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LET TE R T O JA N E ISSUE 01 IMAGE + SOUND INTERVIEWS AND CONTRIBUTIONS FROM

Yoko Ono Peter Bjorn and John No Age Passion Pit TheVirgins Gary Graham Hedi Slimane Jody Rogac Timothy Paul Moore Aziz Ansari Fool’s Gold Dan Deacon Art Brut Metronomy The Morning Benders Au Revoir Simone Band of Outsiders

Lorraine Dauw photographed by Timothy Paul Moore


FIVE QUESTIONS p. 16


HEDI SLIMANE: AMERICAN YOUTH p. 66


ARTIST INTERVIEW SERIES: PETER BJORN & JOHN p. 34


ARTIST INTERVIEW SERIES: JODY ROGAC p. 138


ARTIST INTERVIEW SERIES: GARY GRAHAM p. 72


THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER p. 48


NO AGE BAND OF OUTSIDERS

THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER MARIANNE RENOIR

GARY GRAHAM AMERICAN YOUTH

L E T TER AU REVOIR SIMONE THE VIRGINS

72 66

PETER BJORN & JOHN AZIZ ANSARI

34 32

YOKO ONO 5 QUESTIONS

26 16

80 76 48 38 30 28


PASTELS WALLPAPER

JODY ROGAC LIGHT + SHADOW

COUPLE DECISIONS

T O JANE DAN DEACON PASSION PIT

150 140

ART BRUT METRONOMY

120 114

THE MORNING BENDERS FOOL’S GOLD

88 84

162 152 138 130 108 90


“THE CINEMA,” SAID ANDRE BAZIN, “SUBSTITUTES FOR OUR GAZE A WORLD MORE IN HARMONY WITH OUR DESIRES.” THIS IS A STOR Y OF THAT WORLD.

[CUE MUSIC] [SHOW TITLE CARDS]

LE T T E R T O JA NE BY

TIMOTHY PAUL MOORE ISSUE ONE IMAGE + SOUND

“AND SINCE EVERTHING IS NOT OBVIOUS JANE, LET US ASK OURSELVES QUESTIONS. BUT LET US MAKE AN EFFORT TO ASK THEM DIFFERENTLY. IN OTHER WORDS LET US ASK NEW QUESTIONS IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO GIVE NEW ANSWERS.” - JEAN PIERRE GORIN

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LETTER TO JANE is a constantly evolving collection that is now learning from the films of JLG and JPG. Film as we know it never really evolved into its own, borrowing from the written word. Filmmakers such as GODARD took the essay and made it film, and now we’ve tried to make the film essay. There is no desire to make our work appear or mimic the look of film, but rather use the methods and theories that are unique to the cinema. For as the Godfather of cinema, HENRI LANGOIS once said, “The only ingredients you need for a film are image and sound.”The representations of those ingredients are on every page, just as a film has the representation of someone’s words in every frame. LETTER TO JANE.COM

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WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO WITHOUT YOUR CONTRIBUTION THIS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE

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LETTER TO JANE.COM

LISA METTIER ELENA MONTALVO ERIKA A ZÖE DELUGE ANTOINE DE GORGUETTE JULIA MONSON ZINA D TAMARA CORDON LIZ SAMPSON YOKO ONO NATE DONMOYER ANNIE HART AZIZ ANSARI PETER MORÈN LORRAINE DAUW HEDI SLIMANE GARY GRAHAM BAND OF OUTSIDERS NICK ACKERMAN DEAN SPUNT LUKE TOP LEWIS PESACOV BRUKE GETACHEW CHRISTOPHER CHU DAN DEACON BRIE MULLIN JODY ROGAC GABRIELLE HENNESSEY BRIAN DEKKER RANDA SMITH CAITLIN ALEXANDER LAP LE DAN ROBERTS BERNIE MICHALIK TAT HATASE KIP KOURI GRACE JONES TEIRNEY STOUT DANIEL GILL JESSICA LINKER


Like any other film, the concerns with the creation of LETTER TO JANE were: how to fill the space, how to set the tone, and to find what I could use to meet both criteria. 1972’s LETTER TO JANE had Jane Fonda, 2009’s LETTER TO JANE has the new stars of our hyper social world with the familiar faces of LOOKBOOK.nu as well as the big stars of today such as YOKO ONO, PETER MOREN of Peter Bjorn and John, DEAN SPUNT of No Age, and many more of today’s biggest stars. Our lead character is the upcoming artist LORRAINE DAUW, who graces the cover and pages beyond. Her quiet presence is the visual embodiment of the words that surround her. [CUT TO SCENE] LETTER TO JANE.COM

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10 LINES LATER...


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Questions Letter to Jane can’t be everywhere at all times so we asked some of the Hot List from LOOKBOOK.nu to help us out.

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Zürich Switzerland

Lisa

killerparty.ch lookbook.nu/user/17501-Lisa-M

What book, album, or film are you into right now? I’m currently reading Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau.

What are the best stores in your area?

I love vintage and small, independent designer stores. Zurich is a cute lil city so there are not many, and every shop is kind of near. I love OPIA, its lil expensive, but it has great Asian, no name-designers. The best vintage store in Zurich is LUX Plus. If you are ever visiting my town, don’t miss a shop called DINGS.

What are the popular trends where you live?

There are so many trends here, I can’t really say. I don’t care what others wear, just be yourself and inspire of all the great things in the world.

What are some must-haves of yours?

I love overknee boots, leather jackets, shoulderwork, retro-classics, I’m an individualists.

One thing you wish people stopped doing when you go to a party? I’m tired of people grabbing, showing no respect, and taking hard drugs.

LETTER TO JANE.COM

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Monterrey Mexico

Elena

missmarsclothing.com lookbook.nu/user/3416-Ninjaintherun-K

What book, album, or film are you into right now?

I’m listening to Stevie Wonder Innervisions and Ricky Nelson’s Ricky & Ricky Nelson. As for films, I just saw The Boondock Saints and liked it a lot. I also saw Let the Right One In recently. Currently I’m reading Las Flores del mal by Baudelaire.

What are the best stores in your area?

There’s a collective showroom of local designers and vintage clothing named Black Sheep. I mostly shop vintage or thrift stores and sometimes American Apparel or Zara.

What are the popular trends where you live? I’m still waiting for them to stop being hippies!

What are some must-haves of yours? A good leather jacket and a pair of high heels.

One thing you wish people stopped doing when you go to a party? Drugs!

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Montreal Canada

Erika

ealtosaar.blogspot.com/ lookbook.nu/user/952-Erika-A

What book, album, or film are you into right now?

As far as albums go, my classics are Wish by The Cure, and Haha Sound by Broadcast. I’m currently delving into some Kant right now which I feel will be a long (but hopefully rewarding) process, along with Malaise with Modernity by Taylor. Film is always a funny story... I never know how to choose (factually based), but always end up loving beautiful films with a whimsical story line and little script such as Lost in Translation and 2046.

What are the best stores?

There are many fripperies (second hand stores) that can be very good or very bad. U&I is an incredible store that no one can afford, and Petits Gateux is probably the best retail experience in the world. They sell cupcakes.

What are the popular trends where you live?

I wish I could explain Montreal to you. People are extreme vintage finders. A lot of the trends, in effect, are really horrifying. Big socks with everything, high waisted acid wash with bowtie necks... it can get pretty ridiculous.

What are some must-haves of yours?

Big wool scarves!! They’re so much easier to fall into when you’re heading out on a cold day.

LETTER TO JANE.COM

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Los Angeles USA

Zöe

Profile: http://lookbook.nu/user/2275-Zo-D

What book, album, or film are you into right now?

I have been listening to this Canadian based band named Daedelus their album is Love To Make Music To. The latest film I saw in theaters is D9 and it was absoulutly the best film of all year. I really hope Peter Jackson does a good job on the live action Neon Genesis Evangelion.

What are the best stores in your area?

There are so many great stores In LA, but the ones I go to most often is: Wasteland on Melrose, Jet Rag Vintage on La Brea (especially for the one dollar sunday pile sales), and the Golden West Swapmeet in Orange County.

What are the popular trends where you live?

Well for the fashion forward people, it’s really trendy to shop at echo park for all its vintage stores, they do have some of the best summer stuff. It’s been really hot lately, so its been alot of shorts, rompers, and flowy light color vintage tops, or crop tees. Guys still insist on wearing pants and a lot of dark colors (even though we all know how hot it must be).

What are some must-haves of yours?

There is this little store in Korea Town and they have this light pink tunic or long tee with this fluffy white cat’s face on it, I want it soooo bad! Also I must have eyeliner at all times, its like my security blanket.

One thing you wish people stopped doing when you go to a party?

I wish girls would stop being so damn attention seeking and whoreish, it makes me roll my eyes when ever I go out; especially since they always try to kiss my boyfriend.

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Paris France

Antoine

arkansas.20six.fr lookbook.nu/user/13380-Tony-S

What book, album, or film are you into right now?

Well, right now I’m enjoy Cripple Crow by Devendra Banhart. As for books I am reading Moby Dick, and last night I watched Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch.

What are the best stores?

Hum... I love the All Saints store in Paris so much. I found a little vintage keyboard store yesterday that I spend a lot of time (and money) at, and of course I love my vegan grocery!

What are the popular trends where you live?

There are a lot of trends... but at the moment a lot of people wear second hand clothes that they find in flea markets or vintage stores, and everybody wants a perfecto!

What are some must-haves of yours?

A wonderful MelleSan chain, a white t-shirt with an incredible print, a knitted beanie, a smart gray plaid shirt, a basic blue denim, and a dead pair of Vans.

One thing you wish people stopped doing when you go to a party?

I really wish people stop thinking it’s cool to destroy themselves. It’s just a stupid followers attitude.

LETTER TO JANE.COM

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Toronto Canada

Julia

http://juliamonson.blogspot.com/ http://lookbook.nu/user/23859-Julia-M

What book, album, or film are you into right now?

I just finished reading a Jimi Hendrix Biography called Room Full of Mirrors by Charles R. Cross which was interesting because I have a sick obsession with Jimi. I’m also obsessing over Gavin Castletons’ Home which is pure brilliance from beginning to end. There is not one song by him that I remotely found unpleasant. As for film, I’d have to say Inglorious Basterds was the last best thing I’ve seen since Pulp Fiction; Tarantino is crazy good.

What are the best stores in your area?

I live along Queen Street West in Toronto, which I find is one of the most prime spots to find the golden stuff. I particularly like Carte Blanche, Showroom, Urban Outfitters, and of course Vintage 69.

What are the popular trends where you live?

In Canada, a winter coat is always in fashion. Yes, you could probably rock it in July.

What are some must-haves of yours?

