March Music: Breakfast in Fur– The Interview
It’s incredibly exciting to have added music into the Awosting Alchemy family, and we’re thrilled to have Breakfast in Fur as our “grand opening” artist. Check them out on our music page, where you can find album art, news and more. What follows is our full interview with Kaitlin Van Pelt and Dan Wolfe, squeezed in between some massive recording and fortuitous contract signing. They are hooking up with Analog Edition Records, a vinyl label out of Portland, OR. Their EP with one extra only-to-be-released-on-vinyl song “ghost story” is being pressed in an edition of five hundred 10″ vinyl records. It is available for pre-order right now, with a release date in early May. Yay Breakfast in Fur! Click the album art below to listen to them while you read the interview…
AwAl: The name ‘Breakfast in Fur’ conjures up amazingly decadent and rebellious images. Care to share the meaning behind the name?
BIF: We’re inspired a lot by surrealist artwork and we took this name from the title of a surrealist sculpture by Meret Oppenheim.
AwAl: What were your earliest forays into music, individually and as a whole?
Kaitlin: Our earliest individual forays are too complicated to get into because we’re a big group, but Dan and I got together in 2009 to finish the first EP. Mike Hollis joined us soon after, and the rest of the band followed. Dan and I have distributed over 1,000 free EPs that we made in our home, and about another 1,000 online in order to get our music heard.
AwAl: What comes first when you’re creating new material: sounds or words?
AwAl: What are your hopes for the upstate NY musical scene? How does our environment influence your music, or does it at all?
Dan: My hope is that more touring bands come through this area because it’s inspiring to see acts from out of town. And being surrounded by the mountains, I feel like I write about the mountains a lot.
Kaitlin: Market Market Cafe in Rosendale has been a home for our live show and a lot of other awesome acts in this area. Its one of the few venues you can play locally that really supports more creative and experimental music.
AwAl: Kaitlin & Dan, we know that you create your lyrics and promotional artwork, but if you were to collaborate with any living or dead literary & visual artists to create songs and album art/stage porn, who would you piece together?
Kaitlin: Dan and I would both like to collaborate with Dino Buzzati, he is our favorite short-story writer, and he’s one of my favorite artists. We’re not sure what you mean by stage porn though, we just googled it and now we need a bath.
Dan: Oh and musically, Hank Williams and Kevin Shields…or Aphex Twin, that would be cool. I think if you mean a stage set-up, we’d definitely love to collaborate with David Lynch, who everyone in the band really digs.
AwAl: If I may be so geeky as to reference one of your own songs, what are your ‘high hopes’ for the band?
Dan: hah, I guess the highest hope would be to make a living off of our music, but our realistic hopes are to just sustain it.
Kaitlin: I’d like to keep making artwork for musicians definitely. Also, we’ve talked about bringing more visuals into our live show and making it into a kind of installation or happening in the future.
AwAl: How do your everyday lives influence your creative efforts?
Dan: I work as a guard at the art museum Dia: Beacon, so I have a lot of time to think about music and I spend all day surrounded by art.
Kaitlin: Integrating my artwork with this music project is always really gratifying. I really enjoy illustration work and Breakfast in Fur always has me busy with one art project or another.
AwAl: In the spirit of Alchemy, can you give us a play-by-play of what ingredients added together constitute BIF or a BIF music-making session?
BIF: The last recording we did together was a song called “Blue.” Matt Ross played drums and percussion and also helped to engineer the session while Jonathan Wittson laid down the bass. Danny Morgenstern created a beautiful riff on a Fender-Rhodes keyboard and Mike Hollis played lead guitar. Kaitlin added ambient sounds and effects on a Microcorg while Dan sang falsetto and hit a tambourine. Dan wrote the lyrics and skeleton of the song and everyone else collaborated to create the final feeling. We were lucky that our friends Gary Levitt and Erica Quitzow let us record in their home-studio while they were away.
AwAl: Upcoming plans for the band? Tours? Collaborations?
BIF: Well, we have an EP coming out this Spring of covers and collaborations with other local friends and musicians, its called “Flyaway Garden.” Also, this Spring we’ll be releasing the first EP on vinyl, and this will include one unreleased new track. Finally, this June we’re planning our first East Coast/Midwest tour! Lots of exciting stuff.
