From Issue #6 The Love Issue 

This is our Love Issue. What films are you currently in love with?

I love stumbling on a movie I’ve never seen before on TV and getting totally sucked in, especially when I’ve heard mixed or terrible things about it. Most recently, that happened with Cannery Row, this totally wacky Steinbeck adaptation starring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger. I had read about this movie because Raquel Welch was originally cast, and fired after shooting began, and then she sued the studio and won. But watching it now, it’s unfathomable that anyone other than Debra Winger ever had that part -- she’s completely perfect. As for more recent movies, I tend to become most passionate about movies that I feel are unfairly overlooked or misunderstood. Last year some of my favorites were Rules Don’t Apply, Allied and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Also, I love Moonlight. I met Barry Jenkins when his first movie, Medicine For Melancholy, was on the festival circuit in 2008, and I’m just so happy for him. When I saw him accept the award for Best Drama at the Golden Globes, I burst into tears of happiness.

One of the most dynamic parts of your podcast is that is absolutely entrancing from the music, to the intros you used for the Hollywood Blacklist or Star Wars Series. Your voices you once called “dinner party tricks” in a previous interview are so spot on. I am curious if you had a very specific artistic vision going into the recording or if everything sort of fell together as the podcast started?

It sounds pretentious to call it a vision, but that's basically what I had, and that's what compelled me to make a podcast, not the other way around. I heard what the podcast would sound like in my head before I ever made an episode. Then I just had to try to figure out how to make it. 

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From The Identity Issue Volume #1

International Party Icon Andrew WK was kind enough to chat with Burn Black about identity, his transition to NYC, and most importantly, what qualifies as a party. 

Burn Black: Let's start at the beginning. Tell me about your childhood growing up in Michigan? What was it like growing up in the Midwest and was there any specific need to get out that brought you to New York City? 

Andrew WK: I always liked the seasons. That was something that I really appreciated. The four seasons are definitely to be experienced there. Each change of season and the feeling that came along with it, change of smell and atmosphere, temperature, and all that. There was never any rush to get out until towards the end of high school but I never really thought about wanting to leave before I was 17 or 18. So, I always really liked it .... the Midwest in general. Michigan, of course. Still like visiting there. Even at times, I think of living there again. I do have friends who grew up in a certain place, not in Michigan, and friends from other parts of the country that hated where they lived and had bad memories from that time but I am very lucky that I have good memories from where I grew up. 

BB: I happened to do a reverse transplant moving from the East Coast to the Midwest. I felt like this experience taught me a lot about myself in the process of acclimating to a brand new environment for the first time. What was the biggest environmental and personal change you experienced moving from Michigan to New York City? 

AWK: The biggest challenge was probably finding friends there at first. I spent a lot of time on the phone with my friends back home. It took me awhile to feel like 11 living there was my new home vs. where I came from in Michigan being my home. That took many years. The most challenging part of moving was making money and 11 living really. 

BB: What do you think is the biggest difference between the persona you have on stage and in the media of Andrew WK and the person you are when you are by your­self? 

AWK: I don't think there is much difference at all. I think you are different in different circumstances or task you are working on. If someone is a chef, for example and on another day he is running around the block you could say, "Oh, I never expected him to run around the block." But, those skills aren't necessary while he is running around the block. It would be silly to have him holding a frying pan and a spatula and all that. If I am not on stage or doing whatever I may be doing, it's just another task. 

BB: What do you think formulates a person's identity ultimately? 

AWK: Hmm ... I don't know if anybody has a true identity or if it's something that you make up as you go along. 

BB: You write an incredible advice column. What is the biggest piece of advice you have to tell yourself from time to time? 

AWK: Don't give up. Keep moving forward one or another. Don't die. 

BB: My whole life I have been obsessed with dreams, their meanings, etc. What was the last vivid dream you remember having? 

AWK: I have had a lot more vivid dreams in the last few years. I'm not really sure why. Some of them were nightmares; you know just odd dreams, some inspiring and exciting. The most vivid dream I had was about two weeks ago. I actually wrote about it my advice column. It was a dream where it was SO real, that in the dream I thought everything in my real lif e ... my waking life ... was actually true life and I was waking up from my true life which just actually a nightmare. So, that was pretty intense to have a dream where it's like, "This can't be real, you're tripping ....what you are describing as your real life, which was just a crazy dream. How long have I been living in this nightmare world?" That was interesting. 

