TaughtMe "Lady" interview

several months ago I did an interview with a gentleman called Barry Moore for his website called IndieRockReviews.com. Moments ago stumbled upon it a second time and thought I'd post it for those potentially interested. Hi!

IRR: Why do you play music? What's the point of it all?
TaughtME: I often don't know. Currently I lack a firm answer to that question. At many points in the past I would have given you a very persuasive response containing phrases like "self exploration" or "individuation" and definitely the word "catharsis".  As of today, this moment, I am not so sure why I still make music.One less romantic reason that remains a constant for me is that I am good at music and that I am validated by others for doing it. I am very poor in many other areas of life. Its rewarding to have a talent and to have it understood by peers.

IRR: Is there a tangible moment you can identify when you thought that this is what you wanted to do full-time or long-term?

TaughtME: A tangible moment? No. But over the past 6 years I have filled the suit of someone who makes sounds. I have only considered doing music full-time while daydreaming. Then I wake up. Long term? yes. yes. yes. I expect that I will always make music. I just don't expect it to support me financially. It seems too core to my identity and my heart to "move on" or to resign to a life free of music making. Sometimes I romanticize myself as an aging father, writing the best albums of my life about domestic life. about cats. about kids. about old age.

IRR: What are your biggest influences? (This answer is not exclusive to music)
TaughtME: Can I just name several people who have charmed me over the last good while? thanks. ee Cummings, Rufus Wainwright, LOW, Neutral Milk Hotel, Joanna Newsom, Stina Nordenstam, Bjork, Marcel Proust, Little Wings, Phil Elverum, Will Oldham, Carl Jung, Alan Watts, cats, and.. uhm, .. thats all for now.

IRR: Who is your favorite person that has existed on the planet Earth ever?
TaughtME: After scratching my head over this one for too long, I concede that "no one"... right, no one is my answer. I don't believe that I have a favorite person. And this answer worries me. Am I too judgmental to have a favorite? Sheesh. I hope not.

IRR: Who is your favorite person in the whole world right now?
TaughtME: Joanna Newsom. Because I listened to "Y's" last night while traveling the Nevada desert and her words and sound stirred me in places I haven't named.

IRR: Is there anyone in particular you would thank for giving you guidance or help as you started out in writing songs or playing shows?
TaughtME: (By writing the following response, I publicly confess to being an ingrate) So be it.... I am often frustrated that I have not had many real life mentors. It’s perhaps one of my fatter regrets, not finding a mentor. The closest that I have had to mentors should rather be called 'contemporaries' or friends instead. Or they are artists who I have never met. For a list of those artists, refer to the question above about "biggest influences". I suppose that the list of influences above is the list of my mentors. I only wish that I had known them close enough to smell them.

IRR: What kind of people do you run with? What people do you play shows with often or are friends with or people you like to play shows with when you get a chance to?
TaughtME: I want to run with people who are cartoons as much as they are people. I'd like to run with older people. I'm tired of young people lately. I want to play shows with some oldies; some old cartoon lady with cats crawling upon her. Perhaps she'd close her eyes and sing from a rocking chair.

IRR: Have you read any good books lately? Movies?
TaughtME: I read "the Road" lately. It was beautiful and I identified strongly with the protagonist's position. The man walks with his son throughout a post apocalyptic America, holding onto crumbs of hope when there is no obvious reason why he should. I found it in large part to be a book about aging, about retaining hope amidst entropy. The innocent boy and the time-weathered man. I like this contrast.

IRR: Do you think there's a difference between a musical artist and an entertainer? Where do you draw the line and what side do you think you stand on?
TaughtME: I don't think that I care where that line is drawn. It might be an interesting conversation... but perhaps not... I want to be entertained. We all do. I suppose that all art, be it high or low art, "entertains" us. I am mostly interested in art that entertains me, then stays with me after also.  I long for nuance and subtlety in film and music. I like when an album or film enlivens my creative mind instead of simply gorging it. Have you seen "My life as a dog"? It’s a Swedish film from 1985. It’s amazing. I saw it last night. It is my ideal movie.

IRR: Why the name TaughtMe?
TaughtME: Because it has only vague connotations. I had a song called "TaughtMe" and I liked the way it looked and felt. And since the name was ambiguous, I chose it. Looking back, I suppose that there is something interesting about the word "teach" or "Taught". If we were called instead "october's betrayal" then you might assume we were a cheesy emo band. I hope that you cannot prejudge TaughtMe after merely hearing the name. hmm.

IRR: If you had a chance to tour with any band you wanted, irregardless of who it was (like for example, please don't let a huge band that would make you lots of money by touring with them sway you, I'm asking solely for experience purposes) who would you want to tour with?
TaughtME: Like I said.. I want a damned mentor. So I'd love to tour with any of the artists I've named above. Perhaps Will Oldham. I'd perhaps follow him around like a little geek and try to be nice to him. "..hey buddy! what ya doin? do you like orange juice?.. its good huh?.." Actually, now that you've got me thinking, IT would be Bjork. I want to tour with Bjork. I won't hold my breath for that one, but if she calls me, I'll concede.

