Interviews

HIGHLIGHTS FROM INTERVIEW WITH KELLY SCHIRMANN

find the whole thing here

M: Well, I’d like to say that I very much enjoy your new book. Did you begin writing it with the intention of exploring Popular Music?

K: Thank you for reading it! I’m not sure exactly how I began writing it—I think at some point I became fascinated with popular music as a kind of real-time construction and reflection of our shared cultural mythologies, values, and desires, particularly in relation to how we regard and engage with art. To me, popular music feels like the most visible representation of what art, on a large scale, can both accomplish and fail at accomplishing. You can see so clearly the delineation between music as expression and music as industry. You can see the exact moment when music (or a musician) becomes more interested in being a product; you can see when money is brought in to make that happen. And I think that’s really important to pay attention to as an artist now. We live in a time where commodification of the self (mind, body) is essentially second nature, and because of this I think it’s more important than ever for people to be able to encounter sincerity and truth in our art forms and in the ways that we share our ideas with others. Otherwise, the whole landscape and enterprise is depressing.

K: I constantly wonder whether writing is actually therapeutic to me or whether it’s just an old compulsion. I think it’s probably both. I write to work things out, and that can either be cathartic or aggravating, depending on how far in I let myself go. I think within any medium, what people respond to—that non-precious vulnerability you’re referencing—is the sound of a person honestly saying what they think. It is really difficult, increasingly difficult, to say what you think, to even know what you think. We can’t hear ourselves at all. And in addition, because we are being marketed to constantly, people are starved for real information, for feeling and humanity. So above all I wanted this book to be honest, and I had to continuously re-visit it as it was being edited with this lens in front of it. I wanted it to feel like there was a person talking from within this object, trying to make sense of the larger, deafening things we’re all trying to talk through—the internet, commerce, institutions—without making any other demands.