Age, occupation, where are you from, where do you live now?
Im 26, originally from Roslyn, NY. I reside in the East Village with my fiancée Eliza Jane. Im a Digital Music and Media Producer, which is a fancy way of saying I Work At A Website. And I started a music blog called stereogum.com that poses as a Britney Spears fansite.
A Few for You:
You've been written up in the NY Post for "chronicling [Britney] Spears' slide" on your blog (i.e., offering candid photos of the starlet running errands in unfortunately chosen clothes). Yecchh. Even though it's clear that you're, um, ironically commenting on our culture's sick voyeurism, doesn't that make you part of what's wrong with America?
Britney has always pushed the envelope. Her music is so manufactured and vocal talent so limited, the naughty schoolgirl act was a necessity. I didnt pay close attention to real Britney until she broke free from her handlers around the time of her 21st birthday. Who wouldve thought the most successful popstar in the world would have the absolute worst judgment. Each headline was crazier than the last. Britney ingests only Red Bull and Marlboros! Britney stages suicide in new video! Britney proposes to random guy she just met, second time this year! Britney wears shower curtain to 7-Eleven! But believe it or not, Im a fan. Its all just fun. I dont take responsibility for the nasty comments people post anonymously on Stereogum. Um, so short answer to your answer: yes, but Im not nearly as bad as Star Magazine.
Every day, we read another quaintly out-of-touch article about the ever-changing effects of iPods on music culture, mostly lauding the "shuffle" feature. Now really: how have iPods changed music for you personally?
I love my iPod. Its one of those retro first gens, but it does the job. I bought the Rio 300 when it first came out. It held ten songs and I had a hard time convincing anyone how cool it was. Now with the iPods deserved popularity, I think its great that casual listeners who felt disenfranchised by the Clear Channeling of the music industry are passionate about music again. It was smart of Apple to bestow Shuffle a more prominent place on the iPod interface; its like listening to a radio station that only plays songs you like. Makes going to the post office or DMV almost bearable.
Audio technology has always dictated the way we listen to music. Vinyl demanded a Side A and Side B, then compact disc made that obsolete. Today ID3 tags facilitate making themed playlists. As digital downloading grows more popular, I think well witness the death of the album format. Artists like Ben Folds are embracing the Internet-only EP. Eventually it will be an all-singles market. Ever type your favorite songs title into iTunes and check out whos covered it? I ended up with seven versions of Wichita Lineman. It wasnt possible a few years ago.
Artists are dealing more with active as opposed to passive listeners. Im hearing a lot of good DIY product. Someone e-mailed me a remix of that Killers single. I listened to it a bunch on my iPod before I realized it was unauthorized. But who cares? Its fun, not to mention a great way for artists to interact with their fans (David Bowies on the forefront of this stuff). I also love mashups. My favorite is probably Go Home Productions sync of Drive My Car with The Way You Make Me Feel. I wasnt blown away by Danger Mouses CD, but I support what hes doing.
You frequently post awesome, if esoteric, MP3s on your blog (for which I must sincerely thank you), with brazen disregard for piracy laws. While your intentions are quite well conveyed by your actions, would you care to sum up in words your feelings on the ethics of distributing copyrighted materials?I draw a distinction between what you describe and P2P networks. I dont use P2P. I dont see how someone can defend downloading vast amounts of albums (or movies or TV shows for that matter). Some see it as revenge for years of paying $18 for a CD with only one good song. I sympathize, but these days Im actually spending more money than ever before on music. CDs and digital downloads, occasionally vinyl.
As for blogs that share a great song or two every now and then, these are the most popular rationalizations.
1. Im doing the band a favor. Its free publicity.
2. I only post live versions and demos you cant buy anyway.
3. I dont host the MP3, I just link to someone elses file.
4. I only keep songs available for a few days.
5. The bit rate aint even 128, dawg.
Ive used them all. Any music blogger will tell you he or she would immediately take down a file at the copyright owners request. Fortunately no ones ever asked me to do that. Ive only received thank yous from label reps and like-minded audiophiles.
Ive bought dozens of CDs after hearing just one cut on a blog: Animal Collective, Jens Lekman, Athlete, AC Newman, that Third Unheard Connecticut hip-hop comp, Paul McCartneys second solo album. Last week, one site posted Greg Dullis new cover of Mary J. Bliges Real Love. I bought the CD the next day (its awesome by the way). The real success stories are this years breakout rock acts: Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, and Modest Mouse. Without a doubt they benefited from passionate word of blog.
The MP3 bloggers are very savvy. They dont cross the line. When an indie rock band reaches a certain level of popularity, bloggers usually back away. No one wants an e-mail from Interpols lawyers, much less R.E.M.s.
OK, what are some of the most embarrassing songs to be found on your iPod?
How much space ya got? I have not one, but three Starship songs (and one Jefferson Starship). I just encoded George Michaels greatest hits. Then theres Crosby, Stills & Nash, solo Donald Fagen, Blind Melons sophomore album, terrible 80s songs that were in Wet Hot American Summer, Burt Bacharach, Arrested Development, Doobie Brothers What A Fool Believes, 90s Squeeze, The Cures Wild Mood Swings, obscure Genesis b-sides, tons of Sting (demos, remixes, you name it). I used to have Christopher Cross Sailing. I dont think it gets more embarrassing than that. Oh, last month I paid 99 cents for Walk the Dinosaur. Total impulse buy.
On the subway, when I see the other white-wired zombies staring into space, I wish thought bubbles would appear over all our heads, revealing what everyones listening to. I think wed all be surprised.
Best bargain to be found in the city?
Dolphin Fitness on East 14th street. They seem to pay no attention to whos using their facilities.
Please describe your greatest celebrity encounter in NYC.
All my awesome rock star stories are from my days interning for Carson Daly, but the MTV beach house that summer was in Seaside Heights, NJ, so those encounters dont apply. In New York City, hmmm ... I ran into Fyvush Finkel once, but he was on his way to shul and couldnt chat. I also saw Marilyn Manson on the corner of 47th and Broadway a few years ago. The WWII helmet was a bit much.
Whats your favorite scene from a movie that reflects New York life?
When the Baseball Furies get their asses kicked in The Warriors. I hate baseball.
Best public restroom?
Full disclosure: I havent tested them all. But Barnes & Noble is a good bet. Bring your own books.
What bygone NYC place or thing do you wish were still around? (Defunct bar, passé trend, checkerboard taxicabs, etc.)
I went to the same Times Square Dunkin Donuts every weekday for four years. It closed a few months ago. They had perfect iced coffee. Also another blackout would be fun. New Yorkers were so friendly. We met our neighbors. It was like the end of Ghostbusters II when everyone gets covered in positive slime.
Who, in your opinion, is the quintessential New Yorker?
Ever consider leaving N.Y. for good?
Only when I get my rent bill. Rimshizzot.
What happened the last time you went to L.A.?
I totally saw J. Lo at The Ivy. L.A. is soooooo cool. Actually, I havent been to the west coast in six years. Im due for a visit.
The End of the World is on its way. What would you do with your last 24 hours in NYC?
Id load up my Armageddon playlist and hit shuffle.
Interview by Josh Abraham.