Well, it’s happened! Time to celebrate! In 2012 I have achieved my personal best for the most interviews I’ve done in a year—130+ interviews! I just want to take a little moment to say THANK YOU with my whole heart to all the individuals that have let me interview them, and been so gracious with their time, for opening up and trusting me with their thoughts, stories and to share their experiences. I’ve interviewed so many AMAZING, talented, highly creative, thoughtful individuals—I give thanks (at my little meditation altar) daily for these opportunities and connections in my life.
Also, a great big THANK YOU to my readers! Thank you especially to anyone that has taken the time to leave a comment or has reached out and written me personally, it means so much to connect with you, I love hearing about all your creative projects and dreams!
I wanted to share my personal favourite interviews for 2012 (click their name for the full interview)…think of it as my own kind of Barbara Walters style Most Fascinating People of the Year list! ;)
I used to do dance class when I was a really little kid, when I was about five or six. They had specially made singles for our dance class [laughs]. I remember getting them and playing them. I remember being really into Tony DeFranco and The DeFranco Family, which was kind of like our teen sensation, kind of like our Justin Bieber of the 70s. Probably my biggest record was Carole King’s Tapestry that my mom had that I just listened to over and over and over again and the soundtrack from Chorus Line [laughs]. I loved music when I was little, I just never really had very much of it. I had the 7 inch of ‘Dancing Machine’ by The Jackson 5. Probably one of my biggest musical moments was listening to that song over and over again and making up dances to it in the basement.
I mostly grew up in the suburbs of Detroit so I was always going downtown to see bands and I absolutely loved it. The blocks of burnt out Victorian houses, steaming sewer caps, absolutely empty, it was hauntingly beautiful. When I actually moved downtown I was in heaven. I was a block away from the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Public Library and Wayne State College Campus were walking distance and that’s just the things that were open. There was the abandoned train station, countless abandoned houses and warehouses, churches. It was a fantasy! I had a couple friends and we’d just traipse through all these amazing places. Taking pictures, collecting treasures, it was endlessly inspiring. I think those years really cemented the aesthetic I employ.
The one song that people know (if they know at all, it’s over 30 years ago) is the song (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear. That was about these paranormal experiences I was having with my girlfriend at the time. We were in telepathic contact with each other when I was on tour. We would discover we’d be having the same dreams and we always seemed to know what the other was doing which, sometimes was proved uncomfortable [laughs]. Not that I made much of it but, being in a rock band girls would pay attention to you. The kind of contact me and my girlfriend had was not always something I wanted let me put it that way [laughs].
I was working on a song very late last night and I mixed it this morning. I create something every day because it is a reaction. I don’t make art to be popular or seen, I make it because my hands have to, otherwise I’ll extinguish my own life. We’ve all had strange experiences in our lives; to deal with different things, many times, people make art and make music as a catharsis, as a therapy—that’s what I do. I have to do things with my hands or with my voice or with my brain so that I don’t get extremely depressed or extremely angry at the world.
Spirituality for me means to believe that I was created with purpose. That’s my whole foundation, that I was born uniquely with purpose; that I was moulded together, every hair on my head, every experience that I went through, every heartbreak, every closed door, every person that walked into my life up until today—there’s a purpose for it. It gets me excited to be my very best and to expose myself to what could happen next. It’s all chronological; it all has to do with each other. For me, it’s also praying, having a conversation with God, actually thanking him in the morning for what took place and touching base throughout the day. And, trust me I am not the most holy saint of a person. I swear like a sailor… I’m pretty raw with my spirituality too and that’s what I love, having a really good communication level with praying. I love that when I talk to God that I’m talking to him just like I am talking to you or my best friend over a couple of beers. It’s no different; you don’t get any different side of me. What is different about who God is for me as opposed to talking to just any other person is that I thrive to mould myself to be better because of him. It’s a different sense of mentorship.
