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London, United Kingdom
A site about my crafty, adventurous, london life. Things that I make, things that I like, things that I do. And my attempts to find my own London. All the while trying not to be too homesick for California and the Bay Area.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mid-Week Creative Speak!

And yet again this friggin thing is late. Sorry to all of you who are salivating for the next installment.
Week 3 of Artsy Fartsy Interviews!

This, is Jason.
A cyclist, a wine & beer tasting connoisseur, an awesomely talented music man.
Let's get started shall we?!?!

You are a musician yes? What are your musical influences? What drives you to make music?

To answer the third question first: really, no idea. Cause music is awesome? hard to argue with that one. But yes, I'm a musician. I'm a guitarist mostly, but musician is a better definition of what I do, what with all the singing and other instruments and songwriting and whatnot. As far as influences go, my early influences are pretty typical of teenage boys - I liked grundge and classic rock. Hard to say after that - I like a lot of experimental and indie rock, a lot of 20th century "classical" music, and a lot of modern jazz...it definitely comes out in my music, if you know what to listen for. To put it succinctly I could just say I like Bartok & Radiohead. That probably gives people some idea, and will probably make me look like the kind of guy who like whiny British music, which would be true. Soooo, yup.

Is there anything that has influenced you that you actually wish hadn't? Like majoring in classical guitar or being forced to listen to all the Beatles albums by Brian Fidler?

Ooo, good question. You know what sucks? Majoring in music (or anything disciplined really) means you learn to be critical OF EVERYTHING. ug, it's so awful. Being part of an institution like that, you get in the habit of tearing everything apart, into little analyzable bits, from famous work to your friends' work and your own. Not that I don't understand the importance, but institutionalized music doesn't focus on the emotional elements of music, the human bits very much, so you get very intellectual about everything. And snotty. I'm really trying to work back from that. I like melodies, and tension and release, and repetitive rhythms...and epic choruses! Nobody's teaching that in the programs I'm familiar with. Popular music is great like that - it's an example to me that at least in some ways the system is working, cause people under 30 don't generally get excited and go run off to listen to Beethoven, they want to see something new, something like St Vincent, Jake Shimabukuro, Animal Collective. As for the Beatles, there was a time when I hated them. I have no idea what was wrong with me, but it was pretty damn wrong.

If you have to choose to live the rest of your life as a duck or a lemur, which would you be?

Man, those are some awful choices. Well, the sex lives of ducks are particularly curious, and lemurs look constantly surprised and are sometimes known to pee on their feet to help them grip things. Or is that a bushbaby? Is a bushbaby a lemur? Given my choices, I'm going to stick with Mogwai.

Are you mostly musical or do you do anything else artistic or creative in your life? What are you working on at the moment, in any field of artsy fartsy creative stuff?

Artsy fartsy creative stuff, eh....hmmmm....mostly finishing two albums - one of my own, and one with my band,Farewell Typewriter. Both rock, but very different. Probably release them mid-late summer if all the art and mastering goes quickly. I did that super-lo-fi-song-a-day project January. I'm still uploading it, but what I have so far is available free at jasoncountryman.bandcamp.com. Other than that I'm writing new songs, learning new instruments. I guess I do little bits of drawing and photography, and a lot of things in my life could be considered to require creative thinking, but no crafts at the moment. I am picking up fire dancing again, so maybe my lack of crafty output is just that I'm feeling very kinetic as of late.

What is your creative process? I mean do you have a usual pattern to how you write a song?

HAHAHA. My process is a mess. If I'm writing a song, well....you hand me an instrument I can write a song in a matter of minutes, just melody, chords, 3-5 different sections. No problem, on whatever - ukulele, piano, guitar, banjo....even stuff I don't play, like cello. Without an instrument I can write a song on a post-it pad (used to have to do that at work if I had an idea, work it all out by intervals). Absolute no brainer for me, it just comes out. Lyrics? That's like...I just think of Terry Gilliam's cartoon foot coming down at the end of the opening sequence for Monty Python's Flying Circus...like a wall. That happens to also make a farting noise. For lyrics I have to sit down in complete isolation, in a park, in a near-empty coffee shop with earplugs. I stare at the paper and just try stuff. Or lately I find improvising in front of a video camera on my bathroom floor helps. Then I go back and see what worked, pick out the bits I like and work from there. Starting that process, setting the time aside and just letting my mind go blank, and then once I start it, getting into a flow. That's the hardest. I'm very distractable.

Once turned into said duck or lemur, then thrown in a battle rink with opposite choice, who would win?

Mogwais always win.

Especially with the whole multiplying-and-turning-into-Gremlins thing. Unless it was during the great flood of the Old Testament. Then ducks would win.

There you have it folks!
Go get some free awesome music from Jason! I especially like the tribute to Dr. Who.

Love and Lemurs

~Valiant V

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