A GREAT selection of white shirts and skinny jeans. Rings. Bangles. Rings. Oh! And a classic blazer.

One thing you wish people stopped doing when you go to a party?

Hmm, well, I really wish people left the drama for AFTER the party instead of causing scenes between the dance floor, but other than that, the night is free and you can do whatever you want with it! I have fun either way haha!

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Milano Italy

Zina

appendix-mag.com lookbook.nu/user/40645-Zina-D

What book, album, or film are you into right now?

Right now I’m really into the film Last Days by Gus van Sant. I find it very interesting and inspiring, it’s one of my favorites moves.

What are the best stores in your area?

I just love going to markets and second hand shops. Those are the best places to find amazing clothes and inspiration.

What are the popular trends where you live?

I travel a lot and what I have noticed is that people follow different trends, but I have to say that most people are following the 80’s trend these days.

What are some must-haves of yours?

Some nice vintage bags is definitely a must have for me.

One thing you wish people stopped doing when you go to a party?

I don’t like when people wear average clothes to parties. When you are going to a party I think you should dress up and stand out.

Photo: © Paul PJ Cheng 2009 LETTER TO JANE.COM

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Perth Australia

Tamara

obsessiondujourvintage.blogspot.com lookbook.nu/user/3603-Tamara-C

What book, album, or film are you into right now?

Being an avid fan of The Knife for years so I’m loving Fever Ray at the moment. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Cat Power, truly amazing music.

What are the best stores in your area?

I live in Fremantle which is THE area for secondhand shopping. Lots of antique and vintage stores everywhere. My favourite store is called Off The Wall which specializes in some pretty amazing vintage pieces and brand new deadstock designer sunnies.

What are the popular trends where you live?

Oversized shirts with leggings and a leather jacket seems to be the norm. Coming into spring/summer here I’m seeing a lot of grungy florals with tough boots.

What are some must-haves of yours?

A tough pair of black ankle boots, statement rings and a slouchy beanie.

One thing you wish people stopped doing when you go to a party?

Smoking - It’s the most pointless and expensive activity. But then again people can do what they want with their own organs, I have no problem with that.

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San Francisco USA

Liz

http://popcultureafternoon.blogspot.com/ http://lookbook.nu/user/17493-Liz-S

What book, album, or film are you into right now?

Right now I am reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. As for music and movies, I’m listening to Two Suns by Bat for Lashes, and watching The September Issue.

What are the best stores?

My favorites are Thrifttown, Painted Bird Vintage, Idol Vintage, and Wasteland.

What are the popular trends where you live?

The 90’s grunge look is very big in San Francisco. There are lots of denim, plaid, floral dresses, and combat boots.

What are some must-haves of yours?

I love the perfect pair of trousers, boyfriend blazer, stripes, black skinnies, chunky ankle boots, silk tee shirts, and cocktail rings.

One thing you wish people stopped doing when you go to a party?

Screaming “ooohooo!” I don’t need you to show me how much fun your having by screaming in my ear.

LETTER TO JANE.COM

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Artist Interview Series Interview by Timothy Paul Moore

“If it changed once, it will change again. Change is the nature of life. So enjoy what it is now.”

Y

oko Ono is not a name that needs much introduction. As long as The Beatles remain popular it’s destined that Ono’s name will also remain a household name, but it’s really a shame to only know her for her fame as she is arguably the most successful modern artist of our time. I fell in love with her work in college when I was shown some of Ono’s installations and performance pieces from the Sixties. They were in typical Yoko Ono fashion: daring, original, and always positive. Through the decades she has kept herself ahead of

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the curve and worked with every notable artist in every art form known to man. Amazingly all of that is still only a fraction of what she has accomplished when you add the fact that she’s been a champion of human rights and other causes as well. With her recent album she teamed up with her son Sean to bring what might be the most eclectic album of the year. With so many different sounds and styles, the 73-yearold Ono created an album that is more aggressive and unique than what most 20 somethings turn out these days.


Yoko Ono

The title of your LP Between My Head and The Sky, What about that phrase that stuck out to you when naming this LP? YOKO ONO: I’m not sure. I just thought it was a cool title. Is it true that you improvised all the lyrics on this album? YOKO ONO: Almost. There were three songs which were something I had scribbled one summer. I then took those notes and changed them into songs in the studio this time. But other than that, all songs just came to me at the studio. As I’m listening to your latest work again, I’m struck with your presence on each track. You’ve always remained such an independent spirit throughout your whole career and as a young artist I wish I had more of that. Has that always been there or was it a progressive process? YOKO ONO: I was very independent from a very, very early age. I think it had something to do with the environment I was brought up in as well. How was the dynamic of making music with your son Sean? YOKO ONO: It was a total surprise. It went very well. With your latest LP there are so many different styles, what was the overall concept? It is like life. I wanted the LP to reflect reality. You are releasing remixes of Gimmie Something which is a track that I always loved. What made you want to bring back this song now? YOKO ONO: Because it is expressing the emotion we all have now. GIVE ME SOMETHING THAT’S NOT COLD!

YOKO ONO: The very fact that it is something new, that lets you hear your voice in a changed form excites me. Yes. I like to hear my voice in it. Being a conceptual artist and you’ve made a lot of strong “whole” albums. How do you feel about this shift to smaller releases? It feels like music is almost going back to the beginnings of rock when it was just singles. YOKO ONO: If it changed once, it will change again. Change is the nature of life. So enjoy what it is now. I was recently watching some of your films from the 60’s 70’s, and you were such a pioneer of experimental film back then. The way video is used socially these days there seems to be new venues for to reinterpret the art form. Do you think you’ll get back into experimental film/ video? YOKO ONO: No. I already did that one. So I’d like to move on. I am constantly moving on. You recently celebrated the release of The Beatles Rock Band game. Would you ever like to see a video game of your solo work be released? YOKO ONO: I don’t have the need to see it happen, but if people want to do it, I won’t be stopping them. I’d kick myself if I didn’t ask this last question. For a lot of us in a creative field, the pressures and outside distraction are enough to make a lot of stray over the years. You’ve gone through it all and keep on growing and getting better. I was just wondering why you think that is? How were you able to focus on the work and not let the business get you like so many others did? YOKO ONO: I really don’t know the answer to this. But I guess the fact that I’m moving on all the time, being super-active may be helping!

These remixes take the original punk inspired sound into a modern dance scene, I guess both really want to make you dance. What do you like to dance to these days? YOKO ONO: I dance to the wind, the sky, and the sun. We are all children of nature. I know you are someone who is always looking into the future, but I was wondering if there is something you’d like us to remember about Double Fantasy, because it still is an underrated record I feel. YOKO ONO: I think it was what we were then, but I don’t look back. Do you like to hear your voice in auto-tune?

LETTER TO JANE.COM

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Artist Interview Series Interview: Timothy Paul Moore

“Style is a obviously a huge part of rock and roll but to us, writing good songs is our job; that’s why we’re a band.”

W

hen Rich Girls came out there was not a person out there that didn’t have that song stuck in their head. My professors had it on their iPods, children I worked with were singing it, and lyrics were on at least a third of my friends Facebook status updates. While everyone was waiting for The Strokes to come back The Virgins took over and became THE example of New York rock and roll. With catchy hooks and a sound and attitude that led back to their in-

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fluences from 70’s clubs like CBGB and Max’s Kansas City. Their self titled album has been critically acclaimed and their live shows have gathered a large following. With such a great fan base I wanted to open up the chance to have their fans ask some questions so I teamed up with the culturally defining site LOOKBOOK.nu to let their community conduct the interview. Music and fashion has always gone hand in hand and is a large part of what Letter to Jane is all about.


The Virgins

If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would say to them? – Sasha S. NICK ACKERMAN: Wow, so many people. Maybe Van Gogh or James Jamerson or someone else who died unknown and penniless just to tell them how important to the world they’ve become. Or maybe Cleopatra or Helen of Troy to see if I (a modern man) would find them as beautiful as they we’ve mythologized them to be. What bands, past or present, are strong influences or give great inspiration to the music you all make together? – Chris F. NICK ACKERMAN: We love so many bands and listen to so much music but the main picks would be: The Rolling Stones, The Faces, Neil Young, Chuck Berry, The New York Dolls, David Bowie, and The Wu-Tang Clan. All the basics really. Do you think music can be used to create and effect wider social change? Are all of the genres and styles of music that branched off from each other in the 20th century making a reunification in sounds, and a fusion of different types of music? Are the Virgins a part of this? – Ellis D. NICK ACKERMAN: Can music make a difference? Sure. Of course a human thought or a human idea has the potential to make people see the world differently and therefore initiate social change blah blah blah, whether its in a speech, a law, or a song. Although it occurring in music in any substantial way is an extremely rare phenomenon. It’s happened with Robert Johnson, Elvis, Dylan, The Sex Pistols, Grandmaster Flash and Mellie Mel and that’s about it. And,Yes I do feel that in 2009 genres are less defined and more fluid than ever before; which is great. Its exciting to see people blending Motown with electronica or Folk music with punk rock. We definitely enjoyed a lot of genre mixing on this first record. What has been your favorite concert you’ve given so far? – Veronica G. NICK ACKERMAN: We’ve been very lucky to be given the opportunity to play some crazy and amazing shows. But I think our favorite will always be a benefit concert we played for the saint mark’s church which is on the block we live. The whole city turned up and it was like a mini festival in the courtyard and then us and a bunch of our friend’s bands played in the church and it was mayhem. I remember being up there and literally thinking “this is the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.” Does image play an important role in your band & do you believe your style should be just as relevant as your music? – Bombs NICK ACKERMAN: Style is a obviously a huge part of rock and roll but to us, writing good songs is our

job; that’s why we’re a band. After being “in public” for a couple of years now we’ve learned that we have very little control over our “image.” Listeners, the press, bloggers, and promoters basically decide who we “really are” and we don’t have the time or the inclination to go around correcting misconceptions. So I guess the answer to that question is no. In your song Fernando Pando, the lyrics say “kids I used to know that died now they’re not around I wonder what they think of life when they’re looking down.” Was there any personal inspiration for this beautiful lyric and what do you actually think they would gather from the lives we lead now? Do you think they would feel ashamed or proud of our generation? – Bethany G. NICK ACKERMAN: Well all three of us have lost young friends. Its something that is very hard to wrap your brain around: that this interesting, pretty girl or this amazing energetic guy that you loved has just vanished. In my opinion, when Donald asks “I wonder what they think of life when they’re looking down”it’s less of a literal question and more of a fantasy of his that they actually are “up there looking down” instead of just simply gone. The real question I think he’s asking is “what the hell happened to my friends? Where are they?” Aside from music, do you have any other creative talents? If so, do you feel that your other interests help you to make better music? – Ella W. NICK ACKERMAN: I don’t know about other talents but certainly other interests. We all love visual art and novels and movies and I think that plays a huge part in who we are and the music we make. What comes first for you, music or lyrics? How much input does each member of the band have when writing? – Sandy R. NICK ACKERMAN: We don’t really have a set song-writing formula. Songs will come from a riff one of us has come up with or a concept or a lyric or a jam. But Donald writes all of the lyrics. He keeps a notebook that he’s always writing in. Once we have something interesting musically he’ll then provide the lyrics. If you could only listen to one song, watch one movie, and eat one dish of food for the rest of your life, what would you choose? – Janny P. NICK ACKERMAN: Ugh. That’s an impossible question to answer. You’d get sick to death of any choice. So I guess I’ll say Days of Heaven for my movie; The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band, and an amazing Cheeseburger. How did you decide on the name ‘The Virgins’? – Elsa F. NICK ACKERMAN: We wanted a very simple name that was fun and ambiguous.

