall in a gallery that only adheres to an upper class audience,” he recalls. “But I want to reach all [people].”

Thankfully, his training at Kendall (he studied Print Media Graphic Design and Photography,) along with downtown’s growing art scene, made these desires possible. “Kendall was a great experience. However I think with any art school it is totally up to you what you want from [it].” That’s why Glowacki made sure his training and art didn’t just stay inside of school walls. Local art galleries like Common Ground, Morningstar 76 and the DAAC proved great places to display his work for the whole city to see. And the more he used such outlets, the more Glowacki realized that art had more than just “aesthetic” benefits for Grand Rapids.

He says, “Cooperative galleries like the DAAC help bring people to areas of the community that people might not normally come to. This in turn helps support local business of the area and the success of introducing new real estate sales.” Glowacki also notes that many local art galleries such as DAAC are run by “volunteers [that] really work hard to bring ongoing events to that part of the community.” In regards to the art he displayed at the DAAC throughout the week, Glowacki says there was a “a buffet of artwork.” His pieces will ranged “from ink drawing on collaged paper to mixed media photographs, and painting on found wood.” Thematically, he says “most stuff I do attempts to be humorous, but has a sort of underlying serious layer. So you can choose to just have fun with the work, or you can choose to examine the sub-layers.”

Darlene Kaczmarczyk, professor and director of Kendall’s photography program, describes Glowacki’s work as “wild and wonderful.” She says, “I’ve known Mike for a long time, and he is the only student I’ve ever bought art from. He’s very creative and a hard worker.”
-Justin A. Stover

The above image is an original work by Glowacki

Discover America

Discover America: The Psychology of Music

Nothing grabs Chris Staples’ attention more than studying psychology and making music. Fortunately, the Seattle troubadour focuses on both with his new electro-rock solo project Discover America.

“Psychology classes . . . were the only classes I've ever taken that I paid attention to the entire time,” Staples recalls with a chuckle. “I don't even think the professor was that good, but the subject matter was super engaging to me.” For Staples, the most engaging discovery he made while excavating the human mind also proved to be the most unfortunate. “I think what really struck me about psychology, and in many ways lowered my view of humans, was that there is always some sort of hidden agenda behind everything that we do as humans. Fear and desire mostly,” Staples says. And as the former frontman of Tooth n’ Nail math-rock quartet Twothirthyeight began crafting his thoughts into the synth blips and jazzy guitar grooves of Discover America’s debut album, Staples realized the themes in his lyrics were more than just “Freudian Slips.”

He says, “When I was almost done writing the record, I had no title for it.” After carefully exploring his debut, Staples found that “people and their fears, doubts, joys, memories and triumphs” was the common thread holding each song together. He soon chose Psychology as the title. Though early experiences lowered his view of human beings, Discover America showed Staples how psychology could help his music challenge listeners with a “mind-bending” Christian faith. And he thinks this technique proved more powerful than just using “church talk.”

“I never use any common terms that religious people use,” he explains. “If I'm contemplating a spiritual idea, which I often do, I'll use words that are uncommon to Christianity so at first you won't understand.” He thinks this approach will make the listener’s mind “work harder to wrap itself around what I'm trying to say.” These techniques and the content Discover America sings of may at first seem a bit “cerebral.” Still Staples makes sure his music doesn’t go over the heads of his audience.

“With Discover America I was more interested in making an accessible, melodic, groove oriented record,” he says. “I wanted people who are hearing the songs for the first time to bob their head to it.” As he spends the rest of the year touring America, Staples will be seeing a lot of new fans “bobbing their heads” to his music. And thanks to his thought-provoking message, they’ll be using their heads more than ever before.

Interview w/ The Cinematic Underground

"We Could Be Happy Underground"
An Interview With Nathan Johnson

Imagine this: a film composer, a classically-trained piano instructor, a log-cabin builder, a high-school student, a dancer, a grade-school teacher, an actor, an architect, a struggling novelist, an illustrator and a landscape gardener all move together under one Boston roof. Sounds like a collection that would make for the most dramatic, emotional, and complicated reality TV show of all time. But instead, the above scenario describes the critically-acclaimed graphic art and music collective The Cinematic Underground. Led by composer Nathan Johnson, this group has brought their “mish-mash” of music, art, and storytelling to stages across England and is involved in an American tour that’s sure to keep their audience growing. Sounds Good recently spoke with Johnson, learning more about the collective’s unique form of storytelling and the wonderful message they share through it.

