Sunday, June 15, 2003

Death Interviews JRB of Souvenir Recordings

Last night I dreamt that I was interviewed by Death about involvement in the Philadelphia-based band Souvenir Recordings. This is a transcript of the conversation:

Death: Mr. Boyd, thank you for having me today.

Ryan: I'm a big fan of your work. How do you find the time?

Death: Yes, well, things are busy, you know, all things considered. But's its getting to the point where we've subcontracted a lot of the work out; for instance the whole Iraq thing: I told them from the beginning that I wouldn't touch it unless they got me some help this time. I mean, you had this huge humanitarian crisis before the war even began. Then Bush says he's going to drop ordnance all over the goddam place; that must have started last September or so, you know, when I started hearing about it. And so I told them no way. Africa alone has enough work already; if they want Iraq done right, then they'd better just go on and hire more people.

Ryan: I guess it worked.

Death: Yeah, they laid off me a lot. When it comes down to it they know it's in their own best interest to let me run the show. But you get these kids from Wharton--you know, Ivy Leaguers--who think they're going to come in and cut costs and slash benefits and turn this into a cash cow. But that's not the way it works; this isn't the health care system. Once I raised a stink about it things got better almost immediately. But enough about me. How is the band going?

Ryan: Well, the band is awful, at least in strict musical terms. We are doing pretty well otherwise.

Death: How did Souvenir Recordings get started?

Ryan: I don't know. We all met. It's not a great story or anything, and it doesn't really lend any insight into why we're so terrible.

Death: Okay, next question. Do you prefer playing in a band or by yourself?

Ryan: I think neither.

Death: Do you like playing live?

Ryan: I do, but only insofar as I really don't. I feel like I've accomplished something when I do it.

Death: Who are your influences?

Ryan: Actually, right now I really admire Sleater Kinney and the girl from Cat Power. I don't really know anything of their music. I like who they seem to be as people. Sleater Kinney work day jobs and seem very down to earth. The girl from Cat Power talks about her ultimate goal as quitting music and working with kids. She's so clearly not a part of that world--the industry, the indie scene, everything. It's really inspiring.

Death: You haven't heard their music?

Ryan: I know one SK song, and I love it. But my impression of them is as some kind of indie-punk, and punk is not my thing. Cat Power I don't think I know anything. It's some kind of indie. But it doesn't matter. I like that they're approaching everything on their own terms and that's inspiring to me.

Death: Do you know when SR will be releasing anything?

Ryan: What a terrible thing to ask!

Death: You're not interested in recording albums?

Ryan: Personally, no. Collectively, yes, I think it's on the horizon.

Death: How can that be reconciled?

Ryan: Just promise you'll come visit me again soon.

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