"Crazy Crazy": Introducing Guinevere, Plus Chatting With Four Year Strong's Alan Day and Gregory Rogove


A Conversation with Guinevere

Mike Ragogna: Guinevere, you're a native of Toronto, right?

Guinevere: That's right.

MR: But you've recently branched out and started releasing your music here in the US.

G: Yes, that's true, and in Djibouti. The horn of Africa is pretty big on pop music. I'm kind of a big deal over there. (laughs) No, but for real, I've released a single called "Crazy Crazy" in Canada and the US, and I'm opening for Nick Carter and doing some headlining shows starting at the end of this month. All the dates are up on my website: http://www.thisisguinevere.com/

MR: So, I hear you're kind of a gamer, ain't ya.

G: Well, I guess you could classify me as a tomboy. I love video games, specifically Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3. Any game involving guns and zombies, it's a sure way to my heart. Boys, you should be writing this down.

MR: Is it true that you go online anonymously and play with other people?

G: Oh yeah, all the time. I have a little headset so that I can talk smack to people while I kill them off. Sometimes, I'll stay silent until the end of the game after I've buried everyone, and I tell them that I'm a girl. (laughs)

MR: Nice. (laughs) Nuketown Records is the name of your record label, right?

G: That's right. The name comes from a map on the game Call Of Duty, so gamers will get the inside joke.

MR: You're also pretty big into sci-fi. I heard you met a certain Captain Jean-Luc Picard or something like that?

G: Yes, ever since I was a little kid, I watched Star Trek - specifically, Star Trek: The Next Generation. And, no, I didn't actually get to meet him, my manager and his family did. He even took a photo with him and his son, and sent it to me. I almost cried because I was with my manager in LA at the time and only missed Patrick Stewart by a few minutes. I also love Star Wars. I'm a huge fan of those movies.

MR: Okay, let's talk about your new song "Crazy, Crazy," which was produced by Cirkut, who is super hot right now, working with Ke$ha, Britney, Rihanna, Flo Rida, and Taio Cruz. How did you get hooked up with him?

G: He was in Toronto when we met - this was seconds before he really blew up as a producer. We went to his really small studio downtown and he played these crazy massive beats and we knew he was incredibly talented. "Crazy Crazy" was one of the first songs we wrote and we worked on that and it all clicked so well in the studio that we ended up doing a bunch more. By the time we finished all of the songs for the record, Cirkut had been discovered by Dr. Luke and now he's working side by side with him creating these massive records for the biggest superstars. I'm grateful we found him first.

MR: Can you tell us a little bit about where the song "Crazy Crazy" came from?

G: The song came to me in the form of seven separate fortune cookies at a Chinese restaurant late one night. Nah, I'm kidding. We wrote a song about having fun with the person you're in a relationship with. It's kind of highlighting the "lady in the street, but a freak in the bed" mentality. (laughs) Being able to just have fun and being a total slut with your boyfriend or husband and freely expressing yourself, getting uncensored and crazy with the one you love.

MR: Your other single, "I Don't Believe In Love," is another collaboration with Ari Levine from The Smeezingtons who is nominated for the second year in a row for a Producer of The Year Grammy. Plus he produces and co-writes Bruno Mars songs.

G: Yeah, I am so fortunate to be able to work with him. He's so down to earth and cool. After the session, he took me to LA Gun Club and he taught me how to shoot a shotgun. I accidentally shot him in the liver. He's fine now. That was cool.
MR: (laughs) Wow. Can you ever go back to playing video games once you've had a real gun in your hands?

G: There are no zombies wandering the earth yet, so I guess the video games will have to suffice. (laughs) But the next time I'm in LA, I'm definitely going to The Gun Club to fire off a couple rounds.

MR: As I understand it, you started performing at a very young age. Is that right?

G: I think I was in grade one when I performed a Beach Boys song called, "Surfer Girl." That was kind of when I knew that this was something that I wanted to do.

MR: And legend has it some of your musical inspiration comes from your parent's classic rock tastes.

G: Yeah, actually. When I was about 13, I was listening to The Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears when my dad put on "Stairway To Heaven," and by the end of the song, I was blown away. I was like, "What is this? This is amazing!" From then on, I started exploring music from '60 to '79. I sat there and listened to a million different records and fell in love with the music of that era.

MR: Who were some of your influences?

G: Well, I'm a big Black Sabbath fan. I love Fleetwood Mac, The Doors and Stevie Nicks. I love her vocals, her presence. She's incredible.