LETTER TO JANE.COM

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Artist Interview Series Photo: Sarah Wilmer Interview: Timothy Paul Moore

“They say you can find out a lot about yourself through your lyrics but I am still trying!”

W

hen I got the chance to interview Annie Hart, one of the members of the Indie-Pop band Au Revoir Simone, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I had to go from was her music so I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a person who was dark and moody or bright and cheerful. I first heard of Au Revoir Simone last year through a remix by The Teenagers of “Sad Song.” It was so cool I had to find the real album and once I got it I loved it a lot more than the remix. Their previous al-

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bum, “The Bird of Music” was smooth and full of energy. With their recent release “Still Night, Still Light” the Brooklyn based group keeps the same feeling of wonderment but surrounded by a darker, more mature sound. The lyrics are real and sincere, not the normal love/hate lyrics known in pop. It is one of the few albums out right now that blend great melody and craft with a sense of humor and wit.


Au Revoir Simone

Hello, I quickly took another listen to your latest album Still Night, Still Light and it has this amazing quality of feeling dark, and yet the vocals bring the songs back to this happy, dream like state. I guess I’d like to start off by asking, are you guys always so happy? ANNIE HART: No. I tend to wallow in sadness when I get the chance and am alone. What I love about Au Revoir Simone is the ability to have this air of whimsy and humor while being surrounded by a darker sound, it reminiscent of early punk bands such as Suicide or Talking Heads in a way. I was just wondering about in the early days, was there a discussion in the band about if you were going to be more pop or something a bit more raw? ANNIE HART: We just ended up being what we were and following our instincts. We all have different musical tastes and the result of our sound is a compromise. I’m interested in the early days of the band because finally taking that leap into a creative field can sometimes be scary and for some it just feels so natural. Were the early days more choppy or smooth? ANNIE HART: I don’t really remember, but when we played music it all felt psychic and natural. What is it about music that keeps you coming back? Where did that desire to put in all the work come from? ANNIE HART: I don’t know. I just have to. Now you are reaching new success and notoriety all the time and with that comes more work, travel, etc. What effect has this taken on your life such as family and friends? Is there still time for the career and a life outside of it? ANNIE HART: I miss everyone in my life so deeply, but when I am not on the road I miss those friends in other towns I’ve made along the way, so everything is a compromise.

ANNIE HART: Some of mine are like diary entries and others I still have no idea what I am trying to think of. They say you can find out a lot about yourself through your lyrics but I am still trying! I feel there is much more intensity on Still Night, Still Light compared to The Bird of Music. What was inspiring you during the production, where did this new intensity come from? ANNIE HART: We just tried to make the record sound on tape how it sounded in our heads when we were writing the songs. What is some music that is in your rotation at the moment? ANNIE HART: Uninhabitable Mansions, Peter Bjorn and John, Paper. Between the band’s name referencing Pee Wee Herman and being friends with David Lynch, I’m led to assume that you have a unique perspective on popular culture. What would the perfect film be for you? ANNIE HART: To watch? I like Rushmore, but I also enjoy lots more, I like Woody Allen movies. Au Revoir Simone’s music has a very cinematic quality to it to begin with, is there any possibilities of some film collaborations in the future? ANNIE HART: Please someone invite us to do this! What can we expect from Au Revoir Simone in the future? ANNIE HART: Your guess is as good as mine!

Were your family and friends a little more impressed when the band was featured on Grey’s Anatomy? ANNIE HART: YES! It definitely finally made me a legit musician and more relatable at family events. The lyrics on the Still Night, Still Light have a real personal quality to them as if you were having a one on one conversation. Where does that come from? Are they taken from specific events or do you feel more like you’re creating a story?

LETTER TO JANE.COM

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Artist Interview Series Photography: Steven Dewall Interview: Timothy Paul Moore

“I wouldn’t say that unless I believed it. If I was promoting The Mentalist, I would tell you season two of The Mentalist is a huge disappointment.”

M

any people are just now getting to see a rising star in the comedy world. Aziz Ansari has been making a name for himself for years now with his standup tours and his MTV show Human Giant, which he made with Ron Huebel, Paul Scheer, and Jason Woliner. Ansari is now reaching much bigger audiences in primetime as Tom Haverford, the slick assistant in NBC’s Parks and Recreation. You probably saw him in other shows as well such as ABC’s Scrubs and HBO’s Flight of the Conchords.

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This summer also saw Ansari take on the role of Randy, a young upstart comic in Judd Apatow’s Funny People. Ansari was one person I really wanted for Letter to Jane’s interview series, and if you’ve seen his standup before you know why. His timing and ability to react and improvise display a great natural talent. Ansari’s delivery and insights showcase his hard work and dedication. It was a pleasure to be able to talk with Ansari about his current projects and what the future has in store for him.


Aziz Ansari

Most people now know you as Tom Haverford, Amy Poehler’s sidekick in the NBC comedy, Parks and Recreations. Poehler recently commented that her character Leslie wasn’t necessarily dumb, but rather lacked charisma to get the job done. I was wondering if you could describe your character Tom to us? AZIZ ANSARI: I think he’s smart and knows the game, but he’s kind of an idiot in social ways. He also loves the ladies, but is maybe a little overeager and puts himself at risk of sexual harassment lawsuits on a regular basis. Parks and Recreation just started it’s second season and the reviews have been good, most notably for starting to include social issues instead of just focusing on the pit which was the main plot of last season. Is this a sign of a new direction for the show? AZIZ ANSARI: No, I think in general the show is just finding itself more. If you watch any great sitcoms like Seinfeld, The Office, or whatever, you notice the show takes a while to really figure out what it is. I think with all the hype around our show, we were under a magnifying glass from the get go. Bottom line, season two is great and much stronger than season one. I wouldn’t say that unless I believed it. If I was promoting The Mentalist, I would tell you season two of The Mentalist is a huge disappointment. With the introduction of new shows and the return of Jay Leno, do you feel any pressure from NBC or do you feel you’ll be given time to grow just as the other shows such as 30 Rock or The Office had? AZIZ ANSARI: We got a second season, so I feel like the network is behind us. You wrote on your MTV show Human Giant, are there any chances of you picking up the pen again for Parks? AZIZ ANSARI: Perhaps, right now I’m pretty lazy though. The writers are great about hearing out our ideas and we also improvise and rewrite on set sometimes, so for now I’m content with my input. I want to ask you about Judd Apatow’s Funny People. Your character Randy seemed to represent everything that’s wrong in standup. What were some of those things in stand up right now that you orApatow wanted to satirize with this character? AZIZ ANSARI: It was never really a calculated attack on standup. I just liked the notion of a guy with a Soulja Boy-like demeanor being a standup. Hence the DJ, the catchphrases, endless merchandising, etc. Randy to me is a guy who saw a Def Jam special and went – oh that’s easy; I’ll jump around and yell about my dick. I don’t think all those Def Jam guys stink by any means, but I can see someone watching that and thinking standup is much easier than it actually is.

have any hand in these? AZIZ ANSARI: Myself and Jason Woliner (director from Human Giant) wrote them. Jason directed and Judd was an Executive Producer on it. He trusted us to make it good and I think we pulled it off. You still do stand up regularly; do you still include Randy into the mix? AZIZ ANSARI: I’m doing standup a lot to try to put together a new act before my standup special, Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening, comes out in January on Comedy Central. Right now, no Randy in the mix, but I’m not opposed to bringing him out in the future. I need to write a new Aziz act before I write a new Randy one! Is there going to be another stand up tour to follow up your Glow in the Dark tour? And how did you get Kanye to let you use the name of his tour, because you guys weren’t friends at the time right? AZIZ ANSARI: I hope I can do another tour. It’s hard with our filming schedule. I just called Kanye and asked him and he said he thought it was funny and was cool with it. I used to work at a music studio and my friends and I somehow always wound up debating over some facet of Kanye’s life. It’s kind of sad because it wasn’t cool things like girls, parties, cars etc, but more about lame domestic things, like what it’s like just being friends with the guy. So is he the kind of guy you go grab a pizza and rent a Will Ferrell movie or when you’re around Kanye is it like a music video? (Side note: I have money on this depending on your answer). AZIZ ANSARI: The times I’ve hung out with him, we’ve always been on a hovercraft with a bunch of models and champagne. Thank you, I want to end the interview by asking if you could talk about your upcoming film, Get Him to the Greek and your role in the film. AZIZ ANSARI: Sure. First off, that movie is going to be hilarious. Russell Brand plays his character from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Aldous Snow, and Jonah Hill plays a guy who works at a record label that has to get him from London to LA to do a show at the Greek. It’s a really hard hitting road comedy that they are going to knock out of the park. Myself and Nick Kroll (along with a few other comedy buddies of ours) play Jonah’s co-workers. It’s a small part, but it was really fun. Our boss, Sergio, is played by none other than Sean“P. Diddy”Combs and he killed. Thank you for talking with us, congrats and good luck on the new season. AZIZ ANSARI: Ok, I’m going to go make some oatmeal now, thanks for the interview!

Were those mini-documentaries you made for the Randy character all your doing or did have Apatow LETTER TO JANE.COM

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Artist Interview Series Photography and Interview by Timothy Paul Moore

“...it was really important to show everyone that only knew us from ‘Young Folks’ that we were a weird little band that you can’t really pin-point down.”

