Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Premature Release of the Day: Pharmakon - Bestial Burden

I lucked out on being able to get my hands on Bestial Burden early, but upon listening, I realized that I had actually heard it before. If I'm not mistaken, other than the beginning song "Vacuum," seemingly sourced from uncomfortable, winding breaths, and "Primitive Struggle" sampled from victimized gags and regurgitation, I had actually heard this record before in a live setting. I noticed this from the rhythm section of "Intent or Instinct," which I remember hearing at Pharmakon's show with Haxan Cloak at the Church on York. Margaret had attached a contact mic to a heavy sheet and was beating it against her chest with her knuckles in the same pattern as is heard here.

Not to be crass and underhanded, but I think that as opposed to Abandon, Bestial Burden is more song-oriented or rather, focused on component parts. Miss Chardiet has been up front about some sort of physical ailment and resulting surgery that transfixed her mental capacity on a human body. It shows through the respiratory and digestive samples as well as her choice of artwork. Organs and flesh are strewn about in each piece of visual art from the alarming and strangely alluring cover art to the diorama-like cut-up inner sleeve. They make a person into not only its fundamental parts, but a commodity, like something you'd see at a meat-packing warehouse (trust me - I've been to them).

When I taught in Mexico, I had to manually slaughter, prepare, and dress farm animals for meals occasionally. It's more difficult than you would think from the killing aspect to the sectioning of different parts. For instance, when I had to kill a hog, it screamed like a human, which is a haunting sound that I will never get out of my head. During the preparation, I had to listen for where its heartbeat is and then stab the beating area with a serrated knife. But you can't just leave an animal alone when you need to make a meal for a family. So I had to pour boiling water over top and scrape off the hairs first before using a machete to physically separate what would be eaten at different times and every last part of that pig was eaten aside from its bones.

The art of Bestial Burden, and the title itself, reminds me of this. People are often too comfortable with seeing the casings of people or animals to know or think about what is inside. What makes an existence tick? I'm vegetarian and a lot of my reasoning has to do with finding our proximity to what we eat as inappropriate. An animal life becomes a commodity. I often hear someone say "Oh, I could never kill an animal, but I can eat this
burger." It doesn't really do the animal justice - it distances one being from the next and is disrespectful in my opinion. Having a neatly prepackaged meal or food item makes it easy for us to digest what maybe we should think about.

Margaret Chardiet is unfolding this thought diagram in Bestial Burden. It is uncomfortable and it is unpleasant, but it is also necessary.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Interview with a whole lot of people involved with feedtime

I spent a lot of my childhood in a more wooded suburb of Washington, D.C. Our family had a house with a pretty large backyard that backed up to a substantial forest. I saw some pretty weird things out there. Once we had peacocks in our backyard: I still remember my dad chasing after them trying to get a good picture with the disposable Kodak camera he had. Once our dog (who may have been part wolf) killed a deer - she came back to the house covered in blood, though with further inspection, there was no wound on her. Once we had a snapping turtle sunbathing back there that we had to physically persuade to go back to its lake.

It was pretty magical, looking back on it. One of my favorite things to do, though, was create terrariums of a sort in my bathroom sink. I had my own bathroom that my mom would rarely check on and I would sneak all sorts of plants and animals in the house so I could have more friends. I especially loved keeping amphibians back there. Lots of salamanders, toads, and frogs. And every now and then, my mom would come in and admonish me through a smile, telling me that I needed to return the plants and animals to the land, which I did reluctantly.

So when I saw that there was a band with a frog for its logo, I had to check them out. In the window of Bull City Records was a green poster with a minimal, unmistakably amphibian sign with the word "feedtime" written in slithery typeface. Going inside, I asked Chaz what the poster was and he showed me the 4 LP set of The Aberrant Years (sidenote: This was the first Wikipedia article I wrote). It was pretty inexpensive so I picked it up and it would color the rest of my senior year in college.

The boxset comes with extensive liner notes about the Australian post punk band mostly active in the 80s featuring three singularly-named members - Rick, Al, and Tom. It chronicles their time in Australia and the release of the four records included in the compilation. I'm kind of amazed that Sub Pop put this out, though I have heard that Mark Arm had a fair bit to do with the label's interest. Makes sense.