MR: Can you tell us a little bit about where your stage name "Guinevere" came from?

G: My real name is Gwen, but I decided to go with Guinevere because I am into Arthurian legend, and in the King Arthur stories, she's so badass. She's strong, she followed her heart. She was the rock star of the castle. I like what the name represents.

MR: Nice. Has it ever been determined whether or not those stories have any basis in truth?

G: I would like to think that there's some truth to it.

MR: Can you discuss what went into creating your new album?

G: Most of the songs were written by myself and my manager, Amir Epstein. A lot of the work was done in the car. Driving to the studio on the highway, we'd go over the melodies over and over again and write the lyrics while sitting in Toronto traffic.

MR: Your style of music spans pop, dance and rock. So, how would you define it?

G: I like to call it "dark pop." It has pop sensibility, but the lyrics are very sarcastic and dark. Every single one of my songs conveys a truth - saying things that most people would be afraid to say in most situations. My goal was to send that message out there with aggressive lyrics.

MR: From your new album, let's talk about the song, "Beautiful."

G: (laughs) Ya, that's a good one. It's kind of payback for misogynists. Guys can be pretty cruel to girls in clubs. I have a lot of guy friends who will hook up with a girl in a club and they'll dance all night, and at the end of the night, all the lights turn on and they are like, "DAMN, you UGLY." I decided to write about that same idea, but in reverse. The song is about finding a guy at the bar and as soon as the lights hit his face, you realize that he is fugly!! (laughs) The chorus goes, "Oh my God, just go, now that I can see you, don't follow me home, really nice to meet you!" It's fun, silly and sarcastic.

MR: (laughs) It seems to be the same theme for the song "Liar."

G: Oh, yeah. It kind of pays homage to Alanis Morissette (a fellow Canadian). She's very aggressive with her lyrics. The song's attitude is a lot like "You Oughta Know." It's actually inspired by a situation one of my friends had with her boyfriend. I watched her go through being cheated on and lied to and how pissed I'd be if I were in her shoes. The lyrics are a raw, honest reaction to finding out you were cheated on.

MR: And there's your song "Go."

G: Yeah, a lot of people seem to connect to that song. It's bittersweet because it's talking about a better time. It's saying, "I thought it was love at first, but now that I realize it isn't, we need to move on, and although we will both hurt, we will both be ok. You need to enjoy your life." It's hard breaking up with somebody, especially somebody you love, but sometimes, love isn't enough. It's a dark kind of beautiful.

MR: Absolutely. You also bravely covered Bon Jovi's "Living On A Prayer."

G: Yes. That was so much fun. The verses and pre-choruses of the song were rewritten to make it my own. What I wanted to do was change the perspective and speak from the girl's point of view - what it must be like to be with someone who is away from home or on the road following their dream. Still, with the killer chorus, but now it's from the perspective of Bon Jovi's wife. It's her struggle in supporting her man and how strong their relationship must be to get through such a difficult lifestyle. Besides, it's fun to role-play being Bon Jovi's hot New Jersey wife in the '80s. I should have been born earlier!

MR: (laughs) Do you have any advice that you'd like to share with new artists?

G: Learn to knit and how to speak Nadsat. Seriously, I would advise to write from the heart. I know that sounds really cheesy, but that's how fans connect. If there's truth behind the songs you record, fans connect to that. Also, it's very important to surround yourself with people you can trust.

MR: And that is exactly what you've done, right? You take a DIY approach to your own promotion, don't you?

G: Yes, I do. I don't mind asking my amazing fans to help where they can. For example, I always ask my fans if they like my single, PLEASE request it repeatedly on every pop station in their town or city. How else will those stations know if their listeners like my single? It really means a lot to me.

MR: What do you feel are the best benefits using a DIY approach?

G: Complete creative control, for one. We get to release any single that we want, we get complete control over the videos we shoot, the producers we work with, the photographers we use etc. I think it's a risky thing to do, but at the same time having the power and freedom to express yourself is the best part of this. I really enjoy that.

MR: How do artists these days fund themselves without a record label?

G: It's different for everyone and it is tricky getting quality work for little money. But Canada has certain grants that the artists and bands can apply for to help fund a record, touring, websites, publicity etc. That's a leg up that Canadians have over people from the US. Also, sometimes, you can get people to do good work for less. Don't be afraid to ask. Try not to screw the starving musicians in your band, but if you can get a deal on unused studio space or a producer to work on spec, do it. A pleading look and a "pretty please?" helps. "Eyelash batting" is good to get musical funding or to simply get someone to buy you a beer. (laughs)

MR: So, how can your fans connect with you? Are you on all of the social networking sites?