I like the sounds of guitars and drums but outside of that, I live near the ocean so I like that. I enjoy the sound of the waves on the rocks. I like natural and quieter sounds too. Although I have this constant ringing that gets in the way of subtler stuff. I don’t care for the car sounds and motorcycle sounds so much. Some of the construction sounds can be interesting. I’m not as attracted to them as I once was. I used to run a factory floor and we worked with power tools all the time and I thought the sounds of the saw as they’d bite into the wood would slow down and speed up and the ring of the blade and all that had a thing. Now my favourite sounds are more naturalistic outside of music.
I think PMA for us has been all about connection, self-care, perspective, gratitude and optimism. Some of us are empowered by the catharsis of exercise, relaxation, creativity and service to others. Others are reminded of the better things in life simply by having a beer or juice while hanging out with friends or making new ones. Reminders of joy and potential are in all the books, records, and experiences we take in from others, and, overall, self-acceptance gives us the strength to overcome our mistakes or shortfalls and get through each day. If you don’t count on yourself then you’ve already been knocked down at the knees before you’ve even come across anyone/anything else. Most of all, we desperately grab on to any opportunity for fun, silliness and laughter – nothing is perpetual if it’s not enjoyed and self-fulfilling.
Music has been a solid creative outlet for me my whole life, I was quite obsessed with classical music when I was kid and would try to compose in my head but as I grew older the rock n roll lifestyle seemed a bit more… hip or something haha. I first started playing in bands when I was around 14 and have had around 6 months since then of not being in a band when I moved to Brisbane. I play in 4 bands, have been a DJ on 4ZZZ, do sound at venues around Brisbane, have studied music full-time for 4 years, I always played music at school, after school and for fun at school. I make records, record records, collect records. Music is really the most real and driving force in my life. It’s always there. It’s amazing how quickly a shitty day can disappear when head to rehearsal, attend a show, or put a record on.
Life for everyone downtown was a cross between an urban apocalypse and the wild west. New art and graffiti was everywhere – punk had started, hardcore was beginning, rap was happening, and there were illegal venues all over. You could build a bonfire in a deserted and demolished lot in the middle of the East Village and the police would ignore it. They had better things to do.
I think boxing movement is all about three time. If you’re thinking in fours you can’t move properly. Ethiopian music is all in three time. I like keeping fit and playing sport. I’m really into daily running, working out and playing tennis, and swimming. All those things are really good when you’ve just been behind the computer screen for the past 12 hours. I’m really into Sonny Liston and Sugar Ray Robinson. Especially Sugar Ray Robinson. He’s amazing. He’s a true artist. He’s dancer turned world champion boxer y’know. [laughs]. I love that whole world. Hey, hey can you hear that? It’s the clock in the village square where I am sitting.
Discrimination can take many forms, it’s not necessarily just race or sex, often it can be how people perceive you just because you dress differently because you identify with a subculture. You face judgement every day. I’ve found so much strength in my friends, some of them are so much more out there than I am with the way they dress and the hoops they had to jump through to be accepted by their families. It still happens every day but, I think I’ve created a world where people are realising that there is something unique and powerful here, especially with all these people joined together. I feel like everyone is finding a bit more strength in that these days.
Although I was born here in America, I identify as Persian. I grew up heavily influenced by the arts and culture of Iran, the poetry, the miniature paintings, the traditional music, the architecture, all of it! One of our songs is called Persepolis, which is a tribute to both my grandfather, and the ancient ruin of Persepolis, just outside my father’s native city of Shiraz. Once upon a time Persepolis was the capitol of the Achaemenid Empire.
A couple of other interviews of note I really enjoyed doing too!
Without sounding like a complete hippy, music is a meditation for me. Having your instrument inside your body is a bizarre feeling, but when you open your pipes and belt something out, when you really feel it, it almost feels transcendental. Most of the time, I sing to get rid of my sads. It works.
The most important thing I think is just to have personal integrity, to have some balls to stick up for yourself and your rights. I don’t know enough people who I could say have balls or integrity; who stick up for themselves even though people might not like it or even stick up for the rights of others. Integrity is the most important thing anyone can have.
Can’t wait to see what the Universe holds for me interview-wise in 2013! Hopefully the interview gods and goddesses will smile upon me again! Remember if you know of someone doing something awesome that would be rad for me to interview, let me know about them or send them my way!
With love, always!