I also interviewed the band's friend Andrew who went to almost every feedtime show in Australia in order to get a good sense of the band's live show and presence. Pretty cool what he says too.

The band has some news about forthcoming music too, which should satisfy any interested parties.

Jordan Reyes: A couple of years ago, sub pop reissued your first four LPs as the Aberrant Years. How long had this been in the pipe?

Bruce Aberrant: We first started talking with sub pop about it in February 2009.  Over the next couple of years, it evolved into what it became, which was significantly better that what was initially being talked about. (The box set is more comprehensive – it’s everything – and has the great box, a superior booklet, and the replica sleeves.  At first it was just going to be a 2-disc set, with several tracks omitted due to length restrictions and the sleeves probably – if at all – only represented in much smaller, less detailed form in a smaller booklet.)

JR: Did other labels want to reissue your first records?

BA: Melbourne’s Dropkick Records wanted to do it, prior to us approaching Jonathan.  Rich ultimately had too much on his plate, but it was his keenness to see everything re-released, remastered, which planted the seed and got the ball rolling (if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor).

JR: Did you guys have much to do with the design of the box, liner notes, and photos for the Aberrant Years?

BA: Sub pop very graciously gave us free hand.

Al feedtime: Bruce had kept all the artwork which I had done in the eighties and I recreated sleeves, labels, inserts, etc. as best I could and designed the box art. It was amazing that sub pop were prepared to go to this length for this release

JR: Did the response to the box set surprise you guys?

BA: Yes.  Amazed.

Af: The fact sub pop chose to re-release all this stuff amazed me. I’m very happy to see it all available again and give the opportunity for younger people to be exposed to it.

Rick feedtime: I'm not aware of the response, but pitchfork gave it a good rap. It got a rap in the London Sunday Times (next to an Ellie Gould article. Whoa! )as a must-have reissue so that must be all right.

JR: What is your current connection to music, if any?

Rf: Doing feedtime and some a-tonic acoustic stuff.

Af: Just that I’ve stated playing feedtime again since 2011

JR: What kind of music do you guys find yourselves listening to nowadays?

Rf: I listen to madrigals, baroque, very ancient-style Arabic vocal stuff (this is extraordinarily difficult to locate) and more.

Af: For me it's feedtime again

JR: I read in an interview from 2009 that you guys never played the states. That is until the reunion shows that you all did in 2012. Why didn't you play outside of Australia at the time and how as it playing the states for your reunion?

BA: The first show in the ‘States was actually in San Francisco on May 21, 2011, at the time a ‘one-off’, headlining the second night of SS10, the tenth anniversary ‘do’ for Scott Soriano’s S.S.Records, which came about after a very enthusiastic invitation from Scott. A U.S. tour – around 20 dates, complete with support bands – was actually organized for spring 1989, but the band split just before it happened.

Rf: Australia was nowhere and so was feedtime. Playing for Scott Soriano’s bash was a true privilege (he's a nice bloke too) and the later tour was pretty great with sub pop helping out!

Af: It was fantastic to play in the states and to meet so many wonderful people.

JR: What was it like playing songs written 15-20 years before? Did things resume easily for you?

Rf: Lyrically it was easy to do. The meaning of the songs seems to be universal and not of a particular time & place. It takes a lot of effort to properly demonstrate feedtime so that took some time & hard work. Right now, we're getting what Tom calls "match fit" so that we can play three 45-minute sets with maximum power and  as many downstrokes as we can muster up. That’s going to be a living hell to try to do and we're starting at the next rehearsal (aka bash).

Af: Some were written 25-30 years before. We got together for a few bashes before we said yes to Scott Soriano's invite. We were a bit rusty, but the feel was still there so it just meant a bit of bashing about together before we left for the states to get a bit of stamina.

JR: Do you think you all would ever play the states again or was that a one time thing?

Rf: I'd like to play the states again. It was fun and people treated us nicely.