G: Yes, for sure. I'm on Twitter and Facebook all the time. (laughs) Whenever someone tweets me, I will most definitely tweet them back. My Twitter account name is @thisisguinevere, and my facebook is http://www.facebook.com/thisisguinevere. I post things on a regular basis and respond to fans all the time. Check out my video on YouTube. Just search "Guinevere crazy crazy." I enjoy social networking because it's great to receive immediate feedback from fans.

MR: Do you have any more "singles" coming out soon that we should be looking out for?

G: Yeah. We just finished another song called, "Liberated." It's definitely a possible new single. It's a feel good song and I'm hoping to go nuts with the next video. Maybe more PVC and some light sabers or a gorilla in a gorilla suit. (laughs)

MR: (laughs) If there was one thing you would want from your fans, what would it be?

G: I would ask everyone to PLEASE request my song "Crazy Crazy" on their local radio station. Bombard them with requests. It's the #1 support a fan can give me.

MR: (laughs) One more question. As a gamer, have you come up with any video game ideas that you think people need to start working on?

G: How about "Maria Sisters"? Two Italian girls that have to search castles for their kidnapped prince. They can look the same, except one sister will be dressed in red, and the other in green. And one will have a fuller mustache. Feels familiar, doesn't it? How about an interactive reality gun game, where the player can turn on any reality show they hate and kill off any "real" characters they really dislike.

MR: Oh my. (laughs) Guinevere, thanks so much for spending some time with us, and all the best in the future and with your upcoming album.

G: Thanks so much, Mike. It was a lot of fun.

Transcribed by Evan Martin

Guinevere - "Crazy Crazy" Remix by FTR3


A Conversation with Four Year Strong's Alan Day

Mike Ragogna: Alan, I would describe Four Year Strong's sound as power-punk-pop...what do you think?

Alan Day: Yeah, that's pretty accurate.

MR: And maybe a little bit indie?

AD: Yeah, there may be a little bit of that mixed in there.

MR: Four Year Strong's In Some Way Shape Or Form is the band's fourth album. How did this one come together?

AD: We came out with the first record in 2007 and then we waited so long - almost three years - to put our next record out. So, we knew from that experience that we didn't want to wait that long. We were just dying to get this record out. We knew we wanted to do something a little bit different from stuff we've done in the past. We took a new approach to writing songs and that went better than ever. This record was a product of that.

MR: How did you guys write the music for this one?

AD: Well, in the past, we would concentrate mostly on the music - the chord progression, what the drums were doing, what the bass was doing - then write vocals on top of that. This time around, we realized that that approach really didn't make much sense. (laughs) We thought we should start to write the songs as songs - with vocals, melody and lyrics hand-in-hand, so that they actually work together instead of just feeling thrown together. That's what we did this time around and we loved it.

MR: So over the course of four albums - your first album counts as your first album, right?

AD: It's Our Time is actually just a really old recording we did when I was about sixteen or seventeen. (laughs)

MR: Okay, from then until now, besides the songwriting, how have things changed for you guys over the span of these projects?

AD: We've changed just as much as anyone else would as long as we've been together. We've been a band for about ten years and I think people have gotten to see a lot of different sides of the band. So many things can change us, whether we're listening to pop music a lot at the time or the experiences we've gone through as a band from touring to being in the studio. That just shows in our music. We weren't trying to be a different band when we were making this record, we are just starting to evolve into newer people and a newer band.

MR: By the way, the last album has one of my favorite song titles, "It Must Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now."

AD: (laughs) That was just a joke, really.

MR: And your fans are an integral part of the way you guys function as a band, isn't that right?

AD: Absolutely.

MR: For instance, you guys offered the free download of the song "Fair Weather Fan," which, I thought, was a great thing to do.

AD: Yeah. I mean, we've always thought that the fans were the most important thing about the band because if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here. We're not in an age now where we could just sit back and have a record label sell millions of copies of records and make money for us. We do this for the fans first. We tour all over the country and world all year so that we can give people our music. That's what this is all about.

MR: You guys had a sort of mini-tour recently to back up the release of your single.

AD: We just finished up on the AP Tour around the States about a month ago. Our new record came out about halfway through the tour, so of course the tour was definitely in support of that new release, and we started playing, "Just Drive" and a few other new songs. It was going really well.

