Words by Max Vernon
I personally love when music tells a great story, so I try to create portraits of the people I meet. I admit I’m not above writing songs to get back at people who suck (as in the case of “Around Your Finger” and “Your Girlfriend”), as long as there is some kind of disconnect between the emo-ness of the music and the lyrics to keep it interesting. To me there’s nothing worse than a whiny, pissed off break up song that sounds like a whiny, pissed off break up song. But, if you take those bitter, slightly immature lyrics and stick them with a jaunty honky tonk jazz piano riff, then it’s a whole different creature…
If there’s one song on the EP that isn’t like the others (SAT flashback time), it’s probably “Hunted.” I still have no idea why or how I ended up writing a song about Grendel. I didn’t even really like the book! Must have been some good weed…
All of the songs on Manic Impression were recorded in my bedroom with basically just a laptop, a microphone, and a keyboard/guitar. I hear fuller arrangements in my head for a lot of these tracks and hope to rerecord them with more ambitious orchestration someday soon.
Music Is Art
In honor of the nature of this blog, I thought it also might be cool to share some of my other art with you guys also. I think the visual art and the costumes I create for performances are more surreal and a bit darker than my music, but it’s all just two sides of the same coin. The new songs I’m recording for my second EP kind of bridge the gap thematically between my music and art.
This is the outfit I created for my recent CMJ show, using about 1000 googly eyes.
.Inspirations of Music.
There’s so much incredible music being made right now, I can’t get enough! I love Final Fantasy, Fever Ray, St. Vincent, Beach House, and Joanna Newsom in particular. However, I feel a really deep sense of connection with Laura Nyro’s music. She had a lot of success writing for other artists in the late sixties, but I could never understand why people weren’t as receptive to her as a solo artist. She’s by far her best interpreter. Her ability to conform the pop music idiom to her crazy song structures, tempo and key changes, as well as her courage to pursue a musical vision that was so distinct from her contemporaries…it’s very inspirational to me. I could write an essay, but it’d be much better if you just listened for yourself.
.Fashion of Alexander Mcqueen.
His new Atlantis themed collection blows my mind. Those shoes/torture devices should be in a museum. I love the fearless creativity of his work, it inspires me to think outside the box when I’m making my costumes for shows and can’t afford to spend $12,000 on a jacket. I think life would be more exciting if people had the courage to turn themselves into walking works of art. All you need is hot glue, glitter, and a salvation army… check it out here: http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/S2010RTW-AMCQUEEN
.Art of Gottfried Helnwein.
Gottfried Helnwein is probably my favorite visual artist. I love this particular painting in which he reimagines the annunciation as an angel coming out of the TV screen. His work tends to be very provocative and macabre, but it definitely resonates with me. He basically does everything- film, photography, painting, drawing, set design, makeup, etc. Check out more of his stuff here: http://www.helnwein.com/
.Philosophy of Michel Foucault.
I think it might be a central ambition of mine to be the first Foucauldian pop singer…
As a student of queer theory, Foucault is kind of the starting point before you begin your slow descent into having an anxiety disorder haha! There is no centralized power to fight against! There is no such thing as sexual repression, because it is the repression that creates desire in the first place! We should all fist each other! You know, it’s all very enlightening…to anyone interested, be sure to check out History of Sexuality vol. 1, as well as Halperin’s Saint Foucault.