BB: What was the greatest party you ever attended? 

AWK: Hopefully the one tonight! Each one has its own contributions.

BB: How can in your opinion someone turn something awful pending like a root canal or jury duty into a party? 

AWK: Just look into the experience for exactly what it is and be very aware of the details. That's one thing I have done a lot. For example, when going to the dentist, look at the building. Look at all the strange details or any type of machinery that you don't normally see. Are there any type of people engaged in tasks you don't normally see? Think about how this will all come together. Think about how bizarre this setting is for me to be in. Don't try to block it out, look at all of it. It actually takes away from some of the anxiety by studying and thinking as much as you can. 


From The Identity Issue Volume #1

Interview with Krystina from Curmudgeon 

Burn Black: First of all, what is Curmudgeon up to these days?

Krystina: Well, I actually just moved to Philadelphia, so things have slowed down a bit. we are working on writing another record (its maybe half-way done!) and starting to think about what format we'd like to do that in & who will release it. we're also start­ing to book a tour to Eastern Canada and the Midwest this summer, centered around Fed Up Fest in Chicago. 

BB: You guys appeared on the 'Wake Up Dead' comp. I talked about the importance of comps in various earlier issues of Burn Black. Comps seem to be a dying breed as far as demand goes. However, I am always ecstatic when I hear incredible comps of what a label or scene has to offer. It's like going to a restaurant with small plates and getting a 11 ttle bite of everything. What are some of your favorite more recent comps and why do you think the demand for them has gone down in recent years? 

K: Another band I was in, called Terminal Crisis, appeared on a comp 12" put out by To Live A Lie Records & that was pretty exciting. So while comps might be a dying breed in general, I think there are still some worlds (such as powerviolence) where the concept is still appreciated - enough so that Will at TLAL put money behind an LP! One of my favorite recent comps is "Welcome to 2013" from Not Normal. It's a sampling of Midwest bands with some international acts thrown in, as well. I'm going to go ahead and predict that, if compilations stick around, they are going to either be in the form of tapes or downloadable playlists, because the cost of pressing vinyl makes it too pro­hibitive to most people to want to take a "risk" on a comp. Furthermore, the in tern et has obviously made hardcore and punk easily accessible, which I think accounts for the waning popularity of comps. You no longer need to buy a record to be exposed to random bands from relatively far-off places. I already see some comps taking on a regional theme, like the Ground Zero LP. I think it's a way of saying "punk might be literally everywhere, but we are doing it best where we are from."

BB: You have a song called 'severed' which lyrically is extremely bold, not unlike all of your songs, calling out what seems to be a parental figure for inability to be a capable parent. I strongly relate to this song and have written about my own issues on this topic. When you write a song like that, do you feel like something that has eaten away at you for some time suddenly becomes a weight off your shoulder? Or do you feel like once it's out there in the world, you have allowed yourself to become vulnerable? 

K: My intention when writing lyrics is usually two-fold - I want to get my ideas out there & I also want to stir something in people. So thanks for making me feel like I've done the latter! I feel like "severed" has given me an outlet to talk about what my punk family means to me and I really like explaining the song when we play live. Even though I've been hurt by my blood-family, I'm lucky in a many ways that I'm able to choose a new network of support. I think both of the outcomes you've suggest are correct, actually. It feels good to have an outlet for my shitty feelings & start a conversation about certain topics, but its also scary that people will want to keep the conversation going. 

BB: You have been heavily involved with the Smash It Dead Fest: a fest to benefit the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. How did Smash it Dead Fest come together and can you tell me a 11 ttle about the initiatives BARCC takes part of in your community? 

K: One of my very best friends Sadie, who plays in the band Peeple Watchin', started Smash It Dead Fest 4 years ago. Initially, she planned the whole fest with very little outside help, but we formed a collective the 2nd year and it has grown to include a number of members & outside volunteers. we try to raise funds all year to the pay the bands who travel to play and any money from the door goes directly to BARCC - who are an amazing resource. They provide crucial survivor support for those affected by sexual violence & do a workshop on responding to crisis each year at SID Fest. I'm going to say it straight up right now: Fests are becoming a big fucking deal & if you are a group planning a fest, you might want to look into making it at least a partial benefit for your local community. I see so many fests that bring hundreds­to-thousands of people into their cities and seem to put all of their money into bribing bands into reuniting. I'm glad that SID has been basically the opposite of that & is still growing every single year. 

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