Af: I would be happy to. I had a great time on both trips in 2011 and 2012. We’ll see what happens

JR: Are you guys particularly interested in any other kinds of art like painting, or literature, or film?

Rf: I’m not, but i like seven samurai (Kurosawa’s film) and anything writ large or small off of Haruki Murakami.

Af: In the eighties, I was a printmaker, etching and linocuts. For the past 18 years, I have had a graphic design company.

JR: In the vein of a band named feedtime, do you have a favorite restaurant or food?

Rf: The Betel Nut Prawn entrée at Thai Pothong in Newtown (Sydney) is my favorite rave fucking nutcase yes !

Af: Not really a favorite. I just enjoy all things fresh and tasty, but I’m not a fan of processed food

JR: Is there actually a correct time for feeding?

Rf: Resupe when indicated by need or by desire

Af: When you're hungry

JR: re there any plans down the pipe for feedtime?

BA: Sub pop will be releasing two brand new tracks as a 7” - stick up jack and flatiron - hopefully November, and a third new track, herb says will be part of a new Dope, Guns... Set currently being put together by Tom Hazelmyer.  Not sure of the release timing on that.

Rf: Going to try to arrange a place again where we can do three sets in a night. Sub pop’s going to release a single and maybe an album. Haze XXL tells us that he's going to put a song on the next AmRep dope guns & fucking thing.

Af: As Bruce mentioned, a few tracks are being released sometime this year. The last 12 months have seen a lot of new songs come about so I guess I would like to record a whole lot more of them.

In addition to feedtime, I also interviewed one of their friends Andrew, who went to almost every feedtime show in Australi, to see what a live show is like.

Jordan Reyes: How did you know the guys in feedtime? 
Andrew: It was a couple of years before their first LP came out when i stumbled across them as a lost and lonely 22yr old fuck up. They had no profile in any scene at the time as far as i could tell. There were a handful of regulars that went to see them no matter what and a few drunks propping up the bar. That was about it. They usually played three sets with no support act, so the regulars and band would drink and chat between the sets and we all got to know each other that way. 

JR: How would you describe a feedtime show? Were there any staples in a feedtime performance?

A: It was all staples with no condiments. Very good for you though and if you ate it all up, you might get a small treat. 

A: They were loud, intense, hypnotic, and medicinal. 

A: Those feedtime shows were like some kind of anti-depressant for me that somehow made me feel better about myself and the world. Seriously, I think there was something about the harmonic vibrations that worked to soothe the constant static in my head. 

A: There was also a total lack of bullshit about the way they played and the way they were as people. A welcoming openness about their attitude that was so different to anything else that was around. Even other great bands that I loved seeing like X seemed like standoffish rock stars compared to feedtime. 

JR: What was the craziest thing you saw at a feedtime show?

A: Lots of crazy shit. Some banal, some extraordinary. One of my favorite memories is of Rick putting down his guitar mid-song and shoving a troublemaker in the audience out the front door of the pub then walking back in, strapping on and starting in again without the others blinking an eye or missing a beat.

JR: Who were some of the other good bands around at the time who may have played with feedtime that you would recommend listening to?

A: It’s all a long ago now and my memory ain’t what it used to be. There were plenty of good and even a few great bands around but feedtime were the only Sydney band that really mattered to me after I saw them that first time.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Interview with One of the Kurts in Ausmuteants

There should be a limit to how many Kurts you can have in a band. Ausmuteants have too many Kurts. There’s just too many goddamn  Kurts. There are four Kurts in the band! Four! Count ‘em! I don’t know if these are their real names, but I can’t really just ask them “Hey, are you really a Kurt?” Like. What a dumb question. A rose by any other name, ya dig? There’s one Shaun and four Kurts in Australia’s prodigy synth-punk band Ausmuteants according to Facebook, supposedly named after a Brazilian mushroom (but who really knows [you’ll see half-truths become a bit of a recurring theme here]). What are the names behind these cats because the band was started by two guys respectively named Jake Robertson and Billy Gardner? More importantly, why am I getting hung up on this? Who the fuck knows, sportsfans.