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o here I am in this small music hall in NE Portland waiting for Peter Bjorn and John to come on stage. I wasn’t sure what I was about to see. The fact is that they’re taking a break from their national tour with Depeche Mode to play for us in the Hawthorne District on a Tuesday, not the most inspired of nights. Then, they walked on stage and performed one of the greatest shows I had ever seen. It was a wake up call to what I had been used to seeing at concerts. It’s rare these days to be able to see a band with this much polish and talent, so close and up front. This could have been one of those shows where they could just phone it in. After all this 34

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is a pretty small market for a band that became pop culture sensations with their hit “Young Folks” and have quite a vocal fan club of A-list celebrities including Kanye West, Drew Barrymore, The Ting Tings, and so on. Well I found out that night that Peter Bjorn and John isn’t a typical band and treated this night and all of us in the room as if we were all on the A-list. It was this same generosity and kindness that I found when I was talking with the band after the show. It was a real pleasure to discuss in depth with Peter Morèn about the tour, their music, and what the future holds for Peter Bjorn and John.


Peter Bjorn & John

I’d like to start out by asking how the tour is going? How has touring with Depeche Mode been so far? PETER MORÈN: It’s been really good and Depeche’s fans really seem to like us. They dance and cheer! You guys have such an extensive catalogue now, how much of the lesser-known songs get exposure on tour. Does any material from Seaside Rock get played at shows? PETER MORÈN: During the opening slots for Depeche we don’t have time to play that many songs, so we focus on “Living Thing” and a couple of older ones. At our own shows obviously the set list is more extensive and eclectic. We play some songs from our first 2, not so well-known albums and quite a few from “Writers Block”, but “Seaside Rock” is hard, since the melodies are built on weird instruments like flutes, saxophones, steel drums and violins rather than vocals. We did one show in Stockholm were we only played “Seaside Rock”, but then we invited some extra musicians and a lot of kids from a local music school, to get the right naive-feel to the set, it shouldn’t be too professional or perfect since we ourselves on the album play stuff that we really can’t master. It was a night to remember! Some people said it was the best we’d ever done, some fans left angry! Your fourth album Seaside Rock kind of went by the wayside here in the States, but I have to say it is still one of my favorite albums of the past couple years. Were you met with any resistance with releasing what is essentially an instrumental album after the huge pop success of the previous album Writer’s Block? PETER MORÈN: Thank you! That’s nice to hear. It’s definitively one of my absolute favorites of ours as well. I think a lot of people (including our labels) got confused by that album. But for us it was really important to show everyone that only knew us from “Young Folks” that we were a weird little band that you can’t really pin-point down. We like it like that! Having said that, I think the record is very accessible, listenable, and melodic. It just doesn’t have vocals (it has whistling though!) For us it was really good to get back in the studio after all the touring with “Writers Block” and do something spontaneous and experimental without a lot of expectations. Just playing around in the studio. It also was really influential on “Living Thing”, some of the more rhythmical reggae/funk things. Also we paid tribute to our hometowns by including narratives in local Swedish dialects that not even

Stockholders can understand. On “Eriks Fishing Trip” my grandfather tells a fishing tale. Living Thing really seems to showcase each individual’s tastes and influences on each track while still feeling cohesive. I read that you guys made mix tapes for each other at the beginning of production. How did that process help set the tone? PETER MORÈN: It was really helpful to create a frame around the songs and a cohesive feeling to the record. We all write separately and then get together to arrange and produce the songs, so a lot can change and happen with a song after that first draft. We make PBJ-songs rather than just a Peter-song or John-song. But as you said we have different styles and tastes. I was worried putting together these mix cds, thinking we would all clash and want to do different records, but we all put on things that fitted well together. There was a lot of 80’s music from our childhood, like some synth (Depeche was on there! OMD too!) And mainstream acts like Paul Simon and Fleetwood Mac. So we really strayed towards something more hi-fi, sparkling champangy, retro-futuristic sci-fi and those effects they used at that time that made the music sound more glamorous. But there was also a lot of African percussion music, Brazilian 70’s pop, some rockabilly, reggae and funk and new wave and early hiphop, and I think you can hear it all in there. It’s all about the sound and arrangement. Two of the songs we wrote during “Writers Block”. “I Want You” then sounded very much like The Shins and “It Don’t Move Me” like a mid-60’s Kinks song (like “Til The End Of The Day”), since we were in a more classic guitar pop-frame of mind then I reckon. At the same time it was the lessis-more approach of “Young Folks”, “The Chills” and “Amsterdam” that kind of set the minimalist direction for this album. They are all more drum and bass-driven than the rest of “Writers Block” and almost has no guitar. So it was just a

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continuation of that, which makes it weird when people say that “Living Thing” must be a chock to “Young Folks” fans, when actually its much closer to “Young Folks” then most of the “Writers Block” songs or the albums that came before. There is also a lot of guitar on “Living Thing” it’s just played in a more rhythmical, less conventional way; influenced by soul, funk and African guitar playing. After all the years you guys have been together, the way you all communicate and collaborate between each other has to have gone through some changes. What are some of those changes and how have they changed the way you guys create? PETER MORÈN: The biggest change was when John started to write songs during “Writers Block”. That’s when the band became totally democratic. Before that, me and Bjorn wrote the songs, Bjorn produced, I sang, and John drummed. Now we all write, all sing (even though I still sing 80 %), and all produce and play all kinds of stuff. It makes for really unique music, but it can also be stressful and hard on relationships. That’s why we need our solo projects and that’s why we will hire an outside producer for our next album. But it’s great that we are not locked into a classic rock-band format. We are on stage, which is great, but in the studio it’s better to be playful and swap around instruments and ideas. From listening to the very clever song, “Blue Period Picasso” I wondered what other mediums influenced the band’s music? PETER MORÈN: I’m glad you like it! Based on a true experience, (wink). Anything inspires us really, mostly relationships and everyday life’s pros and cons. But we all like a good art museum now and then. Movies. I used to study film earlier. Reading. Anything attached with words inspires me and makes me want to write. Walking in new places and cities. Checking out architecture. As you see, anything and everything! Could you give us some idea of what the next couple of years hold in store for Peter Bjorn and John? Whether it is solo or group projects? PETER MORÈN: In the near future, at least 4 more shorter tours for “Living Thing” in the fall and spring, in Europe, the States and maybe Australia. Next year we will hopefully put out an ep with some great songs we started during “Living Thing” but didn’t finish, and we are talking about the next album as well. As I said, outside producer for the first time. It’s gonna be more punky,

back to the power-pop roots, that’s the idea anyway, we’ll see what happens. I have a new project with some Swedish friends called Tutankamon. We will put out an album in October, but just in Scandinavia for now. I’m also working on my second solo album. It will be in Swedish, so it’s a very different project from everything else I’ve done so far, but I’m very excited by it. It sounds sometimes a bit folky, sometimes like vintage soul, Stax/Motown, very groovy! But in Swedish! I also have started to write some songs for and with other artists but nothing is released yet. Bjorn also writes for others and continues producing for other artists, like the next Lykke Li record. John has his solo project Hortlax Cobra and also plays with the very good band Holiday For Strings that have a new record coming soon I think. Very quickly I wanted to ask you about the music videos for Living Thing. They are very unique and definitely fit the sense of humor that’s on the album. Could you give us some background on the thought process or early ideas that became these great videos? PETER MORÈN: We didn’t want to participate in the videos ourselves, and we wanted to incorporate weird dancing in all of them. “Lay It Down” is directed by our friend Sandra Fröberg and we wanted it to look like a high school disco in a basement in the 80’s, with a VHS-look to it. The creepy part is all the dancers are wearing masks of our faces with different make up and hair. That makes it both very creepy and funny. “Nothing To Worry About” was directed by Andreas Nilsson while on a trip to Tokyo. He saw these greaser-biker-gangs dancing to rockabilly in the parks during the weekend and thought it was a great idea to make a mini-documentary about them.“It Don’t Move Me” was also done by Andreas and follows Markus who is a 16-yearold Michael Jackson fan from Gothenburg, who dances like his idol. When we did the video we had no idea Michael would pass away so soon, so that’s a bit creepy. We brought Markus on stage with us for a Swedish festival and the crowd loved him.

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MARIANNE RENOIR A STORY ALL MIXED UP PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY PAUL MOORE


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About a year ago my mother gave me three rusty boxes for my birthday. Upon opening them I found that inside lay some amazing photographic slides from some man’s travels in the 1950’s. I tried to find out where they may have come from but it was no use. As my mother put it, she stopped at some random garage sale and out of the corner of her eye she saw a couple metal boxes laying in the man’s garden.The man didn’t really know where they came from and had picked them up from another sale years earlier. A little discouragd I started the task of trying to restore these gorgeous images as most of the film was dirty, cracked, and the colors were fading. As I began this process I soon stopped caring about the real story behind them and just started to enjoy them for what they were, a window into a world that no longer exists. It no longer mattered what this unknown photographer was thinking while taking these images, it only mattered what I took away for them.What I have shown you is not the entire collection, nor is it a finished project.What I have shown is a complete thought, a complete picture, a complete viewpoint. There is no telling what these photographs originally meant, but it’s not hard to come up with a new meaning today. 50

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The Unkown Photographer

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THE NEXT DAY...


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AMERICAN YOUTH STORY BY TIMOTHY PAUL MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY BY HEDI SLIMANE American Youth is a DVD collection from MK2 and Hedi Slimane featuring films from Nicolas Ray, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Michelangelo Antonioni, Gus Van Sant, and more. You can find this collection at dvd.mk2.com/fr/produit_44_mk2_53435.php

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In November MK2, the French film company, proposed Hedi Slimane a carte blanche. Slimane selected eleven movies (ten filmmakers) under the theme of “American Youth”. The films are illustrated with Slimane’s signature photography that adds a modern day chapter to the collection. As I was revisiting many of these films again over the weekend I was struck with how many great films I forgot about that had slipped by the wayside. The collection is a film buff’s cinematheque fantasy with rare and famous films from over four decades interweaving themes and imagery to create a definitive landscape of one of Hollywood’s biggest staples, the concept of youth. As I was watching Francis Ford Coppola’s criminally underrated Rumble Fish, (which also seems to compliment Slimane’s own style closely), I was fascinated with the whole mind set of living for the moment; that life was over by the time you were twenty one. It brought up the question of just why youth is such a compelling topic for Hollywood? After all these years our culture’s fascination with American youth is just getting stronger. Between Rebel Without a Cause to Zabriskie Point I realize that the fascination with youth is that the older we get the more we learn from our mistakes, but when you’re young you haven’t made the mistakes, you just live. To live with the knowledge that you will make mistakes but still choose to live is the best source of drama a person can have.The sense that the world can end at any moment that faces the characters in these films is as frightening as it is exhilarating. Another way to look at it is that it’s just great cinema. 70

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Artist Interview Series Photography: Alex Antitch Interview: Timothy Paul Moore

Gary Graham Gary Graham’s collection was one of the shining moments of New York Fashion Week this past September. With “Fashion’s Night Out” starting off the week, the question of how the economy would effect fashion loomed over almost every show, Graham being one of the few exceptions. The CFDA/Vogue ‘09 Fund finalist put out a collection that referenced past Americana while showing us how to dress modern. I’ve always been interested as to how a designer at this level works. They live in a middle ground where they have to play the role of historian and psychic at both times. To be honest to your inspiration, present a product that is culturally relevant, and to be an expert craftsman, all in an ever changing environment is nothing short of amazing and something that honestly fascinates me. With all the economic worry that surrounds the creative industry right now, it’s artists like Gary Graham who show that one’s vision and concept rises above it all. It’s always great to meet someone who you know could make something interesting whether they have a budget of 5 dollars or 5,000 dollars.

