“Art is something bigger than the person doing it. Art is something that happens to you.”
I often say, the content we create at Artist Waves is more like a painting to be hung on the wall as opposed to pushing a narrative. On September 19th, I ventured over to Boston’s Brighton Music Hall to check out the new rock powerhouse that is Arthur Buck, (Joseph Arthur and Peter Buck from R.E.M.). Earlier that day, Arthur and I made arrangements to meet prior to the gig and say hello. It was a gray Wednesday late-afternoon with a slight chill in the air. This pocket of Boston, a very rock-friendly city, laid out like a blank canvas that would welcome some splattered color.
I arrive at the venue as soundcheck concludes. Arthur comes outside to get me and immediately is greeted by a few revering fans. We chat for a moment and then jump into the ideas we had been kicking around about a collaboration column to be featured here. There’s a pause, “I really want to go to the art store. There’s one a mile away,” Arthur says. Opting not to walk, we accept a ride from an incredibly kind fan who had arrived early from Maine and offered to partake in the adventure. As we make our way to the car, Arthur, sporting a bright red coat, asks me if I have my interview recording equipment with me. I did.
We close the car doors, plug in some driving directions and immediately yield to both the dreariness outside and Arthur’s next suggestion, “Let’s do an interview right here, on the way to the art store and throughout this little pre-show excursion.”
We agree this could be a unique, in the moment and impromptu opportunity to in-person paint the picture we had been discussing we’d do from afar the past few months. Spontaneity is what led to Arthur Buck forming in the first place.
As we pull out of the parking lot I hit record and start firing away. With Arthur riding shotgun and me sitting directly behind him, I notice both of us are looking out our respective windows during most of the driving part of our interview. The conversation continues inside of Blick, and the recorder comes with me. Arthur buys six canvases. They perfectly accent the dialog and the day before us. With live music, creativity and self-expression top of mind, here’s what was crafted.
Photo by: Cindy Light
The debut Arthur Buck record has been out for four months now and it’s the first ever Arthur Buck tour, how has it been for you?
It’s a new band that has a youthful energy and exuberance to it. We found a quality that has this experimentally fun vibe. Everybody seems to keep feeding off this energy we are putting out. We’re discovering ourselves as we go. It’s also been an opportunity for me to reach out on social media more to connect and communicate in ways that I’ve always wanted to try.
You did some of the Arthur Buck artwork in the video for “I Am The Moment”. How do you pair your art and music?
In the first video, I made some animation and provided some paintings. Painting is something I just always gravitate towards, particularly on tour — it’s just a fun thing to do. We are already selling merch so it’s a natural extension to have paintings available too. In Athens, I found all these old velvet paintings and that became a stage aesthetic.
Let’s say you wake up one day feeling particularly inspired and you want to go create. How do you determine how to channel that, meaning, how do you know when to go to your instruments or to go paint?
That’s a touch question to answer because there is no answer. You are just living and breathing. It’s not an analytical decision for me. The truth is, art is something bigger than the person doing it. The artist is someone that falls into art, as opposed to the other way around. Art is something that happens to you. Music happens to you. It’s a hard thing to talk about because you have to put yourself in the position to fully understand. For instance, we are going to the art store right now, that is what I’m doing. It’s a pain in the ass for me to go to the art store before a gig in a city I am not familiar with. But I know, if I go to the art store, art can happen to me. I know if I have a recording studio, music will happen to me. You have to show up for it. You follow your instincts and you just do it.
There is not a moment, where I say, “I’m feeling this and that’s an art emotion.” Half the time when you do something great you are not in the mood to do anything at all. You’re just flailing around wasting your time and suddenly something strikes.
The way this interview came together is a good example. We’ve been discussing a different idea and were supposed to meet just to catch up today, and then this started happening. Everything in life is somewhat like that, but art hangs out in the unconscious. You’re then disciplined to show up for it.
A lot of what I’m working on now is taking care of myself so that the art can show up easier. I’ve noticed if I take care of my health, if I exercise, diet properly, meditate and sleep, then all this stuff manifests easier. That’s what interests me now more than anything. Through the healing work I’ve done, I can potentially inspire other people. When you hit a certain age, that’s what becomes more interesting — what you can give to others that is not about you becoming some sort of iconic force. When you’re younger you have these Jimi Hendrix dreams to be so well-known. As you get older, you realize that if you can be a light for other people, that’s the real thrill.
I’ve noticed how much mind and spirit has factored into your art lately.
It’s been wild sharing so much personal information via social media. I’m thinking about expanding my YouTube channel to focus more on recovering from NPD abuse. The response I’ve been getting has been super-inspiring. When you share personal experiences, it’s spooky at first. We are living in a time where the concept of over-sharing has gone out the window. People are so tired of superficial nonsense. Even what we are doing right now, standing here doing an interview in the middle of Blick, it’s no big deal. Everybody is filming themselves, everybody wants content and is creating content. I feel the same way about sharing information about overcoming abuse, diet and healing — that’s what’s interesting. I could easily just talk about the tour only and having time with Peter Buck, there’s plenty of information, but it’s not enough. To me what’s interesting is — what’s really going on? I’m hardly groundbreaking in that way. Plenty of people are sharing compelling and interesting information.
In terms of recovering from NPD abuse and smear campaigns, secrecy and silence are the weapons of abusers. Victims should be sharing their stories, speaking out and inspiring others to do the same. That’s what’s going to evolve human behavior and make people unable to get away with it anymore. They already can’t. The cat is way out of the bag. People make a big deal about a male sharing his story because, you know, dudes don’t talk about being victimized. I’m prouder about overcoming this than just about anything else. I’ve done some badass stuff in my life and overcoming is the most badass. It’s very hard to talk about but I’m trying to make an effort to do so in a semi-regular way. It’s measured now. When I first started, I was way too charged up about it and it came off as crazy.
What’s next for you creatively after this Arthur Buck run?
I recorded a ton of material on my own for a solo record where I have about 30 songs. It still has to be mixed and I’d like to work out a few things with a producer. In addition to that, Arthur Buck has a new record in the works, we’re most likely going to finish it sooner rather than later. I’d also like to expand upon my YouTube channel where I upload content about me talking about healing practices.
What does this moment in your life and career as an artist mean to you?
I’m having so much fun being in a rock band, it’s fresh and exciting. It goes back to the same point we were making about art — things like romance or rock n’ roll just happen to you when you are not thinking about it. It’s the manifestation of the chance to start again for me. There are other avenues for me for to explore, but this is how starting again appeared right now.
What Arthur Buck means to me is unveiling itself through living it, and not just by the record we made. It’s been quite significant and has been that way the whole way through. When it first came together, it was a bit of a life raft for me. Since then, it’s become a launching point for me to express things that I’ve really needed to.