These dudes released a pretty fantastic LP on Aught/Goner called Amusements in 2013 and are about to release a second full-length titled Order of Operation (produced by Mikey Young!) on Goner again here in the States. They are currently on tour and set to play the Owl in Chicago with the Sueves, and Big Zit, which will surely be a fantastic, rowdy-ass show. Nuttin' wrong with a lil bit of FUN, you freaks! I embedded a song from their upcoming LP too, if you're into music.

Jordan Reyes: What the hell is an Ausmuteant?

One of the Kurts: An Ausmuteant is a Brazilian mushroom that grew strong in the 60s and got weaker over time.

JR: You're currently playing the States right now. Had you guys played here before? Are the audiences much different?

OOTK: Never played in the states before. I’ve done Europe twice with a different band. It's easier over there: you get food, drinks and accommodation. But everybody has been super nice here so far.

JR: There's a lot of shit, piss, and flushing on your record Amusements. How important is human waste removal to Ausmuteants?

OOTK: Amusements is filled with petty humor. There is none on our new record, so I think it will double our audience and half our audience at the same time.

JR: What is the grossest bathroom that you've ever been to?

OOTK: I once went into the toilet on a train to Big Day Out 03 (shitty bogan 'fuck off we're full festival -rip) and somebody had smeared a huge grogan all over the stall. It was so funny I puked.

JR: You've got a new record coming out by way of Goner Records here in the States. How did you guys write and record this? You had more band members with this time around, right? Did that affect things?

OOTK: Order of Operation (new record) was recorded with Mikey Young in June 2014. It has the same line up as our last record (amusements) but a better production, and more thought out songs. I'm happy as Larry with it. Every song is ridgy didge.

JR: What synthesizers do you guys play on the records? Do you use the same synths as a live band?

OOTK: On the first record I played a shitty Casio keyboard, Mikey brought his good synths, but I didn't know how to use them. He sold me my first 'proper' synth (Korg Poly800) for 150 (bargain) and I use that live. I also used it for the new record. In America, we travelled without visas, so we had to buy instruments here. I bought a Roland JX 3p with a PG200 programmer. It took me 3 shows to get a decent sound.

JR: Do you guys listen to much electronic music? Are there any artists that you particularly like?

OOTK: Shaun is the member who listens to the most electronic music, he's asleep in the back of the van, so I can't name drop. I love black devil disco club/ minimum wave/ Italo stuff. That's probably as close as I get.

JR: What are you guys listening to in the van on tour?

OOTK: Currently listening to Ramones “It’s Alive” in the van now. Blasted some Kool Keith earlier, and some girl group comps before that. Variety, p good spice.

JR: Have you guys ever been to the Great Barrier Reef? Have you ever seen a great white shark?

OOTK: I've seen a shark in the goddamn Great Barrier Reef.

JR: What all is in the future for Ausmuteants?

OOTK: We will probably break up and concentrate on our beloved girlfriends.

JR: Anything else you'd like to say?

OOTK: Down with homework.

Dig this song from their upcoming record!

Release of the Day: Iceage - Plowing Into the Fields of Love

Outside the old Church on York after Haxan Cloak and Pharmakon played, I spoke with Elias of Iceage about the nature of punk rock and growth. We were trading back and forth hearsay stories about Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and other female vocalist icons of when the world was filmed in black and white. He was saying how he had lost interest in punk and industrial, and I could see that. There's nothing quite like repetition to beat your brow into boredom. The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different outcome. But things do lose magic as they become familiar. Endings do change. And we're all still insane.

I got to hear the new Iceage songs live a couple times both in Los Angeles and in Chicago so I knew that I liked what I heard. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are one of my all-time favorite bands and the four good ol' Danes of Iceage have done some seriously uncanny channeling here. And it still sounds unhinged as fuck, which is exactly why you listen to or see Iceage to begin wit, but there's a new complexity to the lyrics and the song structures here. It's not verse-chorus-verse-chorus like you might expect from a punk band new to more polished songwriting, but there are instrumental breaks, bridges, zones, and more within these twelve new songs the shortest of which is 2:31, which may have been considered a long Iceage song before this album.