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Every fashion review always uses the term “(insert designer’s name)’s woman is…” So what is the Gary Graham woman like? GARY GRAHAM: She has a casual approach to glamour and definitely likes to mix disparate styles together. She has a history of Goth and punk but sort of keeps it on the back burner and expresses it in a more rustic sort of way. How has your idea of that woman changed over the years? GARY GRAHAM: I once did a show where I divided the collection into three women: a scientist, a farmer living off the land, and an isolated society lady. I think I always sort of mix these three together but now its become more precise and refined and not so aggressive. With your Spring 2010 RTW collection, there seemed to be a big influence from silent films with a sort of Lillian Gish type of muse. What were some of the inspirations behind this collection? GARY GRAHAM: Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon was a huge influence on me as a kid. Our library had a copy of the sequel, which had the photos of the Black Dahlia that I would stare at. There are some stills, which I referenced for this collection, of Anger appearing with Lillian Gish in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I wanted to think about women from two generations coming together, one at the end of her life and one just starting out. I also found this photo of Imogene Coco after a performance with her head down. Her posture was so different from how I remembered her on television shows, where she always seemed so up and crazy. It was the downtime of Imogene that I was trying to capture. What would you say is your approach to fashion? GARY GRAHAM: There is a transformation that happens with

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Tallulah Bankhead’s character in Life Boat, not just in her wardrobe but within her, when she uses her diamond bracelet as fishing lure. It’s a moment of letting go. I think that was a big influence on me, seeing glamour torn apart or worn, either by weather or life circumstances. I sometimes look at the creation process as making problems and then finding the answers through the work you create. What are some problems in fashion you like to answer with your collection? GARY GRAHAM: I often work from narratives or scenarios. For next fall I am working on constructing a Masonic order of women in Pennsylvania who controlled all the building of the roads. I am also thinking about the story of the Fox sisters, who were famous 19th-century mediums. So the problem is connecting them all with research. The research has me thinking about the history of librarians and how their roles have changed in the digital age. I’ve been talking to librarians and getting their views on the way information is being accessed and the Dewey Decimal System, so this will create ideas and new problems. For example, this might raise the question what do the librarians and the masons have to do with each other? Were they enemies or did they work together? Also, if the women masons of Pennsylvania controlled the roads, how did the politics between the men and the women play out? I can imagine women masons stitching the roadways into their quilts and then somehow they would materialize, like sorcery. When was it that you felt like you understood fashion, that it was what you wanted to do? GARY GRAHAM: I think in high school I figured out the transformative power clothing can have, especially in relation to the physi-

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cal and emotional changes one goes through in those years. I feel like I’m only really getting it now, in terms of the big picture. Which really just goes back to that DEVO song, We’re Through Being Cool. I was doing some performance type work in college and realized there was a discipline to fashion that I loved. The reality of selling things I made was also attractive. I was excited by the idea of creating a garment and it then being worn in the “real world” – the theater that happens out on the street at 2 a.m. in the pouring rain. How did you get your start in the business? GARY GRAHAM: I started in a basement on West Broadway and sold out of a store called Shack. It was owned by J. Morgan Puett, who is now just working on her artwork but she was a big influence on me in terms of fabric manipulation and garment dyeing. You just opened your flagship store in Tribeca, how’s the response been so far? GARY GRAHAM: It has been very interesting. We do not advertise so it’s all by word of mouth, neighborhood men and women, we just started a few men’s pieces, and customers that buy our clothes in other cities, and from our boutique inside ABC Carpet and Home. For me it’s really like having guerilla research. You get direct feedback and it’s all very exciting. We are planning many events in the new space, everything from dance performances to film. I am currently working with my friend Liz Collins on a sock monkey terror film that will coincide with her sock monkey sweaters. On the business side, the response has been great. The economy has been a big topic in fashion lately and I felt some of the recent collections at New York Fashion Week seemed to reflect that with a more consumer, commercial friendly apparel. As a


designer how much do economic factors go into your thought process when designing a collection? GARY GRAHAM: There are different economic factors. One is the overall health of a company in terms of cash flow and then the details of margins, profit, and volume. They all affect budgets, which then allow or constrain the amount of money you get to spend on development. So this could come down to being able or not being able to buy a certain lace or beading or leather. It does not ever effect my initial inspiration or concept, which is ultimately free. No one is going to say I cannot be inspired by a Masonic woman who was a witch in Pennsylvania in 1840 but we can say as a company that maybe the apron I designed that was inspired by her with intricate lace work on it is not going to retail for under 1200 and therefore we are not going to sell very many and maybe you should think of something else in addition to this item. That’s sort of how it works. The trick is not letting the two extremes; the sellable pieces and the collection pieces cancel each other out into a void.

“It’s a moment of letting go. I think that was a big influence on me, seeing glamour torn apart or worn, either by weather or life circumstances.”

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There have been many complaints that fashion weeks are becoming too much about entertainment instead of design. How do you feel about the current state of fashion? GARY GRAHAM: Fashion along with everything else is moving so fast that its inevitable there will be a new medium that comes out of all of this. I think DIY fashion is going to take the place of so much. It would be great if home ec became relevant in a new way, reconnecting us to the physical act of making things. I think what Alice Waters is doing with slow food could be done with fashion, if only in terms of making a connection between human labor and the end product, or at the very least an appreciation of quality.

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Band of Outsiders

For a moment let’s not look at fashion in the way we usually do. Let’s not focus on the appearance but why they appear. When we do that each piece of clothing stops being just another layer and becomes it’s own separate thought, and an outfit becomes an entire conversation.

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This is not just a simple exercise in semiotics, but this does dabble in the postmodern.This is closer to the views of Duchamp rather than Pollock, Godard rather than Coppola.

Most usually stop at critiquing a designer to their references, but that strips away anything substantial from the product and more importantly, it assumes the designer is artistically impotent who can only think so far as to recreate what they’ve seen before.

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For each piece of apparel has it’s own iconic history. The blazer, the khaki, the polo shirt, and even blue jeans all have their own story that designers over the years have retold to fit their own story.

Band of Outsiders understated quality is Scott Sternberg’s view towards fashion. Just as a film is a collection of shots, each one by itself with no real meaning until a director pieces them together to create a complete thought, so is Sternberg’s approach to fashion. There are many great fashion designers but Sternberg is one of the few that can be called a “Fashion Auteur” and a masterful at that.

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Artist Interview Series Photography: Ed Templeton Interview: Timothy Paul Moore

NO AGE

We all have the conversation with friends…who’s the better band. One person will argue how this person is more talented, and another will argue how nobody can play that instrument like they do.Then one person brings up the “it factor” and everyone shuts up. It ruins every debate, it can’t be fully described and it can’t be denied, some people just have “it.” The common misconception is that the ones where creativity comes easy, live life easy, where they sit around and let genius come to them while everyone else does the work. That may happen somewhere, but I’ve never heard of it. As Dean Spunt of No Age said it in the interview below, “The easier it gets, the harder we work,” and they do work hard. No Age’s fame has been skyrocketing since their release of their sophomore album, Nouns in 2008. Their beautiful blend of punk rock put them on top of every critic’s top lists, getting press from every top publication, and even a Grammy nomination for their amazing 68 page, full color booklet that came with the cd. With all that success the band still has the same DIY mind set they always had.They book the shows, they drive themselves, they make shirts, posters, etc. For all their success, it is only equal to the amount of work they put into their craft and it shows. Members Dean Spunt and Randy Randall are just as well known for their music as they are for their honesty about their views and their craft.Whether or not you like their music, they are a band where you cannot deny their “it factor.”Their work ethic and attitude is a model for all creative people to learn from which is why I was so grateful for Dean Spunt to be able to take some time away from their busy tour to do an interview. 80

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Last I checked, you guys just finished playing in Japan, how were the shows? What kind of venues did you play? DEAN SPUNT: The trip was epic. We played two shows one in Tokyo, and the other in Osaka. The venues were pretty normal rock type venues, but very cool. It seemed difficult to go the DIY route; it translates different over there. You guys always seem to play at these great locations when you tour. For instance, whenever you come to Portland it seems that your show is at some really cool place that I didn’t know about and I’m from the area. How do you guys find these places, or decide where to play (like playing by rivers, bridges, etc)? DEAN SPUNT: We try and do our research, ask around and see what the fun place is, or the unexplored. That whole process is more fun for us and we hope more fun for people in the audience. It is a balance of trying to keep pushing boundaries but also not being too exclusive so that the dude working in an office that likes us can see us play as well as the punker. At shows you’re well known for your accessibility. Because of that I assume you must get more demo cd’s from fans than most bands. Do you have the time to listen to all of that music and are there any of those acts I should know about? DEAN SPUNT: Wow, yeah I never thought why, but we do get a lot of demos and stuff. We try and listen to all of it, there is a lot of good stuff out there and I always encourage people to make demos. It is a long leap from making music to making a demo, so that is pretty awesome. Well, I got a WAVVES demo in my mailbox one day, a long time ago… a band MARIA was good… a lot of good stuff. When I was younger I remember one of the biggest things about concerts was the build up and ex-

pectation of seeing a band. When you were a teenager, what were you hoping for when you went to a concert? Do you think you live up to that at your shows? DEAN SPUNT: I would hope so, or even more. Like, we think about that stuff all the time, putting on a good show, it gets a little difficult with just two of us because there is so much we want to do, it gets a little hectic. But yeah, we try to live up to the image in our heads. When I was a kid I was just in awe of anyone on stage, or when I was 16 and went to The Smell for the first time, on the floor. I know you know this but No Age has some of the best fans I’ve ever seen, the only reason I got into your music is because of your fans insisting that I needed to, and they were right. Weirdo Rippers was great and I think Nouns is a masterpiece. What are some of the grandest gestures your fans have shown you? DEAN SPUNT: Thanks, that is great to hear. Fans are always coming up and telling us how our records are so good, and the shows, and actually people have turned vegan because of reading interviews we did… it is very flattering and we are still getting used to it. People have made us vegan cookies, let us sleep on their floors, got a pinata made for us etc. You recently did a new score for the film “The Bear” for the Seattle International Film Festival. How did that project come to be and is there any chance for a DVD release? I’d love to see it. DEAN SPUNT: We were throwing around the idea to do a live score for a long time; it was really pushed by Randy to get us to do one. We put the word out and the Seattle Film Festival invited us to perform. It was great fun; we also did it at Cinefamily here in LA and are going to be doing it at the New Museum in NYC in October. I am not sure if anything will be released, we have been recording each show

