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neumu
Thursday, December 14, 2017 
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Neumu = Art + Music + Words
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Inquisitive

It's 'Those Girls From Sleater-Kinney'

Making punk rock 'n' roll in a post-9/11 world.

Interview Jenny Tatone
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"You accumulate more knowledge when you get older, about yourself and about the world, so there is some sense of serenity. But it can also bring up more questions; the more you know about yourself and other people, the more frustrating that can be also." — Carrie Brownstein
Tatone: I think when you're in your early 20s there's so much angst, worry and anxiety in your life, and as you get older it seems you start to feel more at peace. Do you feel like you're in a more comfortable place, more settled? Or is there still a lot you worry about?

Weiss: You mean in the band?

Tatone: Or personally, 'cause that would affect the band too.

Weiss: I guess there's — wait, what's the question? Do we feel more at peace, yes or no?

Tatone: Well, yeah, and how it affects your songwriting, if at all?

Carrie Brownstein: You accumulate more knowledge when you get older, about yourself and about the world, so there is some sense of serenity. But it can also bring up more questions; the more you know about yourself and other people, the more frustrating that can be also. Our lives aren't static, so our songwriting isn't gonna be static. It's gonna fluctuate depending on what's going on in our lives, so there's always something to draw from. It's affected our songwriting in that way. We don't song-write in a vacuum, so it's gonna change as we change.

Tatone: That leads to one of my other questions. Do you feel like being artists, being musicians, writing songs, forces you to feel more and think more? Maybe your awareness is heightened, or your consciousness is more than if you were just living a nine-to-five job and not really forced to think so much?

Weiss: Seems like a "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" People who make art or play music or write do so because they're compelled to. It's a necessary act. Maybe their sense of their surrounding is heightened to start with. It would be backwards to assume you play in a band and then you have these experiences that you need to write about; you have to create them in order to have subject matter. You experience something and then you wanna communicate it to other people.

Tucker: I think there's such a thing as having an artistic temperament that is more sensitive, more headstrong. [You're] more emotional, more traumatic. You definitely have a hard time, maybe with school, all that kind of stuff. Usually those are the things that compel you into wanting to do art, perform, throw yourself into that compromising [laughing].

Weiss: Exactly.

Tatone: Although your band has been known to always put music first, Sleater-Kinney songs have expressed particular ideas and politics. Have those beliefs changed with the times? Do you see things as having gotten worse? Like, maybe getting a little jaded? Like on the title track you sing "Is real change an illusion?" Do you think real change is an illusion?

Tucker: Asking the question in that part of the song — the whole point of the song is to be like, "We could be on the brink of our world going a vastly different direction." Especially because of what happened with Sept. 11 and the ways the old machinery of the government just clicked into place: get those bombs ready, get your cars gassed out. All of that old-time thinking was ready to go, ready to be in place. And the majority of America was in shock, so they didn't say anything — you're afraid to speak out.

Problems that we're faced with today are in some part because of that traditional thinking: that we have to put our economy first, our gas-run economy and our dependency on oil, and that's really tied to our presence in the Middle East.

That whole song is about "What if we could really let go of this old way of living?" That whole song is presenting this idea of, like, 'What if our lives were totally different? What if we could invent something that was brand new? What if we put our energy into that instead of gearing up the military just like we've always done, and instead we used our thinkers and our scientists to help create a different mode of society? That is what that song is supposed to be presenting, but it is from the point of view of the invention, and the idea of fusion, saying, like, "I am the new possibility. I am the new generation and you would be so lucky if you would open your mind to me."

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