The musicianship and orchestration of the band is new too. What had been hinted on the piano playing of "morals" has become full-fleshed out in more than one of the songs here. The singing is dynamic. And The lyrics are fucking great! Check 'em out when they play The Empty Bottle because the next time they come through, they will not be playing in such an intimate setting.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Release of the day: Leather Slave - Leather Slave

The post on Permanent Records' website  quotes Julian Cope's review of the Brainbombs' record "Obey"  as being the same review of Leather Slave. It's funny, but it's totally true. Leather Slave are a sick, noise rock band from the battery acid and corrosion infested sewers of Los Angeles making filthy, deranged music. It does sound like Brainbombs a lot, and it features heavy riffing with fucked up lyrics and one of the most offensive album covers I've seen this side of Dawn of the Black Hearts.

Permanent really did a number on this package too. Oxblood wax on a 45 rpm 12". I played this the other night when I was going to bed and had nightmares. I am on a massive Boeing jet going to California, but almost immediately, it careens in the wind. A tumultuously dancing plummet, skitter scattering across low-gliding nimbi. Like a fan rattling before shuddering to a halt because the power went out. The plane crashes silently. The wreckage is quiet. I blink once. Twice. Blood leaks from my face. A femur crests from out of my thigh.

In real life, I wake with a lingering, dull pain. Safe for the time being.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Interview with Chris McDonell of Transfix

Transfix's Death is So Relaxing EP  was the first thing that I heard from the band. It was part of the Ascetic House January Program, of which I'm a big fan. It stuck out to me in the way that it combined deathrock, electronica, and pop in an easily digestible twenty minutes or so. From there, I checked out the band's recent self-titled LP, featuring great original pastel-laden art. This record had even more fully-formed pop song elements and was, to me, more impressive as a document of place and time, in addition to simply being a bigger product.

But lyrically, and especially in terms of song/album titles, Transfix resonated with me. Here were these primal human themes. Sex. Death. Nature. The spirit. How do these things relate and why are they important? It's like asking "why breathe?" You just kind of do it without pausing to think oftentimes before realizing that these are a few of the themes that connect our ongoing stories. But they're important parts of life, if not the most important. Sex made me. And death will take me.

I got in touch with Chris of Transfix, who over the phone sounds like a mix between Dorian Gray and a yawning cat, taking things as they come, though consciously focusing on artistic merit and output. He's working on new material too and is one of my personal favorite artists coming out of Olympia at the moment.

Jordan Reyes: What’s going on?

Chris McDonell: Not much, just working on a track, rolling a joint, having a cup of coffee.

JR: Sounds pretty great. Are you into art yourself?

CM: Totally. I make it for the band.

JR: Did you do the cover for the Transfix LP?

CM: Yeah, I did. It was supposed to be a take on Bummed by the Happy Mondays. Maybe you shouldn't put that in there.

JR: It’s really good. What did you use for the cover?

CM: I used pastels and then I had a photo of a sad Greek guy. I used that as a frame of reference and then did the picture in the Happy Mondays' style. It’s kind of hard for me to look at this one now but I’m pleased with it. After you spend a lot of time on something, though, you feel like you have to put it out.

JR: You think so?

CM: Yeah, for me. Well, I revisit again after a while. But when you constantly move forward you kind of say “fuck that old thing,” at least for a bit. I still love it.

CM: So the combination was of pastels and printer ink, the sort that screen printers use.

JR: What’s the track you’re working on today?

CM: It’s called “In the Garden,” which is a new one. I've had the song for a while, but I went filming with my buddy the other day in a Buddhist spot. We were kicking around in this community garden and catching footage of us dancing. This song has a beat that was inspired somewhat from Theo Parish, who was involved in the Chicago Footwork stuff. He’s got a track called “footwork” that is really sick. I hadn't heard him before and didn't know what to expect. But one of his videos has this minimal beat and people dancing in the city. I've always loved to dance so I took it as inspiration for this track.

JR: What kind of dance do you do?

