Why did you change?
We didn't. We just grew up. We got tired of being bloggeresque. We wanted to be something more substantial.
What are you?
I am a writer, and I am a historian. I am not a journalist; I am not a blogger. I am not a cultural critic. Those tags are meaningless, and they are associated directly with commerce. They're not connected with art, and they're not really connected with anything outside of the consumerist culture with which they exist. Those titles imply certain elements and connotations that I find repulsive, and I wish to distance myself from them at all cost.
Where are the record reviews?
I'm tired of them, but I still do them. Just not as much. Look at it like this: I spent five years of my life writing lots and lots of record reviews, while doing few interviews. So for the next five years, I'm reversing that trend.
Because record reviews are simply my opinions, my interpretation of an experience in listening that is unique. Ultimately, opinions do not matter outside in a concrete world. For instance, if I dislike Death Cab for Cutie, it does not mean that they are a bad band, or that they are not good at what they do, or that they do not have talent. It simply means I do not care for them. If you care for them and disagree, that's fine. But just because I dislike them shouldn't imply things about me, either. These are opinions, and they are tied into something I can no longer fathom. I know some amazing review writers; in fact, our boy Sean is one of the best. I personally am not as interested in that aspect of music writing. I am, however, more than interested in the artists themselves.
Please note, however, that this doesn't mean I'm totally turning my back on writing reviews, because I'm not. I'm simply going to devote my time to writing about things I actually *like*. Which would you rather do: would you rather devote your time writing about how you feel about a Picasso painting, or would you rather talk to Picasso about that painting? I know what I'd rather do. But at the same time, if something moves me to writing about it, I'm going to write about it.
May I send you a record for consideration?
You may, yes. I encourage it! Be advised, however, that sending a record doesn't ensure coverage. But here's how it will go down, just so you'll know: after listening to your record, if I like what I've heard, you'll receive an email from us saying we like your record, which will follow with the phrase, "I want to interview you." If you are cool, then we'll talk and hopefully it will go well and then something will appear in the near future afterwards. Also, please be advised that I do write for other outlets, and we also have a myspace accounts, and our bulletins often promote and talk about awesome music. Did I just say "awesome?" Ugh.
A note to publicists: if you want us to cover your records, then you need to be willing to respond to interview requests. Some of your clients are in demand, yes; some are on tour. But if you give us the runaround, it'll become obvious, and guess what? It causes problems. I am a patient person. I am a fair person. However, if your client or their label is paying you thousands of dollars to promote their record, do your job, and let those who are interested in your clients actually talk to them! That means that you should listen to publications that are interested in interviewing your client.
Also, I must say that this practice of "working" a record for a small moment in time is absurd. A record is a work of art, it's not food, and it doesn't have a shelf life. Yes, I understand that there are campaigns for a certain amount of time, and I can appreciate that. But please, spare me the "the publicity campaign ended yesterday/last week" line, especially after two or more weeks of no response to my email. Because you're lying . Think I'm stupid? I've been in this business for well over a decade. I don't buy it. Lies like that are so unoriginal. Same with the "I sent you the record" when you didn't send the record—I've done this long enough to know when someone hasn't. Get organized!
Bottom line: don't be weak.
With all of this talk of being more exclusive, I take it you've gone rather highbrow?
Why would you think that? We really love music here—all kinds of music. That's the only rule we have for our content. If it's good, we cover it. Surprisingly simple, no? We're not snobs. We have good taste. But mainly we just love music. We just hate all of the chaff around in this music world today, and, honestly, we're no longer interested in giving it any quarter.
But it boils down to what Duke Ellington once said. "There are only two kinds of music. Good, and the other." We're interested in the good, regardless of what handy-dandy stupid-ass label or pigeonhole this music business happens to give it.
So if you don't talk to us, you don't like us?
No, not necessarily. It might mean that I haven't heard your record yet. But if we don't cover your music, don't fret. Your music might grow on me. I might respond to it differently at a later date. Or I might not. But don't feel bad; mine is just one opinion, and it shouldn't be considered an invalidation of your talent that we don't care for your record.
What prompted all of this?
Many reasons exist, so I'll try to be as general as possible about it. Music writing and musical tastes have become so polarized, so divisive, so boring. When it comes to music, being erudite doesn’t really mean anything. It seems like people want their "indie" or their "punk" or their "rap" or their "experimental" or their "(insert meaningless musical genre title here)" and that's all they want and that's all they can fathom and that's all they can appreciate. You wouldn't spend your life saying "I'm only going to read poetry because poetry is the only thing I like, and anything that's not really poetry isn't very good," would you? That's a pretty stupid and narrow minded way to live, don't you think? So why would you want to be that way about music? It makes no sense to me. It really doesn't. So I decided it was time for us to simply remove all pretense and focus on what really matters most: the art. It is my hope that by allowing the artists to speak for themselves, it will prompt you, dear reader, into examining and discovering some truly talented and interesting artists, and it is our guarantee that we actually like the music we are covering. Period. That's all that matters to us, really.
So what can I expect from Mundane Sounds, then?