MR: You guys even had a few pre-album releases of songs such as "Stuck In The Middle" and "Falling For You," though they weren't released as singles, right?

AD: That's right.

MR: Can you discuss the general theme behind this batch of songs?

AD: Sure. One of the things that we did on this record that we haven't really done on previous records is that we touch on darker subjects. We always like to keep our songs pretty open to interpretation because what people latch onto in songs and lyrics is the fact that that they can relate them to their own lives and experiences, not just learning about a story that Dan O'Connor or I wrote, but being able to really latch onto it.

MR: Dan being the other vocalist and guitarist, and you also have Joe Weiss and Jake Massucco in the band. How do all of you interact with each other as a band?

AD: Oh, it's a blast. We're just a bunch of kids on the road having fun and playing music. It doesn't get much better than that, right? (laughs)

MR: Right. (laughs) You mentioned before that some of these songs are a little darker, proof of that being "Security Of The Familiar, The Tranquility Of Repetition," which is a quote from V For Vendetta. Was it someone's favorite movie?

AD: I don't know that it's any of our favorite movies, we just sometimes name songs from movie quotes. It's a thing we do.

MR: So was the song title, "Unbreakable" inspired by the movie?

AD: (laughs) No, that one was more lyrically inspired. That's actually one of my favorites on the album.

MR: Did you guys intend for that to be a sort of sporting event anthem? It does kind of come off like that.

AD: Not really. I'm not even really that much of a sports fan. Joe is crazy about the Bruins, and Dan loves the Red Sox and the Patriots, Jake loves the Celtics, and I'm the odd man out. And I do like sports, I just grew up in a house that listened to music and didn't watch sports. I kind of feel left out all the time.

MR: Are you just saying you're not into sports because you're secretly a Yankees fan?

AD: No. (laughs) I wish that I could be that ironic, but I'm not.

MR: You guys all grew up together in Worcester, Massachusetts. How did you first get together as a band?

AD: Well, the drummer Jake and I grew up together. We went to elementary school together and played in bands every year since the third grade or something. Then, when I was a freshman in High School, we started this band with Dan. We went through a couple of lineup changes at the beginning, but here we are.

MR: A small portion of the proceeds from your "It's A Wonderful Gig Life Tour" are going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, right? How did that come about?

AD: That's right. We've always wanted to do something with a charity organization and Dan's brother passed away of Leukemia in 2004, I believe. He's always wanted to do something for that charity specifically, so we figured this would be a great opportunity to do that.

MR: There was the photo contest that you guys put together with the "Just Drive" video. Can you tell us about that?

AD: We had this thing on Instagram, which is an iPhone app and another form of social networking. It's kind of like Twitter, only Twitter gives you 140 characters to say what you want to say and Instagram lets you post a picture instead, and a picture is worth a thousand words, so they say. We thought it was a cool way to get this cool, new social networking site and the band to work together in a new cool way. People like taking pictures and sharing them with the world and we figured that this was a cool way to do it.

MR: You guys also have a limited edition t-shirt designed in conjunction with Johnny Cupcakes Clothing.

AD: Yes, we do. We've known people that work there for quite a while now because they're from Boston and we're from Worcester. SJC Drums is from Massachusetts as well, so we all just kind of got together recently where we got an event together and all of Johnny Cupcakes, and SJC Drums people were there. So, we did a shirt with Johnny Cupcakes and SJC Drums did a kickdrum head with all of the logos on it. We just thought it was a cool way for these small town kids who actually had ideas and made them realities through time celebrate that.

MR: Where did the name "Four Year Strong" come from?

AD: Well, the actual story is not cool at all. I wish I could make something up to make it sound really interesting, but there isn't. (laughs) There was a band called the Get Up Kids that we all really liked when we were freshman in High School, and one of their lyrics was "five years strong." So, we thought we would be cool and just change it to Four Year Strong and make that the band's name. That's it. (laughs) Not an exciting story.

MR: What's with those beards with you guys. Some kind of statement?

AD: No, we all just really like beards and we've had them a long time. We also all hate razors. I haven't used a razor and shaving cream and shaved my face clean in maybe seven years?

MR: Do you have any advice that you would give to newer artists?

AD: My advice has always been to just get out there and show the world what you've got, you know? It's so easy these days to create a website and record a record in Garage Band and just do it all from home. You can go on the Internet and get so many hits online and people will actually see you and hear your music. The best way, though, is to physically get out there and loose some money. Take money out of your pocket, invest in a tank of gas and go play a gig a couple of States away, even if it's to nobody. Everyone I know that is huge and successful kind of started like that. That's the nature of this business at the start. Eventually, once you've established yourself as an artist, you appreciate all of that so much more.

