Highlights and insights from 50 episodes of AW Live.
When I started hosting interviews via Instagram in April 2020, it was totally off the cuff and an outlet for us to connect from home to home. Interviews in general have always been my main gig in terms of artistic journalism. I recall, at the height of pandemic fear last spring, seeing my friend Citizen Cope conducting IG live sessions. And with some unique guests such NFL player Danny Amendola. Upon learning about the logistics of hosting a public chat via Instagram, I simply thought… “why not Artist Waves?”
Well, 13 months and 50 episodes later here we are still kicking via this live conversation outlet. I’ve learned a ton on how to properly deliver enticing conversations that both convey a deep message and allow for unique fan engagement. All the while, making sure to be in tune with the minor and sometimes funky technicalities of broadcasting … from your “house” studio.
The IG live novelty may have cooled a bit, but not for AW! I plan on continuing to conduct as many interviews like this as possible. It will be the main interview stream on this platform other than live in person (when those return). So before we look forward at the next 50 episodes here are a few highlights from some fantastic guests.
I’m grateful for them all and to each within the AW community that continue to check these out.
I would imagine patience is one of the most important qualities in making surf films. Can you discuss the value of patience for you?
I can’t avoid thinking of what the ocean does for patience as a surfer. You don’t know if the wave is going to come in five minutes or thirty. It’s a meditative state where you’re just sitting there waiting, not listening to music, you’re just waiting for a wave to come. Many times, you’ll be in a crowded lineup, and nobody is talking to each other. They’re all focused. Then when the wave comes, you just have to go and you’re reacting to what the wave gives. I was taught that early on and have applied it to sitting on the beach. I’ve had sessions where I’ve filmed 12 hours straight without a break and I’m focused on not missing a wave. That’s exhausting, but you have to get in the right mind space. Good things take time. If it’s something you care about, you don’t mind putting in that time.
Do you have a favorite concert you’ve ever been to?
For my birthday ten years ago, my wife surprised me with tickets to see JAY-Z at the Meadowlands at the old Continental Airlines Arena. We were pretty close on the floor. For a guy who grew up on hip hop and loves Jay Z, that was just awesome.
The thoughtfulness that you put into every lyric and melody is something that has always resonated deeply with fans. Your lyrics are always so poetic and artistic. What was your lyric writing process was for Trust Fall Side B?
The truth is that is somewhat hard to put to words. It’s not something that moved from A to B. My process is one that creates a container of ideas and then I go in and piece them together. It doesn’t even make sense while it is happening. I think it’s relative to the artistic process as a whole. You don’t always know how you do it, it more of a novelty. I suppose I am attracted to rooms in the house that are not always lit. I am attracted to going into the dark rooms and giving them light. Then you starting to decorate them and living them. It’s a non-linear continuum of sorts. Paper Cuts in particular – it was an experience of somebody reading something that was about them, but was never intended to be read by them. I have this technique where if someone of something collides with your world view and provides stress or chaos, I find it’s beneficial to hold, take a few breaths and then write them a letter without intending to send it. I always write things out because it helps me make sense of my own emotional process.
TWO’s Pull The Knife Out is now officially released, what does the record mean to you?
It’s a release in so many ways. Any time you have creativity bubbling inside of you and it’s this pent up force, you feel this volcano that’s about to erupt – you feel pressure and stress of all that you have to do. There’s also this, “How am I going to do this during COVID?” Then the eruption happens, the artwork flows and everything starts to come out. It’s this big sigh, but in other ways it’s just the beginning. We have a lot of work to do with this record, it’s hard to get people to hear things and make that impact. Now our focus is going to be word of mouth and getting this thing out there. We’re going to self-fund a radio campaign. We’re doing it all ourselves which is a lot, but music is healing in itself. So, it feels good and I’m excited about the future. I’m ready to roll.
311, while always pioneering messages of optimism and unity, is not afraid to acknowledge the hard times that you have to endure as well.
That’s not something that was a calculated decision. It’s actually how we all have been living even since we were teenagers. We were out enjoying ourselves trying to think of the most positive thing so that we can have the best time possible. It’s easy for people to focus on negative things or things that are not going right. But there’s always the other side of the coin. That’s what we’ve tried to show people through the music. You just balance it out and move forward. If you make good choices and are positive, life has no option but to grant you the benefit of those choices. It’s that simple.
Season 2 so far, interviews with:
Olympian, Jonathan Garcia
Lenny Prado/Black Circle
Delila Paz/The Last Internationale
Rome and Duddy