Frontier Psychiatrist

Posts Tagged ‘Interviews

Chicago I Love You_Tom Schrader_Front Psych

Chicago musician and tastemaker Tom Schraeder thinks he’s on the verge of something big, and he wants to tell the world. Despite being sidelined by major art markets like NYC, LA or even Nashville and Austin, Schraeder believes in the strength and uniqueness of the Chicago art scene, so much that he built a month-long fest showcasing the best and most diverse work we have to offer. Chicago, I Love You takes place at Lilly’s in Lincoln Park, and covers the entire month of September. We had a chance to talk with Schraeder about his work, his plans and what there is to love about Chicago.

FP: Chicago, I Love You is an excellent event for a lot of reasons. I’m relatively new to Chicago, and somewhat unlearned when it comes to the local scene, so this is a great opportunity to start my education. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way.

TS: Yeah, that’s actually perfect, and part of the reason we set it up.

FP: How did it come to be?

TS: Originally, it was supposed to be a fun record release show for some friends and me, but it started to grow, and we realized it was something much larger. The more people I reached out to, the more people responded eagerly to get behind what we’re doing. With all the positive responses I got, I realized I could and should make it about something much larger than just myself. Now, the CD release will come much later. So, what came from just a fun idea, became a collective event. We’re all in this together now, and it’s a joint effort to build Chicago.

Basically, we don’t appreciate that Chicago is referred to as second or even third to big art markets like New York and LA or even Nashville. Maybe it’s because the city is so spread out, and based entirely upon these neighborhoods, that its hard to get a center for our art, but that also makes it that much better. So, now, we’re taking art from all these different neighborhoods and heritages and showcasing it in one central place, at Lilly’s. It’s a genre-less fest, that’s more showing off what the city can do and create that community.

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James Tadd Adcox, Artifice, Taxonomy

Author James Tadd Adcox

In The Map of the System of Human Knowledge, the debut short story collection by the Chicago-based writer James Tadd Adcox, the reader encounters suicidal appliances, people in search of prefab authority figures, couples failing in various ways, a house increasingly made up of tiny holes, and the sad, lonely lives of two archivists at the Hall of Classified Information. This collection of short fiction is at turns humorous, dark, mysterious, bewildering, and joyful.

Tadd, a Ph.D student in English at the University of Illinois-Chicago, recently took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to Gina Myers over e-mail about his new book and his editorial project Artifice Magazine, and wound up talking about taxonomy and knowledge, plagiarism and postmodernism, the connection between weird music and weird literature, and communicating with readers over Skype.

The title The Map of the System of Human Knowledge seemingly sets a lofty aim to your collection of stories. Can you discuss where the idea for the title, along with all the obsessive cataloging/mapping of titles within, comes from?

The original “Map of the System of Human Knowledge” was a system of taxonomy created by Diderot and d’Alembert for the 18th-century Encyclopédie. It aimed to be a categorization of all human knowledge. I’ve always been interested in systems that attempt, in some way, to be universal–other structures I considered for this collection include the Dewey Decimal System and the Library of Congress taxonomy. But I feel like the Encyclopédie’s map belongs to a certain moment of Western history, when the idea that you could contain all human knowledge in a single book didn’t seem totally insane. And there’s something about the crazy ambition of that that really appeals to me. Also, around the time I was putting this collection together, I was working as a taxonomist for an internet search-engine based here in Chicago. Being a taxonomist is not, as it turns out, as glamorous a thing as it sounds like, but it wasn’t a bad job for a couple of months.

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Justin Sirois, Falcons on the Floor

Justin Sirois is the author of three books, Secondary Sound (2008), MLKNG SCKLS (2009), and most recently Falcons on the Floor, which launches tonight (March 27) with a reading at Metro Gallery in Baltimore. Falcons on the Floor tells the story of two young men fleeing their homes during the US siege of Fallujah in 2004. The book is the result of research and a collaboration with Haneen Alshujairy, an Iraqi refugee. After completing two literary projects together, Justin and Haneen have gone on to launch The Understanding Campaign, which “promotes empathy and understanding over conflict.”