IRR: Any amazing tour experiences?
TaughtME: So many. I love touring for the simple fact that interesting things happen. I don't know why. They just do. For example, 2 weeks ago in Barcelona, someone slashed our tire, then stole my bag while we were repairing it on the side of the road. FUCK.

IRR: What song of your own creation is your favorite?
TaughtME: I don't have a favorite. But I have songs that I favor at various times. I guess I could say that I like my new songs. They aren't on an album. They are sung by an old man.

IRR: Why don't you seem to be happy with the result of your new album?
TaughtME: Uhgg. This response could consume pages. The short answer is.. perhaps that I had expected to capture the songs closer to how they were conceived. I have had what I believe to be an extraordinarily dynamic last 2 years and I thought that these songs would demonstrate this to the listener. I suppose that in part, it worked. But overall, I get the feeling that the songs are at best a hazy dull or blunted representation of what they are meant to depict. It has been frustrating and alienating to concede this failure, to admit that I wasn't able to explain myself.

IRR: What would you do differently?
TaughtME: I hope to record most of my next one live, using musicians much more talented than I. And also, I plan to spend MUCH less time on it. I whittled this one into dust. No, I whittled this one until the wood was gone and I was chopping at my poor hands.

IRR: Anything TaughtMe fans have to look forward to in the future? How do YOU feel about the future?
TaughtME: I regret to admit some cynicism for the future. But I am trying to remain hopeful. TaughtMe fans can expect me to try very hard to give them something genuine and true. I will fail. But I will perhaps come close.

IRR: How did OWN Records come about and how do you like working with them?
TaughtME: OWN Records found TaughtMe online. They then contacted me and expressed interest to work with me in the future. I then produced an "Uzi & Ari" album that they subsequently released. Following that album, they put out "Lady". I cannot express enough how great OWN Records is. They have the truest and purest work ethic. They put out music that they believe in, despite the difficulty of marketing the release. PLEASE, go to www.ownrecords.com and check out their stuff. They have released some staggering music. Beautiful.

IRR: If there was a battle between Transformer and GoBots, who would win?
TaughtME: I'm pretty sure that Go-bots was a rip-off of Transformers. So Transformers would just use their lawyers to decimate the Go-bots before the battle begun. Typical. Boring.

IRR: Do you have a favorite ninja turtle?
TaughtME: No. But when I was 7 my best friend became Splinter for a whole month. He refused to speak in his real voice and he walked around with a walking stick and a cloak. I loved that.

IRR: What kind of animal would you be, if you were an animal? Bird? Fish? Mammal? Frog? Etc...
TaughtME: I am an animal. I am a cat. If I could be a different one.. maybe a man. Or a wolf.

IRR: If you had a backup chorus of cats or dogs for your recordings, what would you prefer using?
TaughtME: Cats would never be down for that. They aren't beholden to humans in the same way that dogs are. Dogs would do it for the meagerest scrap of bologna. Shit.. a dog would do it just to kiss an owners ass. Cats would rather sit in the sun, perched above any potential bother.

IRR: Do you miss Utah?
TaughtME: No, not really. I don't find myself very sentimental these days. It’s a good place, I'll give you that. People from there often complain about it. But having driven around most of America, I believe it’s a good spot.

IRR: How is San Francisco?
TaughtME: San Francisco is great. Our Mayor Gavin Newsom is trying to institute a mandatory monthly evening where a chief S.F. intersection is closed to cars to make room for Yoga and dancing. Imagine that! A government that makes yoga and dancing a priority. It’s this type of thing that makes the rest of America scoff at S.F. And its this type of thing that endears me to it.

IRR: What do you like or dislike about either place?
TaughtME: Utah's geographic landscape is diverse and beautiful. The Bay areas geographic AND social landscape is diverse and beautiful.

IRR: What would you say to all mankind if you thought it would make a difference? Like if you had one thing to say to other people and you knew they would listen and think about what you said, and probably change, what would you say? What ideal would you instill?
TaughtME: All we have is now. Then I'd say, "I don't know."

IRR: If you had a chance to invite a guest engineer/musician to record with you on your next album, who would it be?
TaughtME: Tchad Blake or Dave Fridmann. Tchad Blake (Stina Nordenstam, LOW) is an amazingly creative engineer. Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT, LOW) makes records that are visual. Both are great.

IRR: Do you prefer water sports or snow sports?
TaughtME: I don't participate in either. Thanks for pointing it out!

IRR: Bowling or board games?
TaughtME: I like both for their ability to get people chatting while absorbed also in the game. Balderdash is pretty cool.

IRR: Do you prefer the history channel or the sports channel?
TaughtME: That to me is a very easy answer. HISTORY CHANNEL! Although, I am sometimes bored with the shows they do often about war technology. I prefer the ones about the wars themselves, fom a human standpoint. History is filled to the brim with awe inspiration.

IRR: MTV or Turner Classic Movies?
TaughtME: C'mon now. MTV is ridiculous. Obvious.

IRR: If you had a chance to meet any celebrity, who would it be and why?
TaughtME: Joseph Smith, so that I could get a feel for his character.

IRR: Any questions you wish I would have asked? (I tried to cover everything, sorry if I missed something)
TaughtME: Nope! Thank you Barry! May your holiday season give you lovey feelin's.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 13 December 2008 )