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though. You usually make music for yourself, what was it like switching it up and writing music for something that already existed? DEAN SPUNT: It was fun. The main difference was the length, it’s a 94-minute film, we are only used to playing for about 50 minutes max, and so it was a different kind of thing. It was really fun and exciting to get to make that much live music. Your new EP, “Losing Feeling” is out now. What is the response you’ve received and what are your thoughts on the new record? DEAN SPUNT: I have only heard positive things; I think it is good; it is just a small sketch, a four song EP before we release a full-length album. I like to listen to it; we go in some different areas, which is always exciting. We have been writing a bunch of songs for a new record, those were some songs we thought would be good together as a foursong thing. The lyrics feel like a look back on your past or a retrospective on youth at least. Is this somewhat accurate or am I reading too much into it, (which isn’t uncommon by the way)? DEAN SPUNT: Ha, it’s whatever you want it to be, they are songs about losing feeling in one way or another, and they are also love songs, especially “Target” and “Genie.” Losing Feeling has a darker sort of growing, expanding vibe to it... Can “Losing Feeling” be considered it’s own record or can we look at this as a taste of what the next LP will be like? DEAN SPUNT: Losing Feeling is its own EP, not to say that the next record won’t have similar moments, but it was meant to be four songs that flowed and existed together. The songs for the new record so far are unique in ways a can’t de-

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scribe… I am really excited. The first thing critics talk about is your cleaner, more mature sound. I was wondering, is there still a sense of novelty to recording still like when you first started cutting demos? DEAN SPUNT: Well, we have gotten used to recording, we are more comfortable writing and getting songs down on record and we are always getting closer to the sounds that we want. To me the new stuff just sounds and feels natural. Sometimes I go back and check out our EP stuff, like Weirdo Rippers and realize how different it is, but it really is the same thing to me. They all hit the same line in my head, it all sounds pretty progressive and pretty and catchy and simple. No Age are known as road war-

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riors, what are the tour plans for the year? DEAN SPUNT: Ha, we are TRYING to take it easy for the rest of the year. We got some East Coast and Euro stuff in mid October and after that we are writing and recording and experimenting until early ‘10. Ok, to end the interview I want to change it up a little. One of the reasons I wanted to do this interview is because your attitude towards your art. Unlike a lot people who say one thing and do another, you guys have become famous for just saying what you do. You have found success by creating what you wanted and being honest with your fans. I wanted to ask you some questions from my position as a young artist, still making the transition from college to professional life. A lot of my readers (self included)

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are young, creative professionals who have to learn the ropes kind of on the fly without much access to advice. I want to stop asking you questions as No Age but just as guys who were able to make their work into a success. DEAN SPUNT: Well, as an artist it is important to just make and create. So many times I meet people who ask us about making music or art and asking us how to get started in music and that should never be a question. You just start. Make as much as you can so you get good at your craft and just go from there and don’t stop. The avenues, whatever they are will open themselves up to you, but get out there and do your thing super hard. We ate slept and breathed No Age from the inception. I made art posters, text and silk screened and shirts long before our first show, I had no money so


I stole the photocopies and did as much stuff for free as I could and didn’t want money, because money is what makes us lazy. It is funny our first show we made our own shirts and sold them for $3. I was just proud of the design and wanted people to have them and gave them out, just exercising the ideas and creating and practicing. Our first thing was a DVD-R with video art kinda stuff, you know, we just kept running and making stuff and never questioned it. If we thought it was good, then it was good ya know? You have to believe in your thing more than anyone. One of the biggest things I had to learn out of college was effective self-promotion, getting my product into the right hands. What kind of strategies did you have in the beginning? How much did having a community like The Smell help? DEAN SPUNT: We used design strategies at first; text being so universal is essentially the best tool, and understanding the needs and wants of our audience. Like for instance, shirts are kind of whatever, ya know? Just cotton, BUT kids love them, fans love them. So we decided to flip it around and just use huge text, like an obvious NO – NO to most people IS self promotion, it can be easily misread as being desperate, but we used it to our advantage… it seemed fairly obvious to me because you buy a shirt from a band you love to show off that you like them, so it just made sense. Another thing was after the DVD we wanted to put out the 5 ep’s and the idea behind that was these songs, we recorded 20 or so, were too many as a record and didn’t work as one piece, but broken up into sections they were more powerful and a step further was getting five different labels to release them. This made a bigger impact because it was 5 small releases all over the world instead of one record in one part. So ideas are the most important thing, and then having good art to back it up, a win-win combo.

Half of my day is spent working with special needs children. One of the things I like about working with kids is that I don’t have to think about me or my career for a while, I kind of get to live life at their pace which is at a different rhythm from mine and it’s really taught me how to manage my time and not get caught up in things. Now that you are in the music business full time, how do you find your breaks? How do you find ways to manage your time and refresh? DEAN SPUNT: Well, this is my life; I am here all day every day. I do take vacations and days without the computer and cell phone and stuff, but music and ideas are always there, I won’t take a vacation from them. My younger brother is a special needs kid, and when I was younger I managed a baseball team for special kids, it is still one of the biggest accomplishments in my life, so kudos to you. I’m approaching the point where I can be a full time artist and it’s very exciting but I’ve been cautious about it because I feel like the transition should feel more organic than it does. I know transitions are different for everyone, but I was wondering if you could describe that transition from having a day job to being able to make a life out of art and music? DEAN SPUNT: Well, I definitely do more work now than I ever have before. When I had a job I just did music every moment I wasn’t working, now I run a label and do the band full time, and I am always working, but I love it, I love to work. It is awesome to get to do the stuff I love and make money at it, but Randy and I were talking about this just yesterday as we were driving home from the airport. The easier it gets, the harder we work, and we are at this point because we work hard; because we silk-screen the posters, book the tickets, drive ourselves to the airport, we manage ourselves ya know? We just try and work as hard

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as we can because we love to, and we work cheaper than anyone else we know, ha ha. You are involved in a lot of other things besides music. You have your hands in fashion, art, design, etc. You get to see and work with a lot of different creative types. What do you think the great ones that you’re around and influence you have in common? DEAN SPUNT: I have noticed that most people we really like to work with have a similar work ethic, and love for what they do. Like Brian Roettinger, who we collaborate on design stuff with, we can easily sit there for 12 hours messing with stuff, the ideas never stop ya know? Working with Altamont on catalogs and clothing stuff is fun for us as well; we get to exercise that part of our brain. What mistakes do you often see people make when trying to find success? DEAN SPUNT: Just that, trying to find success instead of trying to make mistakes, we like to make mistakes so we can learn how to fix them. Ok well the last question is kind of random but right before I started this I heard that some old punk legends like John Doe from the band X has an album of country covers out and Iggy Pop is releasing an album of jazz covers. What American music tribute will you do when you get old? DEAN SPUNT: Ha, well I can’t say for certain, maybe the American Noise Scene, that would be a fun concept record. Well it was great talking thank you. DEAN SPUNT: Thanks man, keep it up.

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Artist Interview Series

Photo: Bruke Getachew & Timothy Paul Moore Interview: Timothy Paul Moore

FOOL’S GOLD

One of the things that I look forward to each year is that I know there are going to be a couple bands out there that just catch me by surprise and blow me away, this year Fool’s Gold has been one of them. As a critic I’m supposed to be able to break down and analyze why I like something but there’s just so much here that it would be futile to compartmentalize this music. Flowing horns, a driving rhythm, and a hypnotic guitar and vocal melody just instantly put you into a groove. There’s also something else in the music that can’t be translated by any single element. It comes when so many people come together and start playing. Music comes in many different and exciting forms, but there’s really something to be said about a live band. Each person bringing their unique take on the music and weaving it all together live, in front of you, will always be a real treat to me.These are just some of the thoughts I had when I was watching Fool’s Gold run through their sound check right before their performance that night. For how much fun their music is, it doesn’t just happen. There I watched them diligently work to get what would seem like a small thing to you and me to sound just right. Afterwards I was thrilled to be able to sit down with members Luke Top and Lewis Pesacov and discuss music, influences, and their home town Los Angeles. 84

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I shouldn’t start out with this question because it’s the quickest way to insult someone, but are you guy’s ok with the term jam band? LUKE TOP: Don’t worry we don’t insult easily, if people are into jam bands and to us then that’s great. LEWIS PESACOV: I’m ok with it, I’m not as scared of it as some other bands are. I mean, don’t electronic bands jam? Because some of their songs go on for ten minutes but people don’t call them jam bands. LUKE TOP: The guitar is what makes people associate it with jam music. LEWIS PESACOV: Yeah but I don’t think we sound like Phish. We’re more of a dance band than a jam band… but I do like to jam (laughs) Ok well watching sound check It reminded me of my old office job where the first part of the day was just getting through paper work, is sound check like your paperwork? LUKE TOP: No it’s still fun. There are elements of stress that come into it when you’re not familiar with the room, but the whole point is to play music, so after driving all day a sound check feels really good. LEWIS PESACOV: Yeah, you dial everything in during sound check so you can just enjoy yourself when you play. LUKE TOP: It’s like doing the paperwork and then getting your paycheck right after. (laughs) So it’s been hard for me to figure out exactly how many people are in the band. Is there a set number of people because I see there’s seven people here tonight but I’ve heard of numbers like ten or twelve. LEWIS PESACOV: Traditionally in LA we’ve been twelve, but this is the first tour where we’ve started to whittle it down and this might be the beginning of us becoming a seven-piece band. I think we’re really enjoying having some consistency.

