January 16, 2007
AVC: How's the Danger Mouse collaboration coming along?
ML: I'm not really sure where the thing is going to go as a whole. I really like The Grey Album, it's really one of my favorite things, so I guess I'm trying to pick up there with this pop thing. I'm trying to inject whatever kind of pop thing I do, and I'm trying to pull out more of his pop-slash-hip-hop vibe.
Q You can almost listen to the entire album as a commentary on the continued importance of the album in the post-iTunes era
A I love the fact that it's almost like the Phil Spector era again, where you had "Be My Baby " by the Ronettes, then you had "Baby I Love You" -- you had a bunch of things released as singles and then they came out as an album. But yes, it is a very definite commentary, in the form of a brand new CD, of the importance of albums and the whole album-listening experience, of listening to a collection of songs from one artist and that album seeming to have a life of its own.
The A.V. Club: Cold War Kids have been compared to Tom Waits in reviews. Do you consider him an influence on your music?
NW: He does what he does a lot better than we do what we do, but yeah, I think we emulate some things that he does. He uses probably four different chord structures for every one of his hundreds of songs, and just tries to use them in really tasteful ways. Our songs are fairly simple. It's all about how you do them, and not so much what you're doing.
The Des Moines Register examines a local mother-daughter book club.
Stylus names its top 15 movies of 2006.
Guernica interviews author Ha Jin.
Guernica: Most of your fiction is concerned with contemporary China. Occasionally you see ancient China coming into perspective, but mostly you shy away from that long history, and I’m wondering why.
Ha Jin: When we write poetry or fiction, it’s not just that we know people or we do a lot of research and then create an interesting story. You have to have a physical sense of a place, physical sensations, a lot of texture, a lot of concrete, tangible details. I haven’t written about ancient China, and that doesn’t mean I cannot, but when we write historical fiction, there is always a danger to be trapped in history. So the question is how to leap from history to literature. That is very hard to do, but there are great examples, for instance, Tolstoy’s War and Peace and the Japanese writer, Shusaku Endo’s Silence.
Mogopop is a place to publish and download original iPod content.
An MSNBC reporter tries out for American Idol.
While waiting in line, I met a pretty blonde girl named Jessica, who had flown in from LA for the audition. She had auditioned once before and was more than willing to share her experiences. When I asked her for any advice, she looked at me with serious eyes and relayed a message that I shall share with you, the reader: Remember that first and foremost this is a reality TV show, not a talent show. At Jessica's previous audition, she reported that a girl dressed up like the Statue of Liberty was ushered in to see the producers without even having to audition. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses desperate for fame.
TD: Do you feel like you’re more comfortable with your fame?
EH: It’s really weird because I don’t feel legitimately famous at all. It’s really confusing because its not like I’m f**kin’ Jennifer Aniston. Lots of people have not heard of Metric, lots of people have not heard of Broken Social Scene. It happens all the time where I go to these places and the people have no idea, which is fine, and then I’ll turn the corner and it’ll be the opposite. It’s just hard to figure out. I just go with assuming that no one knows what the hell I’m doing.
Well, people often dismiss complicated music as "weird." How would you respond to that?
That's fine; I've been called weird my whole life ... People should be able to listen to it and hear things in it for themselves. Maybe it's just hard for people to describe. Anyway, I'm used to the lack of description at this point; it doesn't really bother me.
Are there things you think people could maybe have as a reading list to go alongside this record?
I really wouldn’t want anyone to feel the way I did when I was writing this record. God, it would almost start with Michel Houellebecq or something. I don’t think anyone should ever read his books – I don’t think I’ve ever been so hurt by literature.
see also: part one of the interview