1. The Infected
2. The Security Of The Familiar, The Tranquility Of Repetition
3. Stuck In The Middle
4. Just Drive
5. Fairweather Fan
6. Sweet Kerosene
7. Falling On You
8. Heaven Wasn't Built To Hold Me
9. Unbreakable
10. Bring On The World
11. Fight The Future
12. Only The Meek Get Pinched. The Bold Survive

Transcribed By Evan Martin


A Conversation with Gregory Rogove

Mike Ragogna: Gregory, let's start with a little background for everyone. You grew up in Pennsylvanian Amish Country, born to Jewish parents, right?

Gregory Rogove: Yes. Well, my father is of Ukrainian-Jewish origins and my mother's side is a mix of English and French. But my mom converted to Judaism when I was born.

MR: And you also spent a year in India on a year-long scholarship?

GR: Right. When I was 18, I went there to study the North Indian classical drum, or the tabla.

MR: And from there, you also went to Singapore, Mali, Mexico and China where you visited the Peking Opera, right?

GR: Yeah. I was mesmerized by those gongs that can be simultaneously beautiful and nauseating when they're repetitively banged in your brain. (laughs)

MR: Later, you graduated from Wesleyan University in 2002 and was a recipient of the Pecora Award, correct?

GR: Yeah. That was more of a surprise than anything. That award wasn't something I was thinking about or planning for, it was something I got in the mail. I didn't think anything of it, really. I thought it had something to do with Indian food. (laughs) I thought maybe it was some kind of joke until I did a little research on the award. I was so pleased and my friends who identified themselves as actual composers were a little upset at that. I'm not sure how it happened, but I was very happy to get it.

MR: From there, you immediately formed the band Tarantula A.D, which later became Priestbird, right?

GR: That's right.

MR: Plus you've even had the opportunity to play with Beck and tons of other hugely talented musicians, and you even bonded with Paul McCartney, right?

GR: Well, to be honest, that's a bit of a stretch. I met Paul McCartney for a second, which was a lifelong dream for me. my mom was a huge Beatlemaniac. When she found out I met him, she cried tears of joy. (laughs) But that was only a brief, really embarrassing meeting. That's another story entirely, though. As for Beck, I played a show with Devendra Banhart in Reno in a God-awful casino. We did one Devendra song together and the Beck's drummer said that he thought I should do the song, so I played the drums with Beck's band as he sang with Devnndra.

MR: And let's not forget Megapuss.

GR: Good ol' Megapuss. (laughs) Before we even made any music, Megapuss was a band that Devendra and I put together while on tour. The name came from a bunch of confusing texts that I got from a very sweet Swedish girl. She was very innocent, but she ended all of her texts with phrases like, "...puss, puss, puss." Well, one of them was, "Megapuss," and I had no idea what she was talking about. I told Devendra and he thought it was awesome, so we had a band name. Turns out that the word means "kiss," so she was just sending me a mega-kiss via text. (laughs) We started writing titles of songs before we even had music, and we had a rule that we quickly write a song before a show so that by the end of the tour we had about 20 song sketches. When we got home I crashed at his place for about two months and we finished and recorded a record. We invited Fab Moretti from The Strokes to come in and sing a song. He's a great friend and a beautiful artist.

MR: Your new album Piana album focuses on John Medeski as the featured musician. Can you tell us about how that came together?

GR: Well, I spent a little time in Mexico writing these pieces. I wrote and recorded a version of all of the songs myself. When I got home I was working on some of the mixes and thought that I was extremely happy with the songs, but I'm not a trained pianist. I feel comfortable writing for the instrument, but I don't have the touch of someone who has an intimate relationship with the instrument. At that point, I had known John Medeski for a few years, though not very well. The drummer in his band was a very close friend of mine and my teacher's for a while. So, I reached out to John and asked him if he'd be interested in playing all of the pieces and he said, "Sure." I was so excited because he's such a master. I also thought it would be very interesting to have him do it because he's a virtuosic improviser and these are short, simple composed pieces. I thought it would be very interesting to have the tension of someone who wants to just paint with notes ad hoc and have that be restrained. He did an amazing job, but you could tell that the whole time, he just wanted to burst out of the strict composition structure, though we had one semi-improvised piece where you can really hear him shine. It's called, "Young Mountain."