CM: Hip hop, but a little off-the-wall. Definite feet shuffles. Tap dancing without the tap.

JR: Nice. I used to do a lot of dance myself – tap danced a little and did some break dancing.

CM: Hell yeah. I used to try to also in Texas. I would go to dance nights in middle school and high school at a teen center. It was mostly African-Americans and I wanted to fit in so I tried to break and I couldn't do it, but they’d have dance-offs or dance circles. Did you do break dancing ones?

JR: I did in high school and I did a lot of choreography. I was really into hip hop and Latin music back then. I didn't get into like rock until I was eighteen or so. I’m twenty-four now so it's like still catching up a bit, but I’m interested in the different ways people communicate with others. Dance is one. Music is one. Movies. It’s all interesting to me.

CM: I agree. It’s fun for me. I've always liked dancing to pop music. I’m happy with the project right now. I didn't realize I wanted to make that type of music until now, but I think it’s always been in my heart.

JR: Absolutely. I think the dance element is underdone in music. What do you use to record and write your music?

CM: Well, lately I've been on the MPC 2000 and I've been tracking to an 8-track, which has been a mainstay for my songs. I've used different synths at different times. I had the DX70 and some others that weren't very coveted. I sample a lot from digital ones. At the place I’m staying now is a Juno. I've been trying to set up studios all over and pop around.

JR: Do you just do music for your life?

CM: Yeah, I do. Music and artwork, but most of the artwork is for the band.

JR: Do you have a permanent lineup right now?

CM: Well, the permanent lineup as it stands is me and Scott, but there’s a continual evolution with other people in their involvement. Sometimes it’s more and sometimes it’s less. It wouldn't be the same, though, if Scott and I split.

JR: I’m looking at your bandcamp right now and it has stuff with Transfix and Torture by Roses – is that a project you’re attached to as well?

CM: Torture by Roses is, but Mary Jane, the other member in that band, has a new group called CC Dust right now. That stuff was recorded in around 2011 with the same 8-track I use now. We've since recorded things and will probably continue to do so, but Transfix is going to play a couple shows next month with her new group CC Dust, which is her and David Jacque. He’s a young guy who’s into electronic music. They’re going for a more poppy, Cocteau Twins, Cranberries vibe. She’s super powerful when she’s by a microphone.

JR: Where are you playing those shows?

CM: Both are in Olympia. They've only played one or two shows at this point.

JR: What’s the Olympia scene like for you? Any bands you particularly like?

CM: I like a lot of them really. It’d be hard to mention just some. There are some more popular ones and some local bands that will never see the light of day. I like the scene because it’s a close-knit community and everyone is down to help. You have resources.

JR: Cool. So you’re working on another full-length album now?

CM: Totally.

JR: Are there people interested in it?

CM: Yeah, I’m pretty sure that Perennial is going to put it out.

JR: Cool. You guys have worked with them before, right?

CM: Yeah, we put out a cassette with them, but my old band Family Stone put out a 7” with them a while ago. He’s just a friend, but it has to make sense with the money too (laughs).

JR: Have you finished some of those recordings or are you working on them?

CM: Yeah, they’re finished for the most part, but there are a couple that need to be mixed. I’m kind of on edge until it’s done, which should be in a couple weeks and then we’ll get it mastered.

JR: You released your self-titled on an LP, a Cassette, and a CD. What was the process behind getting all those formats?

CM: Well, Ben from Night Moves was a fan and he contacted us. It’s been a slow trickle. We don’t have a huge following, but the people who are interested are generally pretty down. So he put out the cassette and at that point, I thought that would be the only format, but my friend Chapin from Dutch Tilt decided to do the LP, and I handmade the CDs in Portland.

JR: Did you do the album art for the CDs and cassettes too?

CM: I did.

JR: What’s up with the sun on them?

CM: That’s kind of a Transfix logo, but I hadn't used it in a while. I've always been interested in the imagery and symbolism with the sun since I was younger. I got that as a tattoo when I was younger. I think it also had to do with being in the Northwest and looking for that.

