lundi 25 octobre 2010

Interview - Jonah Schwartz

Let's widen the noise boundaries a second to include a folk-inspired songster, Philadelphian, bicycle activist and general lover-of-a-good-knees-up, Jonah Schwartz.

I. Name:


los palos borrachos

II. Name of completed projects, projects under way, and what you play:

springlizard, los palos borrachos, and a band with which we have been playing since may, but we still don't have a name. so..if there are any suggestions...

los alamos

III. Influences:

lucho bermudez, thomas mapfumo, ian mackaye, wallace stevens, john fahey, harry smith....people who have an uncompromising sense of artistic purpose, i guess.

IV. What motivates you?:

anxiety and love, and also walking.

Handmade homemade CDR "Dreams of the wolf", and its lushious vinyl sister below

V. Friend bands:

betty confettiiiiii!!!!!!! y warning with the snake, mariano rodriguez, rolando bruno, dick el demasiado, azur, mama rosin, amoeba

VI. What’s your music like from a political point of view:

in the sense that music is a serious democratizer, we like that lots of different people can listen to us. internet and such, etc. but we don't sing about politics. and musically i don't know if we are proactive or subversive in a political sense. journalists tend to like to disagree, and read messages that were perhaps unintended. that's what critics do, though. and that's alright. people used to say with my former band (los alamos) that singing in english was subversive. which is and isn't true. subversive with respect to the dominant paradigm of pop music in argentina, sure. but we were (and continue to be) so disinterested in commercial music that it almost seems a moot point.


VII. Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

the tomato of 2010 is so far from a recognizable source of vitamins that i would call it something more akin to a red water balloon.

VIII. Instruments:

acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica, clarinet, charango.

IX. What particular quality would you give to the sound that you like?

i don't think i understand this question. aren't we already making music? isn't the proof in the blood pudding?

X. What period of history has been a significant catalyst for the birth or development of the music you make?

i like thinking about history. but i am pretty happy to be alive now. clearly. because otherwise i wouldn't be alive at all. i like todorov and his history of the conquest of the americas. and i am reading about medievalness too. but again, and lest i become pedantic, better to be alive now.

XI. How do you combine your visual aesthetic with the aural?

whenever you have two things that should be related, people automatically look for the link, and form this kind of dialectic between them. in the case of springlizard, or really any of the other bands i play in, few of these things are actually consciously premeditated. when we released "dreams of the wolf," everybody except for one reviewer (julio nusdeo) wrote about how it sounded like we were sitting on a porch in alabama, drinking moonshine and ogling our sisters. because it is folk-sounding music and in english. and maybe because we have sideburns. and it made me think that these critics had either not listened to the album we had made, or had a very skewered idea of what southern american music typically sounds like. so clearly we need to redefine our visual+audio aesthetic to make it more congruent.

XII. What do you think about the production and edition of records in Argentina?

i don't participate in the system of legal releases in this country because it is incredibly economically unsustainable for small to mid-size bands. for a series of reasons, which i have thought about a lot but won't expound upon here, bands today still think it is important to spend 10,000 pesos to release 1,000 cds which will, in all likelihood, not even sell. my friends and i live by hazlo tu mismo. fuck sadaic, fuck the major labels. they will all be dead within 15 years anyway.

XIII. Which was the most popular pop song in the year you were born?

i am not one of these savant-memory people (not to mention i can't remember the year in which i was born (memories of the year, that is. i was born in 1980)), so according to google, this would be "call me" by blondie. could i chalk this up to lazy journalism?

XIV. Where is a musical group in Argentina heading, which doesn’t enjoy the same open medias and opportunities like those of, for example, Europe, the United States?

they could make music that they themselves like and fully believe in. who cares about press coverage? it is a means to a totally unsure and often insignificant end. but i guess it's cool for people that aren't yr friends or parents to listen to yr music.

XV. Describe the best concert you´ve seen in your life.

os mutantes, 2007 or 2008, i can't remember. they played for free at 3 in the morning in the center of sao paolo in the street. there were millions of people there, something like 15 blocks of human-ness. it was their first show in sao paolo since the 70s. not only did they totally rock (and not like these typical half-corpses from the 60s), but the level of emotional intensity that mutantes generated was so high, at one point i looked around and there were dozens of people in the crowd crying hysterically. holy shit. it was like a multi-million person orgasm.

Download Jonah's DJ set

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