In addition to writing, Sirois is an editor and designer for Narrow House, a publishing group “creating interdisciplinary language-based craziness,” and he is an active member of the vibrant Baltimore arts community. Interviewer Gina Myers first met him in 2005 through the literary scene, and in 2007 they co-hosted a Lame & Narrow House event at the Carriage House in Baltimore. They recently spoke over email about his new novel and current projects.

When did you first start working on Falcons on the Floor?

It would have been late 2007 when I first started drafting the novel. I remember having the rough outline — two young men from Fallujah travel up the Euphrates River to Ramadi to escape the siege. So that part was fairly simple. Research took up just as much time as writing during the first 2 years. I had to surround myself with material: photographs, documentaries, autobiographies, really anything I could get my hands on. Interviewing Iraqis also helped to dig out details that I would have otherwise missed. That’s how I met Haneen Alshujairy. She helped out a great deal.

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Twin Sister

Long Island’s Twin Sister have been gaining momentum.  Last year, their EP Color Your Life finished 13th in Gorilla vs. Bear’s best of 2010 list, and the band finished 3rd in the “Best Hope for 2011” category of Pitchfork’s Readers’ Poll.  2011 has arrived and, following a well-received set at the Pitchfork Music Festival, they are ready to release their debut LP In Heaven September 27th on Domino Records.  Drummer Bryan Ujueata was kind enough to take some time to answer some of our questions about the band’s past, present, and future.

Frontier Psychiatrist: A couple of things stand out whenever I read anything about you guys.  The first is that you are uniformly referred to as a “Long Island” band.  If you google “bands from Long Island,” all you find are Blue Oyster Cult, Twisted Sister, and Taking Back Sunday.  Which is to say: in the image-conscious indie world, it’s pretty ballsy to identify yourself as Long Islanders.  Is this a conscious, courageous decision, a secret that leaked out, or just a plain fact?

Bryan Ujueata: It’s just plain fact.  The reason the confusion exists is because a majority of us have lived in Brooklyn at different points in time.  Also, listing ourselves as a “Brooklyn band” was convenient early on in our career so we would get contacted about playing more NYC shows, which were the better ones.

FP: The second thing I notice is that I can’t get through a sentence without reading that you are an “indie-pop quintet.”  Yet if listeners grab Color Your Life expecting something like Cults or Tennis, they’re in for a surprise.  The songs on that EP are much more structurally complex than typical “indie pop,” they’re more danceable, and they’re just plain longer.  Do you feel that you’re an “indie pop” group, and if not, how would you classify yourself.  Or would you classify yourself at all?

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Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation

(Today we begin our new series The Class of 2011, in which we profile up-and-coming artists through interviews, concert rundowns, record reviews, and more.  Check back throughout the Summer and Fall to learn about and listen to the year’s most exciting new bands.)

Boise, Idaho songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Trevor Powers, who performs under the nom de pop Youth Lagoon, has been getting a lot of attention lately.  Despite having only a handful of songs to his name, he has already established himself as one of the potential breakout stars of 2011.  His music has been shortlisted by a number of prominent publications, and his upcoming full-length debut, The Year of Hibernation, is likely to be lauded by the indie music press.  Trevor took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss the record, his songwriting process, and his experience as a musician in Boise with Frontier Psychiatrist last weekend.

Frontier Psychiatrist: Your debut full-length is titled The Year of Hibernation. How did you decide upon that title?

Youth Lagoon: I decided on that title because much of my life during that time was spent in a sense of hibernation. The year when I was writing those songs, I had a lot of stuff going on in my mind and my life, and so throughout the whole writing process I was, in a sense, hibernating in my bedroom. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sons of Dionysus

A Transmedia Novel of Myth, Mirth, and the Magical Excess of Youth.