JR: Is that true? It’s really cloudy all the time?

CM: It is. Yeah. The sun is also really powerful here too since we’re in the Northern Hemisphere so it’s blasting.

JR: There’s no middle ground, then?

CM: Oh, there is. Even today there’s somewhat moderate cloud cover. You can see the sun under a blanket.

JR: You have a t-shirt that says “Transfix” and then underneath “Sex is Death. God is Sex.” What did that come from?

CM: Well, I was picturing an album called that for a while, but that didn't happen. There are a bunch of demos and tracks I made and one of the tracks is “Sex is Death. God is Sex” and it’s a sampling of myself playing it over and over again. I wanted to go super bonehead with it. There will still be a bonehead release in the future, but this next one isn't it.

JR: Bonehead is all right, though.

CM: Yeah, I like that stuff. (Laughs)

JR: What do those words mean to you?

CM: At this point, not much, but I think at the time, I was at a point where I was trying to have sex, I guess. I don’t even know to be honest. I like the juxtaposition of the words, but I can’t remember it meaning a whole lot to me. I like it on the shirt.

CM: Actually, no. I remember. I was kind of inspired by Milk Music who has a shirt that says “Cruising with God.” It’s not the same, but I think it’s where I got that. His t-shirt designs have always inspired me. I love the guy’s artwork too.

JR: Do you think a lot about spirituality and states of being?

CM: I do. I like thinking about those things.

JR: Have you come up with any conclusions that maybe I can learn from?

CM: (laughs) Oh shit, man. Not really. You could probably tell me better, Jordan.

JR: I doubt it.

CM: (Laughs) Well, I respect the whole age thing. I’m twenty-seven. I feel like the more years you have, the wiser you at least can become. That’s the goal for me. To become better situated and calmer.

JR: Yeah, calmer would be nice.

CM: Totally. Yeah, that wedding about killed me from a few days ago.

JR: Oh man.

CM: Not really, but it was heavy drinking. I don’t think I’m built for that anymore.

JR: Yeah, I stopped drinking in January, but it just started getting to my mood and energy and I just decided not to have to deal with it.

CM: For sure.

JR: Have you ever had any near-death experiences?

CM: Yeah, I have. I've had a couple. The one that comes to mind is when I was with my friend Dandrew. We were in the Hill Country in Texas because he had a house out there. We were driving from Austin and acting really boy-howdy about it. We had a twelve-pack of beers and were drinking the whole way. I remember thinking “This is pretty fucked, man.” We’re going down this road about 70 mph with two lanes, no median, everything is pretty sketchy. I’m thinking “This is pretty fucked up.”

CM: Anyway, nothing happened. We got to his house in the Hill Country and shot guns and hung out. Did donuts and got drunk. The next day we were driving back to Austin because he had to go to class at University of Texas and he was stressed out. We were going fast. This truck was passing on our left and it had a trailer attached to it. He merges in the left land and almost hit the truck, but he did hit the trailer. Then he pulled the wheel hard to the right and we started doughnuting on the freeway.

CM: We were in a Jeep. I put my hand up on the roll-bar to steady myself and the Jeep rolled into the dirt to the right off the freeway. The Jeep rolled on my hand and we fell straight upright after a couple rolls and I remember the smoke was clearing. That was probably the most near-death for me. I had blood all over me and blood on my hand and head, cause I had hit that on the roll bar.

CM: It ended up being chill, though. I remember going to the edge of the highway and I saw a white sun there, super bright in the summer. These nice folks stopped and they were drinking a Dr. Pepper and I remember asking if I could have it because I felt like I had that card or ability or something – I needed some sugar or something. Then the EMT was coming and that set me into full relief. I felt like I had died in a sense, but I knew that everything was going to be all right.

CM: It was funny because they took us to this small hospital in Hunt, TX. They put a staple in my head and they sewed up my hand, which was fucked up. All I had was cut off shorts. I had no shoes or t-shirt and I had blood everywhere. They gave me a Tylenol 3 and as I walked out into the small village, I had to get shoes and a t-shirt, looking like a bonafide freak for at least a little bit.