Before there generally wasn’t much consistency, kind of a free for all. LUKE TOP: The beautiful thing about this band is we’re capable of changing up the numbers when needed, but it’s rarely twelve, we really only do that in Los Angeles, LEWIS PESACOV: I really love having four guitars; it’s completely indulgent I know. Everyone in the band also has other projects going on, how do you even manage to get twelve people in the same room? LUKE TOP: We’ve been blessed with the fact that people kept coming to rehearsals and kept playing at the shows. There was never any formal discussion or pressure put on anyone. These days there’s really just the question of, “Okay, so who wants to go on tour?” So how many musicians are featured on the album? LEWIS PESACOV: Everyone and then some were on the record. Honestly, I think there were probably seventeen people at one point. That’s certainly more than I thought. LEWIS PESACOV: Well I was thinking about this the other day, there’s this band from the Congo that I love called The Kasai Allstars. They have like twenty people in their band and I was just thinking, “Damn, that’s cool.” Speaking of that, the first thing I ever read about Fool’s Gold is the African influence. Do you feel that there is too much focus on one particular influence because there are definitely others in your music. LUKE TOP: You can’t deny the fact that it’s a definite part of our sound, but it would be somewhat limiting to just say we’re an African band. At the same time there are a lot of other factors at play. All of us with have very specific, different backgrounds and we bring different things from that into the music. LEWIS PESACOV: I mean it de-

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pends what people want to say about the band. Because if they want to sum it up in one word they can do that, but if they want to delve into the songs and want to talk about the songs then there’s way more than people can say. LUKE TOP: The influences are there and we’re not trying to hide that. LEWIS PESACOV: Far from it. LUKE TOP: We love this music and we want to expose people to it. We filter the music we love through our songs and that’s why we do it. So you feel a responsibility to educate people? Because world music and ethnic influences are starting to come back into indie music a lot more but there’s not a whole lot of attribution taking place. LUKE TOP: I think it’s important to honor your heroes and honor the music that influences you. LEWIS PESACOV: Whatever it is, whether it be world music, folk music, or whatever you’re inspired by. LUKE TOP: I mean with whatever art you’re making; ideally you should be aware of the context of what you’re doing in history. The greatest artist of our time have to know the history of what they’re doing, or else they would think they were the first people to do it. You need to know enough to know your place in the spectrum. That makes our music more informed, more honest. LEWIS PESACOV: I think we’re doing exactly what we set out to do, in a sense. It wasn’t accidental; we’re playing exactly what we want to play. I would like to think that we’re honoring it by showing people this music. LUKE TOP: we’re also starting to do DJ gigs and that’s a great way to show a little bit of what we like. LEWIS PESACOV: We’ve been doing interviews where we list ten tracks for people to listen to and we love that, we recently did a list for Zune as well, so it would be cool for people to read that and get the music and enjoy it. I’ve always made

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mix tapes for friends and I love doing it on a wider spectrum. I’m always interested with how one’s environment influences their work. Like if I had never heard of you guys before and closed my eyes I would be able to figure out you were from LA. Do you agree with that? Could you have made the same music in Chicago for instance? LUKE TOP: I absolutely don’t think so. LEWIS PESACOV: Yeah definitely not. LUKE TOP: A city like Los Angeles is a perfect environment for our band to evolve. It’s such a large, diverse city with so many different venues. There are public parks, BBQ’s, and clubs that gave us an opportunity to play our songs in so many different settings. Like we’d go from a party, to a museum, from west side to east side. Without that support we couldn’t have made this music. LEWIS PESACOV: I do feel that cities have their own sounds. Like New York City, I love a lot of bands from New York, but they tend to have a cold, edgy sound, and LA tends to have a warmer, good feeling sound to it. LUKE TOP: And there’s a big tradition of music from California. LEWIS PESACOV: Yeah, we’re completely influenced by that. Beach Boys and stuff like that influences us in a really weird way. Yeah, you really got what I was trying to say. I didn’t know how to intelligently say your music feels like sun. LUKE TOP: It’s in our blood, we’re children of California. LEWIS PESACOV: I mean it feels like sun to me as much as it does moonlit night with palm trees, there’s that weird dark side of LA as well. LUKE TOP: When you’re making art you’re reflecting your surroundings to some degree, either directly or indirectly. Lewis and I love Los

Angeles, we love the Lakers. LEWIS PESACOV: Yeah I live like a block away from Dodger Stadium so I’m a big Dodgers and Lakers fan. LUKE TOP: Yeah, we’re inspired by the Lakers and the Beach Boys. I’m a big Lakers fan so I appreciate that, but outside these walls people will hate you for that, ( Ed Note: Portland Blazers fans are very bitter towards the Lakers). LEWIS PESACOV: Especially up here right? Well now that I know the influences I was wondering what the writing process is like? There’s such a loose, free flowing nature to your songs. Does it start with a lick or is there a concept that starts it usually? LEWIS PESACOV: It can start with just one lick. Most songs have that one lick that just happens throughout the song, and then we just spin it. It’s all about just spinning it, and that’s how most of the songs are written. There are parts to the songs, but they’re definitely open ended. There’s a lot of looking at each other, then the drummer does something else and we go on to the next part. Luke, I wanted to ask about your vocal style and theconcept of melisma. I’ve been reading a lot about it in reviews and I was wondering if you could talk about it some. LUKE TOP: I’m just learning about the concept in reading press about our band, it’s really not something I set out to do specifically. Even though I’m doing it, it’s not something I researched before hand; it’s just that this style of singing seems to fit with this band. There is really no academic angle to way I sing. LEWIS PESACOV: Basically it’s saying his voice is another instrument, especially when he’s singing in another language that no one can understand. By doing that he’s kind of imitating what the guitars are doing and adding another layer of

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melody. LUKE TOP: Like I said earlier, I’m just filtering all of my influences through me and it just fits with the sound. Luckily when I started singing that way all my friends were really supportive and it just developed over time. Lewis, I wanted to ask about your work with Mark Randall Osborn. Now I only know a little about his work. It was about breaking apart structures right? LEWIS PESACOV: With the classical music? That music is about over structuralizing to the point so that the structures fight against themselves; it’s a crazy thing. LUKE TOP: It’s music in the head LEWIS PESACOV: The idea is that there are literally structures that you build like little musical machines, and then there’s points where there’s conflict, and that’s where the tension comes from. With this music there’s not much of that, I mean there are structures but it is a lot looser, but all that stuff is in my brain. LUKE TOP: This music is more about repetition. LEWIS PESACOV: But repetition is a structure, everything has a structure to it. LUKE TOP: But that music is a little more non-linear. LEWIS PESACOV: Yeah this music is way more linear, but it’s all in there. I mean everything you read or see finds its way in there somehow. I’m sure it’s in there in ways I don’t realize, but I’m just happy playing guitar these days.

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Artist Interview Series Photography and Interview by Timothy Paul Moore

THE MORNING BENDERS

The Morning Benders have some of the catchiest tunes out there. The first time I heard songs like “Loose Change” and “Waiting for a War” they instantly hit you in the same way when you hear that first smack of the guitar in Hard Days Night or The Kink’s Picture Book. It’s not just me, Grizzly Bear, Girls, MGMT,White Rabbits and others have also loved their music and brought them on tour.Their lead singer, Christopher Chu’s wit and presence in the music is what interested me. Good songwriters are few and far between it seems at times and it was a pleasure to catch up with Christopher after one of their shows with Grizzly Bear.

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I read somewhere that the band was originally just you with a computer and a guitar, so how did the band as it is now come together? CHRIS CHU: Time and patience Your music has that great British Invasion sound of the 60’s, but there’s also a great tradition of that sound from the Bay Area. What are some of those old influences and what are some new ones? CHRIS CHU: I love it all. I grew up with The Beach Boys, and Neil Young, and The Beatles and such... but lately i’ve been listening to a lot of new stuff. Beach House I really love. Been in love with Blur’s “Think Tank.” Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love.”To name a few. I’m trying to stay away from the standard questions like “what was your favorite song you’ve ever written” so I’ll turn that around a bit, what was the worst song you ever wrote? CHRIS CHU: I don’t think I remember it What is your writing process like? CHRIS CHU: Magical How’s the tour going? CHRIS CHU: F’ing AWESOME! Grizzly Bear is such an incredible and inspiring band to play with. Love those guys! Your songs have the quality so that they can be performed differently live, like some I can see being played hard and some really mellow and soft. What’s a typical show like and do you change it up based on the crowd? CHRIS CHU: Lately we’ve really been trying to find the perfect arc for our set. Making it into a real journey, with lots of diversity and ups and downs. So we’ve just been making slight tweaks to that.

about that album in a while, since I’ve been in album 2 mode. It is what it is. I’ve heard about some new songs from you guys, when can we expect a new release? CHRIS CHU: March. BIG ECHO is the album title. We are super super excited about it. I just sat down and listened to your album again before this interview and it got me thinking about full-length albums. There was a time when I was in favor for more ep releases over albums, a current trend in indie music, but recently there have been a lot of good complete albums, that like yours flow so well and seem to demand the length of an lp. What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think our current iTunes, blog culture can support a full length album in the years to come? CHRIS CHU: I don’t think people have been listening to albums for a long time. I don’t think it’s a current trend. Even in the 60’s when vinyl was the primary method for listening to music people would just buy singles, or skip around to the singles. People like to listen to a couple songs by a given band, and thats enough. And that’s fine. That’s the way most people listen to music. STILL, I would say there’s a passionate group of people out there that like to listen to music in the album form. I’m one of those people, so I’m going to keep making albums. But yeah, I don’t think things have really changed that much, people need to chill out! Vinyl, CDs, itunes, I don’t think it really matters...

Your album, Talking Through Tin Cans, has some very intimate moments and you produced and engineered a lot of the record yourself, how personal is this album? CHRIS CHU: It’s definitely a snapshot of what I was going through a few years back. It’s quite personal. I think that’s pretty obvious from listening to the record, and maybe a bit limiting? I don’t know. To be honest I haven’t thought

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“Everyday I lie awake and pr


ray to God today’s the day”


Artist Interview Series Photography and Interview by Timothy Paul Moore

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PASSION PIT

So how would you handle popularity? Success? Fame? I’m not just talking about people liking you or what you do, I’m talking about your name becoming synonymous with the phrase “Best of the Year.”When you’re just happy that your friends in your college town like your work and then months later everyone with a laptop is Twittering how they’re listening to your song, where do you go next? If you’re Passion Pit you go further. Their EP “Chunk of Change” was 2008’s gem and their debut LP “Manners” is one of 2009’s crowning achievements. A pop disco mix flying high with dark lyrics popping in and out throughout one of the most satisfying debut albums I’ve ever listened to.They couldn’t just let their album be enough though.Their video for their single “The Reeling” was nominated for a VMA this year, which is one of those things you don’t expect when you’re singing into your laptop in your bedroom. Now they’re all over the world touring and becoming one of the better live acts around now. Letter to Jane caught up with drummer Nate Donmoyer on their European tour to talk about being on the road, the album, and the band’s goals for the future.