MR: It's a beautiful song. So, you're on the Knitting Factory label.

GR: Yes, that's right. The label started in New York and they have a history of putting out a lot of the downtown, avant-garde musicians. Then the label changed hands, I believe. I don't know the whole history behind it. Anyway, they're back on the scene and putting out a really fantastic array of music. They have the entire catalog of Fela Kuti, who is a huge hero of mine. That was actually one of the selling points to me for the label. (laughs)

MR: Right. They also allowed you to do a companion DVD with distinct images that go along with this album. What's behind the concept?

GR: After I had all of the pieces in the can from Medeski's performance, I thought it would be really interesting to pass each one of the pieces on to artists that don't usually work with this material and try to rearrange it. The piano music stands alone, but it's so often a springboard for other music. So, I thought it would be interesting to send something with more of a classical lean to a folk artist or whatever. I started passing it out to musicians, but I also have a lot of friends who are visual artists who thought it would be interesting to do a multimedia project along with it. What if I gave it to painters or visual artists or sculptors to link sounds to these compositions? So, that's what I did. Everything kept rolling and rolling and eventually, I had each piece remixed and rearranged musically and reinterpreted visually. So, the DVD comes with a visual and musical reinterpretation of each song.

MR: And personally, I think the presentation was very unique.

GR: Thank you. The whole concept seemed so simple at first. Of course, it's always more complicated than you may think. But in the end, I'm very happy with the way that it turned out.

MR: Now, you drew inspiration for these pieces from French impressionists?

GR: Yeah. I've been playing the drums since I was 10 years old. It's kind of where I feel most natural. But I always loved writing songs and all kinds of music, so when I was 17 or 18, I came across Erik Satie's music and was completely taken with it. Of course, that led to Ravel and Debussy. But Erik's pieces in particular are so simple. I thought to myself that I could probably play those pieces if I just sat down at a piano long enough. I started teaching myself the pieces and just kind of kept hanging around the piano with those pieces and writing my own. All of that left an indelible mark on my perspective of music and writing. Over the years, I had a bunch of sketches like the ones on this album, but it didn't make sense for Megapuss or Priestbird or any of those bands. I really wanted to have a solo piano record because that's some of my favorite music to listen to as you're going about your day. It enlivens the world and I wanted to make an album like that.

MR: Right. Where was this album recorded?

GR: I wrote the songs in Mexico, but when the stars kind of aligned for us to record it with John Medeski, the plans changed. I had a kind of busy Fall when I needed to record, as did John, and we both happened to have the same two days off when we were both in New York. So, I shot up to Woodstock where John was incidentally starting to make sketches for his own solo piano record. We recorded in one day in this little wooden shack where John used to live in Woodstock, NY.

MR: Who's idea was it to put the apes in tighty-whities?

GR: That was a stop motion animation experiment that my girlfriend, Diana Garcia, and I did. We came across a studio that was allowing people to rent a bunch of studio equipment for free. It was sponsored by Levi's and when we saw all of the equipment, we knew we had to write something to produce. So, I wrote a little something and when I showed her she was a little crestfallen. She thought it would take our entire lives to film. She wanted to take an afternoon to film it and it ended up being about three weeks straight of animating. The story, I think, came from an idea I had while reading Jonathan Safran Foer's novel Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close. It's an image of our ancestors walking arm-in-arm through the savanah. It's kind of romantic - these Australopithecus creatures enjoying love the same way we know it now, back then. Then the sun burns out and there's a bit of chaos and they lose their clothes and are forced to leave the city and enter back into the wild. They no longer had the tools to live in that environment.

MR: Gregory, what advice do you have for new artists?

GR: I hear this from my heroes all the time, and I think it's so true: Do something original. Do something that stretches your boundaries and makes you uncomfortable, but that excites you.


1. Khadi
2. Carolyn
3. Jackyl
4. Castle Garden
5. Vines
6. Love Cherries
7. Casa Azul
8. Sunken Ships
9. White Room
10. Young Mountain

1. Carolyn - The Bees
2. Jackyl - Violens
3. Sunken Sh-illy (Sunken Ships) - Billy Martin
4. Vines - Natalia Lafourcade
5. Young Mountain - Devendra Banhart
6. White Room - The Storms
7. Khadi - Hecuba
8. Castle Garden - Carly Margolis
9. Love Cherries - Adam Green
10. Casa Azul - Lucky Dragons

Transcribed by Evan Martin