So explain the “cinematic” influence in this group?

My cousin Rian is a director. He lives out in LA and he just completed his first feature film called Brick. It played at the Sundance Film Festival this year and won the Grand Jury Press [prize] for originality and vision, and was picked up by Focus Features [ie. Lost in Translation, The Pianist, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind]. It’s going to be distributed worldwide and released in March.

Now with “Cinematic Underground,” do you consider yourselves a band, or project? How exactly would you describe yourselves as a whole?

Essentially we’re an artistic collective that have our fingers in a lot of different projects.

Tell us about the current project that you have been touring and performing?

We wrote basically a literal concept narrative album, which is quite different from your standard concept album because . . . it actually is a literal story with exterior characters. It’s called Annasthesia. The story is about love and escape and risk. And kind of the choice you make that either has to do with numbing yourself or engaging with life . . . it’s sort of an anti-love story, and that’s the album we’re touring. . . The album comes with a 24 page color graphic novella that my brother Zach did all the illustrations for. So you actually read it like a comic book as you listen to the album. And what we’re doing this year is we’re taking that and putting it on the stage, so the show becomes a mash-up between a concert and a graphic novel, and kind of a weird narrative storytelling form.

Is there actual “acting” that the collective does in the performances of this particular narrative album?

It’s not acting ‘as such,’ but I’m in character on the show and my sister is as well . . . So the way that we do it is we actually play all the songs live, but we project all of the graphic novel onto the stage on this big screen behind us. I’m kind of the [lead character.] So it’s not acting in the sense that . . . well, we don’t have lines but we definitely perform it as an abstract theater piece, a concert, and a comic book. It’s really fun. The thing that really drives it is the storytelling aspect of it. And that’s something that I think is apparent in the way we made the album. We wrote the story before the music. I recorded it in my brother’s bedroom in my parents’ house. We had these massive charts up all over the wall where I was madly working out how to structure this story and what was drawn. That really laid the groundwork and the restrictions for the music. The music came out of that and filled the different parts we needed in the story.

Has storytelling and fiction been a significant part of your background?

[Making stories] is something I grew up just loving. My cousins, brothers, sisters and myself would make movies all the time growing up. That’s what we spent our whole vacations doing.

Now what I find fascinating is that Annasthesia, though featuring a whole orchestra of instruments and a very wide, theatrical sound, was recorded with very limited equipment. Tell us a little about that.

We recorded it using pro-tools and a single microphone. It’s amazing what technology is enabling right now. With minimal means you can create something that just opens up creativity quite wide.

So technology has been quite a benefit for your work?

We don’t have the luxury to be snooty towards technology. In essence it has allowed amazing creative opportunity for really minimal means. And I’m so excited about what that enables. Because instead of being an independent band just cobbling together, you know, thousands of dollars to get a few days in a studio where you have lots of time constraints and pressures, what you can do is invest that money into a set-up that enables you unlimited time to create, essentially.

Do you have a lot of experience doing recording/sound engineer work?

I’m so much more excited about the creative side of things instead of the technology of, like, fiddling knobs. That actually sort of hinders my own mental processes. So for me, I need to get into a place where I have unlimited time and I have the ability to capture any idea at the moment I have it.

What about technology associated with the internet? E-mail, Purevolume, My Space? Are you happy with these new resources?

There’s actually a great experience I had with that. I was living in England when Rian, my cousin, asked me to score his film. And so the film was being made in Southern California and I was living in my apartment in England. I composed all the music to the film without ever being in the same room as [my brother.] And so we utilized iChat conferences and we basically “video-conferenced” the whole thing. So we had hours and hours of meetings where I was sitting in front of my Powerbook and with my little video camera . . . I was on the South Coast of England, he was ending the movie in Hollywood, and we would record stuff . . . I would e-mail it to him and we would get online…midnight my time, early morning his, and we totally got out of a rhythm of time. I was sending stuff, he would listen to it, and we’d get online and have a video conference. He would tell me, you know, ‘go more in this direction’ and then I’d make adjustments and e-mail it to him again. It was a phenomenal experience. I would be interested to know if that wasn’t the first time a movie had been composed using iSight. It was really amazing to be able to work on a project thousands of miles away. Really, the first time I was in a room with Ryan [during the project] was when we both flew to New York to fix the score.”