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I’d like to start with talking about the tour. You’re in the UK right now, how’s the European tour going? NATE DONMOYER: Good, we just played in Reading which was really great and now we’re heading to Copenhagen. We have a couple more shows in the UK then back to the States. How much longer are you in Europe because I know you’re going to be here in Portland in a couple weeks? NATE DONMOYER: Yeah we’re here till September 11th and then we head to Colorado to play Monolith then we’re going to take some time off then get back to touring again. So before Passion Pit had any of you done a tour before? NATE DONMOYER: Yeah, just in the States though, nothing too big. Just a lot of DIY shows and stuff like that, nothing like what we do now, much smaller. It’s seems that the band’s success came as a surprise. So what were your goals or aspiration in life before the band, how did you see your life unfolding for the next couple of years if Passion Pit

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hadn’t happened? Oh I’d probably still be in Boston making dance music and DJing, I don’t know what I’d be doing exactly but I know I’d still be making music. Yeah the amount of success that we’ve seen has been a bit of a surprise and we’re still getting used to that. Speaking of success, your popularity has gone beyond people just liking you. Everywhere I went or what I read this year has had Passion Pit as the staple for what is cool in 2009. It’s been like skinny jeans, plaid shirts, and Passion Pit. When it gets to that level how does that not affect you? NATE DONMOYER: Ha, thanks, well we are somewhat self aware but not too much. You can’t really think about that all the time. I mean you definitely feel it, but we’re just trying to improve our live show, trying to become a better band. Passion Pit seems works so great as a live band, with recording Manners did you record as a live band? NATE DONMOYER: Well it was kind of. We’d play like eight bars then loop that and play some drums and so forth. So yes it was still samples, but more organic with us playing them this time.

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With the production of Manners what sort of discussions did the band have with the producer Chris Zane? What were some concerns and goals that each of you had going into this album? NATE DONMOYER: Well I had met Chris Zane once, and I had never met our engineer, Alex Aldi before. I had worked with other producers before but never in a setting like this, the whole experience went better than I ever could have expected. Zane became a mentor to us, not just musically but business wise too. We became a better band because of him. We’re more streamlined and a better band now than we were before Manners. I got to say the use of the children’s choir really surprised me with how organic it feels on this album. Usually you only hear a children’s choir in a really sappy piano number about making a difference or in some rap song where someone like Nas is talking about oppression and then kids start singing and it’s sort of ironic because you don’t expect a child to be singing about moral decay of modern society. What made you want to use a children’s choir and was there any fear of it sound too cliché ? NATE DONMOYER: Thanks, yeah that was Mike’s idea, he really wanted to have a choir on some of the songs. We were having a lot of trouble finding one and then Chris found this children’s choir (PS 22) at the last minute on Youtube and they were covering all sorts of stuff like Tori Amos songs and we got them to come in and they really delivered.

Manners was your first big studio album, how did you like the studio? NATE DONMOYER: The studios we recorded in were amazing; to go from a bedroom with a couple microphones in it to Phillip Glass’ studio in Tribeca was amazing. The place was just massive, huge halls, grand pianos, giant mixing boards, it was completely different than what we had known before. This has been a big year for you guys. You’ve been nominated for a VMA for breakthrough video of the year with your music video for The Reeling. What do you think are your chances of winning? NATE DONMOYER: Ha, I have no idea; I’m still kind of amazed that we were even nominated. Humble produced the video and created all those cool effects and I just hope we win it for those guys because they really deserve it. Real quick what’s in store for Passion Pit? Have you guys started talking about any new projects or follow-ups? NATE DONMOYER: I think we just want to concentrate on becoming better as a live band. We have a lot of touring ahead and we just want to play off the album for a while before we take a long time to concentrate on recording new material, I think that might be 2 or 3 years away.

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DAN DEACON PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY PAUL MOORE

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METRONOMY

PHOTOGRAPHY BYTIMOTHY PAUL MOORE

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ART BRUT PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY PAUL MOORE

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A COUPLE HOURS AGO...


Photography by Timothy Paul Moore


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LIGHT + Shadows by

gabrielle hennessey

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Born in the countryside of South Korea and transplanted as a small child to the coun-

tryside of South Jersey, Gabrielle Hennessey currently eats, sleeps, dreams, and creates in the Greater Philadelphia area. She is a recent fashion design graduate who strives through her work to challenge conventional beliefs and explore alternative aesthetics in hopes of changing the way people think about fashion, femininity, and the world as we know it. A year ago, she happened to fall into photography as a means of coping with the doldrums of the summer months and uses it as a way to understand humanity and explore her own creativity. In her spare time, Gabrielle wallows in her never-ending reading list, procrastinates on drawing her graphic novel, and writes about lifestyle and design.

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Portfolio gabriellehennessey.carbonmade.com Blog endoexo.wordpress.com Flickr flickr.com/gmhennessey

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Artist Interview Series Photography: Jody Rogac Interview: Timothy Paul Moore

“Stephen McBean, 2009”

There’s one thing young artists sometimes overlook as they are starting out and that’s reaching out to the people already in the profession they want to do. Just learning how to do something in college doesn’t solve things, going out and finding a path brings up a lot of questions. This is why I’ve been so happy with Letter to Jane’s Artist Interview Series, and to have it include great artists such as Jody Rogac. Rogac is one of my favorite photographers working these days. Her images are soft and inviting, her simple style and attention to details lets her subjects be dynamic. Her work can be found in various look books and magazines such as Monocle, i-D, and CITY. Once I came to Jody Rogac as a fellow photographer looking for some friendly advice and she helped me figure out things that seem obvious now but weren’t until someone actually said it to me. I contacted her again recently and luckily she agreed to talk to Letter to Jane about the profession and her work.

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JODY ROGAC I feel that everyone knows a photographer but few know a photographer who is working at the level you do. So I’d like to start with some simple questions. What are your day-to-day operations like? JODY

ROGAC: Non shoot days I just make a big pot of coffee, do some computer work (emails, photo prep), read, go out, and stay inspired. Shoot days I make a big pot of coffee, go out and shoot! How has the job changed since moving to New York? JODY ROGAC: The job hasn’t changed that much, I’m still shooting the same kind of stuff, just for different clients. It’s actually become a bit easier because I’m in the center of the industry. What is your typical equipment setup like? JODY ROGAC: Me, camera, bounce (maybe). I like to keep things as simple as possible. Here’s a chance for you to be as pretentious as you want, you get a free pass here: How would you describe your style in regards to your work. JODY ROGAC: I find it really hard to answer this

question whenever it is asked. Although judging by feedback I’ve had from others I’d say my style is calm, simple, and unintrusive. I love how a lot of your work

has a hybrid studio/atmospheric feel to them. I was wondering after you got out of school, what was your first studio like? JODY ROGAC:

I’ve moved apartments a lot and always just made studios out of where I’ve been living. As long as I’ve had a wall and a window I’ve had a studio! So was there

a time when photography was just a part time gig? When did you make the jump to full time? JODY ROGAC: Photography was definitely a part

time gig for quite a while after I finished school. I’d say I made the jump to working full time as a photographer about a year and a half ago. You’ve done many

magazine features now. I was wondering if you could give our readers a glimpse of how the process works from start to finish? JODY ROGAC:

Sure... it starts with the photo editor getting in touch and seeing if you’re available for a shoot they’re doing. Then there’s a bit of back and forth regarding location and logistics about the project. After the shoot, I compile a folder of selects and send them to the photo editor. From there, the magazine makes their choice, and voila! I think some of the first images of yours I saw were from some of your work in fashion. Are those projects such as look books or ad campaigns better or worse than the other kinds of projects you shoot? What are some of the pros and cons? JODY ROGAC: I wouldn’t say one

is better or worse than the other. Everything is so different from project to project. I generally really like to photograph people, whether it’s fashion or a portrait for a magazine. I try to make the most out of every assignment! Photography can be quite time consuming, is it hard to take a break from the business?

JODY ROGAC: It’s definitely time consuming, but I love it so much that even when I’m taking a break I’m still thinking about taking photos! I can’t help it!

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Decisions Photography by Timothy Paul Moore

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COUPLE PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY PAUL MOORE

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WALLPAPER PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY PAUL MOORE


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PASTELS PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY PAUL MOORE

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THE END

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LET TE R T O JA N E PRESENTED BY www.lettertojane.com Portland Oregon

ADVERTISING CONTRIBUTIONS MARKETING COMMENTS QUESTIONS CONTACT US AT lettertojanemag@gmail.com

All content, unless otherwise noted, was created and is owned by Timothy Paul Moore for Letter to Jane Magazine Š Timothy Paul Moore 2009 LETTER TO JANE.COM

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CREDITS PHOTOGRAPHY 5 QUESTIONS pg. 01 & 23 © PAUL PJ CHENG 2009

THE MORNING BENDERS Timothy Paul Moore

AU REVOIR SIMONE Sarah Wilmer

PASSION PIT Timothy Paul Moore

AZIZ ANSARI Steven Dewall

DAN DEACON Timothy Paul Moore

PETER BJORN & JOHN Timothy Paul Moore

METRONOMY Timothy Paul Moore

MARIANNE RENOIR Timothy Paul Moore

ART BRUT Timothy Paul Moore

THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER Restored by Timothy Paul Moore

JODY ROGAC Jody Rogac

AMERICAN YOUTH Hedi Slimane courtesy Art and Commerce

LIGHT + SHADOW Gabrielle Hennesssey

GARY GRAHAM Alex Antitch

DECISIONS Timothy Paul Moore

BAND OF OUTSIDERS Scott Sternberg

COUPLE Timothy Paul Moore

NO AGE Ed Templeton

WALLPAPER Timothy Paul Moore

FOOL’S GOLD Bruke Getachew & Timothy Paul Moore

PASTELS Timothy Paul Moore

All photography in “5 Questions” belongs to each respective owner. Photography for “Yoko Ono” and “The Virgins” belongs to each respective owner.

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LINKS WEBSITE lettertojane.com PHOTOGRAPHY timothypaulmoore.com FACEBOOK facebook.com/lettertojanemag TWITTER twitter.com/lettertojane NEWSLETTER http://ymlp.com/signup.php?id=geuqwjugmgus OTHER BLOGS TO ENJOY smartpeopleiknow.blogspot.com lookbook.nu ahhsweetdude.com slamxhype.com booooooom.com purple-diary.com hedislimane.com/diary fubiz.com creativeoutput.net/blog dazeddigital.com tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com blog.jodyrogac.com jakandjil.com/blog daydreamlily.com azizisbored.tumblr.com appendix-mag.com xhatch.com endoexo.wordpress.com theRNDM.com blog.urbanoutfitters.com interviewmagazine.com/blogs nymag.com/daily/fashion

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LET TE R T O JA N E

ISSUE 01 IMAGE + SOUND INTERVIEWS AND CONTRIBUTIONS FROM

www.lettertojane.com

Yoko Ono Peter Bjorn and John No Age Passion Pit TheVirgins Gary Graham Hedi Slimane Jody Rogac Timothy Paul Moore Aziz Ansari Fool’s Gold Dan Deacon Art Brut Metronomy The Morning Benders Au Revoir Simone Band of Outsiders


Letter to Jane: issue 01