2004_10_jonstezen.jpgAge, name, occupation
29, Jon Setzen, Designer

You've design web materials for J Records, most notably working with Alicia Keys on a number of projects. What's that like?
The J Records job is actually great. I basically maintain all of their web sites and do a lot of promotional creative work for them, like invites, e-cards and etc. It allows me to work at home or anywhere for that matter. The Alicia Keys project was probably the coolest thing I have ever worked on. She wanted to document the recording of her album (The Diary of...) so I spent many nights in the studio with her taking photos, shooting video, taping her on the phone with Ms. Aretha Franklin and watching the recording process. I have an incredible amount of respect for her as a person and a musician. She is beyond talented and one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. She always went out of her way to make me feel comfortable in the middle of the circus that is a major label artist's recording session. Hopefully, when she begins work on the next album she will want to do this all over again. I tried to get her to take me on tour with her to "document" her tour, but she wasn't having any of that.

You also design posters for Southpaw's upcoming shows - you even have a show of your work at near Southpaw. How did that gig come about? What's your favorite poster so far? Favorite poster and then Southpaw concert experience?
I used to live around the corner from Southpaw and would go in there quite a bit. I made friends with the owners and started doing an indie night there called Painting and Kissing. I used to make posters for that night and it kind of spilled over into making show posters for their bigger shows. Actually, I think it was The Mogwai show which started it all really. They had three days to promote, so they asked me to make a poster for that show. In truth, they could have hung a post-it up on the door that said "MOGWAI LIVE IN BROOKLYN!" and it would have sold out in no time. The show was probably one of the best things I have seen there, so loud, so good! As far as a favorite poster goes, I really like the Broadcast poster.

You DJ'd a college radio show when you were at the University of Oregon. Do you listen to much radio now? Or is it all about the iPod?
Seeing as I sit in my apartment all day working I do listen to the radio quite a bit. A lot of NPR in the mornings and KCRW as well. I used to listen to KEXP quite a bit, but I can't stand all the talking and wacky anecdotes in between songs. Usually, by the early afternoon I have gone back to iTunes on perma-shuffle. Lately, lots of Kompakt Records, City Centre Offices and Hefner.

What have you seen at CMJ so far? What's the best CMJ performance you've ever seen?
So far I have seen The Bravery, The Concretes, Sondre Lerche and I caught a few songs by a really good singer/songwriter named Kelly Crae or something like that (what was your name?)

The Bravery are fantastic live, really one of the better live bands I have seen in a long time. The Concretes were great last night. There are about 14 of them and they're from Sweden, so how could that not be great? The best CMJ show I have ever seen?? Well, the best DJ thing I have ever seen was Andy Smith and Goldie DJing a brunch party at the Cooler. The best CMJ show I have ever seen is also the best show I think I have ever seen - Belle and Sebastian's first US gig at Angel Orensantz in 1997. They closed with "What Goes On" as a disco ball spun in the background.

A Day in the Life is a photoblog (of sorts; [archive here]) that you run, where you let different people from all over the world post photographs for a week. Why did you start it? What are some places you want to visit, now that you've seen them via A Day in the Life?
I was unemployed and sitting in a bar with my friend, Mario, and mentioned I had no money to travel, so I need to figure out a way to travel vicariously. Anyway, it just sort of started from there and snowballed into this monster of a thing that recently got me a cease and desist letter from Harper Collins, because I am using the words "A Day in" which they apparently have a federally licensed trademark on. So, it's kind of on hiatus now. There is something big in the works, but I probably shouldn't say anything, because I may get lazy and never do anything about it. Anyway, there are loads of places I want to go which have been featured on the site, but most of them were all places I have wanted to go before the site went up, like Iceland, Brazil, Japan, etc. etc. I really loved the photos from Arkansas, Copenhagen, Paris and a tiny island in the middle of somewhere called Dominica. Also, whenever I look at the photos from Croatia it makes me want to go back there immediately.

On NYC
Favorite subway line
The Q train. Going over the bridge on the Q makes me almost wish I had a real job, so I could commute.

Favorite NYC politician:Marty Markowitz! He hangs out at Southpaw.

Best/worst Brooklyn gentrification trend
The best trend is probably bands wanting to play Brooklyn. Bands (usually) bring out decent people to places they would maybe not come otherwise. I know a couple of people who had never been to Park Slope, came for a show, ended up loving the neighborhood and have never left. The worst trend are the sushi joints. I like sushi a lot, but seriously, do I need 17 different fucking sushi joints on the same street? Someone should open a good Mexican place.

Best arthouse movie theater:
I like the Sunshine theater.

Favorite music venue (besides Southpaw):
Nothing really compares to the Bowery Ballroom. Aside from Bimbo's in SF or The Metro in London, it is the best place to see a show.

Favorite coffee joint:
Lorena's on the corner of Flatbush and 7th Ave. They are surly bastards in there, but the coffee is good.

Dogs, cats or babies:
Currently, dogs. I have a 2 year-old chihuahua / Italian greyhound called Cosita. Babies - in the future if I can find someone to have them with me.

Jon's work can be seen at standard motion.