Are you all able to do the Cinematic Underground full-time at this point?

We’re pretty much doing it full time. A lot of us have other projects. I’m producing another singer right now named Katie Chastain. She is absolutely magnificent. We’re actually co-writing a lot of stuff together. It’s been a fantastic creative process. She lives with another community of artists down the road from us. Her aesthetic is amazing. She hands sews her album that she sells at shows. Her voice will blow you away; it’s amazing.

What do you think is unique about your musical compositions?

Ryan asked specifically for a “Broken down junkyard score. So I pushed more in that direction and built some instruments, including a winophone: wine glasses pitched with different levels of water. Basically, when I was preparing for the movie, instead of going to a studio or music shop I went to the local grocery store to their kitchen aisle and I was just, like, insanely testing out cheese graters, whisks, and tones on wine glasses. I basically just bought myself a whole new kitchen set (laughing).

What about the story itself? What is unique about that?

The way that I describe this album is, basically, telling the truth by speaking a lie. I think in my earlier work I was overly concerned about writing songs that were exactly autobiographical. And I think in doing so that you put such a filter, or such a gate, on what you say that you’re telling the truth literally, but it becomes a lie. And so what I did with Annasthesia is in writing about a character, writing through a character, I felt like I didn’t have that gate that I had to write through. So I’m definitely not the main character in the album. I’ve never worked an office job. Never fallen for a girl at work who is getting on a place the next day. But, it’s based on a mixture of four different cities that I’ve spent a lot of time in (Bournemouth, England, New York City, Denver and Los Angeles.) I recorded it in Denver, New York, and England. I captured stuff in the airports as I was flying. One of the main scenes takes places in an airport. I spend a lot of time in airports. [The story] is a lot about this [idea] that a lot of people have connected to. I feel like the great decision that we have to make in life is whether we disengage or escape, or choose to engage with, reality. And that’s kind of where the title comes from. From the mixture of the girl’s name with the medical term for ‘numbing.’ Like when you get a broken arm. There’s a real distinct pain coming from a certain party of your arm. And the choice you have is to either address that pain and fix it or to medicate. When we medicate it essentially we kind of numb it over-and [then] you can’t tell where the pain is coming from, but you just feel this sort of overall ‘blah’, or this numbness.

What about the time period of the story?

The story happens in a mythical city in the recent past; before the explosion of the internet, when telephones still had chords.

Now, are all twelve members of the collective musicians?

The group is a slightly a revolving, rotating membership, but there’s about a dozen of us. And not all of those are on stage. That includes the artists who make the projection happen, the fashion shop happen…administrators who keep all twelve of us eating and living.

How has this communal nature of “Cinematic Underground” been good for the group and projects?

When resources put restrictions on you, I think that can really create amazing stuff if you share them. We’re doing this all independently . . . no label financing us. One of the things we do is figuring out how [to] live on really minimal means. We’ve made the decision that we don’t want to work part time jobs, so we’ve tightened up our belts. And it’s actually really amazing. We end up eating on two dollars per night . . . these amazing meals.

Are there any final words you’d like to give readers?

I feel like there’s a real loud voice right now that says ‘if you want to be successful, this is the route that you have to take. And I think a really powerful thing to understand is that you don’t have to play by their rules if you don’t require their rewards. That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot and processing with the whole team. If you do require the rewards that are being offered to your industry or by your vocation then you really do need to play by their rules. If you want this, then this is what you have to do to get it. But the flip side of that opens up this phenomenal freedom that…when someone says you have to do X, you really have the freedom to say, “No, we actually don’t have to do that cause we don’t need what X rewards us with. And that opens up the ability for us to actually do a tour with 12 people, unfunded by a major record label. Because the things that are driving us are creating really good, small pieces of art and connecting with people and, you know, doing a crazy mash-up between three different art forms. And that allows us to say, ‘Well, what we’ve got is a story, and what we are is a graphic designers and illustrators and architects and we’re not just musicians. So, let’s use all these things that we love to tell this story that we have, and have you see what the outcome is.’ And if you start from that way I can assure you that it’s not gonna look like a normal CD or concert.

to check up on their tour, go to: