I don't really have a domestic inclination. Even my apartment has a semblance of a storage facility. It's just stacks, there are no bookshelves, just books and piles of stamp collections and weird little sewing and knitting projects.
I remember Detroit feeling really unsafe, feeling scared a lot. Our house was broken into, our car was stolen, we had to get a watchdog, we would get beat up in the street, I had my bike stolen. There was just a lot of real anarchy on the streets and sidewalks.
Musicians are often asked to answer for an entire culture, or for an entire movement. It's a process of commodification. It becomes packaged and summarized in a word like 'emo' or 'grunge'... or 'folk music.' I think that's just language itself, trying to understand the mysteries of the world.
It's traumatic to meditate on the availability of information through the Internet, or the way we perceive the world as a result. People don't experience things totally or viscerally anymore. It's all through representation, be it a record on YouTube or a post on a blog.
I believe that music is a spiritual language. My everyday self is pretty mundane and boring, but when I'm making music it allows for me to communicate a kind of transcendence that I can't communicate otherwise.
I feel like the Internet needs to be disarmed in some way. There needs to be a philosophical undermining of the Internet. We take it too seriously and too literally. For a reference we go to Wikipedia, which is full of inaccuracies and misinformation. It's kind of beautiful - it's all the product of imagination; it's not reality at all.
I have a love/hate relationship with Amy Grant, but I do go back to her Christmas albums once in a while. They're dated and sentimental and the production is nearly unlistenable, but there's something about her vocal performance that just feels really true. I would take her Christmas albums over Mariah Carey's or Destiny's Child's any day.
One of my strongest memories is my father playing bongos in the living room in Detroit listening to Motown radio. He was this skinny white bald guy, but he was really moved by blues and Motown and funk.
I've read in a couple stories that I was raised Episcopalian, but that's not true. I think that's just people assuming things. In some ways, I wish I was raised Episcopalian. I was kind of raised hodgepodge.
My music is just about story telling. I don't have much to say, and I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. I'm just singing through conviction about what I love and what I care about, starting with the very small.
You know, I don't think my music is important, I don't think it's changing the world, I don't think it's art. I just think it's music. It is what it is.
I've been trying to challenge myself to be more explicit. I've always liked punk rock and Sonic Youth. I make that music privately, but I've never released it.
The spiritual ambiguity growing up made me really latch onto a faith - Protestantism - that was somewhat conventional. Everyone else was rebelling against traditions and institutions, whereas I was rebelling against the upheaval and uncertainty in my family.
A musician's attempt to summarize his or her work leads to all this prescriptive chatter, or what I call the 'Modifier's Madness.' A lot of adjectives working overtime.
The World's Fair was the precursor to theme parks like Disneyworld, and the really sort of cheap, superficial promotional architecture that you see everywhere in the U.S. I think there's a danger when you start creating a civilisation that isn't meant to last.
I was sort of born into a Subud cult that has ties to Islam and Indonesia and Middle Eastern spiritualism. My parents were kind of trial-and-error when it came to religion.
In third grade, I had to an oral report on the state of Oregon. I brought up Big Foot sightings, and I remember there was an argument about whether or not Big Foot was valid history. Ever since then I've been thinking about how subjective history is.
The best fiction is geared towards conflict. We learn most about our characters through tension, when they are put up against insurmountable obstacles. This is true in real life.
I'm a very self-conscious person; I think we all are, but I'm especially not very comfortable in my body. I always feel really weird and awkward on the street or on the stage. It has nothing to do with circumstances; it's just an ongoing psychological state, like white noise.
I still feel like I have a lot to learn in the realm of sound experimentation, and I think I would like things to get noisier and weirder and more distressed and more aggressive, but I don't know if that's something that would be suitable for public consumption.