AwAl: What’s the question you’d like to answer that I did not ask?
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A Woman at This Wheel
For the past several
days weeks years , everywhere I digitally turn there are articles about or responding to gender disparity in publishing, most recently spawned from the new VIDA statistics. I usually read them, but generally don’t feel compelled to respond. If I believe the articles’ speculations, it’s probably because I’m a woman and women are often insecure and busy working towards tenure. In reality, I think the articles get rather cry baby-ish and are a lot like when I was a college freshman and attended every ‘march on’ something–from Take Back the Night to Rock Against Racism to NORML meetings–well-intentioned, but ultimately not raising much except blood pressure.
I’m not saying there are any overwhelmingly visionary claims made here, but something stood out in Katha Pollitt’s Slate article, The Lack of Female Bylines in Magazines is Old News: If you really want more women writers, get more women editors. It was exactly the fact that it did sound so obvious that it struck me. Namely, she addressed the topic of women editors.
I can’t claim to read everything, and the truth is, I am sure keeping up with Awosting Alchemy, students’ work, and my own writing and art leave me disadvantaged in maintaining a broad news-view. I know that to be true (just ask my husband: I sometimes ask him questions about current events days after they break because I am too mentally busy to appreciate their essence ‘in the moment.’ Go ahead, think what you will of that.) But I felt the need to respond and post this scenario here for our readers now that the editor angle has been brought into play.
My gut instinct in selecting material for Aw/Al is easy: quality over all other considerations. However, once I do a blind sweep, I do consider our art and writing numbers and gender breakdown. Let me be girly(!) and compare it to a wedding party: who wants to see all those cute ushers standing around? Put some saucy bridesmaids on their elbows! I would think it was lame if I read a publication with an 85% gender disparity–it would be, I don’t know, like reading a school textbook (actually the disparity would probably be greater for many of them, and the majority is a cinch to determine there…) Now now, maybe I am dipping a toe into the snarky world I mentioned shying away from (insecure female again), but truthfully, there should be a good balance, because women do create and think and breathe and live fairly on par with men, and I’d like to think the Hudson Valley has a decent-size artistic community from which to cull participants. We have had nearly proportionate submissions levels/publication numbers, although all of these articles have been about writing, and I lump authors and artists together in our case.
I will be transparent with you, dear readers. We receive more poetry submissions from women, and nearly all our fiction from men. I can’t imagine women around here are not writing it, only that they’re not submitting it. I would love to move in the direction of longer works and a bigger, longer-lasting lovefest for you to enjoy every other month from us. I would also like to have a gender-balanced pile to select from.
When I think of the literary world I personally like to inhabit in my head of established, in-print (mostly dead, I admit) authors, it’s a mixed bag; my wordy paramours are mostly male: Hemingway, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Salinger, Kerouac …but my girl-crushes on Joan Didion and Patti Smith are so epic they might outweigh all those guys. Maybe I just like male-centric themes; maybe it’s not that women are insecure, just that some men send out submissions in a bull-in-chinashop manner and with little regard for bombarding the world. Maybe I have little tolerance for schmaltz and a great teacher once told me, “No crying on the page.” In any case, I love all our contributors and readers, so don’t get bent out of shape over anything I’ve said here. The bottom line is: write often, and write well. And send, send send.
One final thought: my husband is away on a bromantic snowboarding vacation in Colorado this lovely St. Valentine’s Day while I, his very-good-at-snowboarding-but-has-work-to-do-wife, sits at home typing to you. Part of his vacation included seeing the Dead just outside of Denver last night and he called me mid-show to allow me to hear a tune for a few minutes, as in addition to loving snowboarding, I am a card-carrying Deadhead. His selection? “Man Smart (Woman Smarter)” Probably a good choice when you leave your wife on Valentine’s Day. Have a laugh, don’t take any of this too seriously, and WRITE and CREATE!
Enjoy these links for a look at the articles I’ve been reading and hell, watch the Dead perform that song during a great New Year’s Eve Show…
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