What is your name and band/label/etc?
Franz Nicolay (Xtra Mile Recordings, Sabot Productions)
What are your top five albums that were released in 2012? (In order 1-5)
- Kepi Ghoulie - I Bleed Rock N Roll
- Todd Snider - Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables
- Future Of The Left - The Plot Against Common Sense
- Hop Along - Get Disowned
- Morning Glory - Poets Were My Heroes
What band did you discover in 2012 (can be a brand new band or an older band) that had an impact on your life? What made them significant?
Hop Along was a real revelation, feral and intense with lyrics that are opaque enough that you put some work in to try and get at what makes them seem, still, meaningful. Kepi Ghoulie made the great reptile-brain rock record of the year, with caveman beats, three chords, and sentiments straight from the Chuck Berry/Ramones/Johnny Thunders platonic core of the rock redwood; the kind of songs that sound easy to do until you try. And (this record is older) I'd never really cottoned to Smog, but Bill Callahan's "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" I found fascinating. Songwriting, for the most part, isn't really poetry - at its best, it sometimes approaches prose poems - but something about a couple of these songs I'd read as legitimately poetic language.
How will you remember 2012? (In terms of music)
I was on the road so much this year that I wasn't as dutiful about discovering music that wasn't right in front of my eyes, either by tourmates like Kepi Ghoulie, labelmates like Future Of The Left, friends like Morning Glory and The Cut Ups, or people I already knew I liked like Todd Snider and Bob Dylan. And aside from Scott Walker, there was nothing particularly off the wall: just smart, articulate, aggressive music with a passionate point to make.
What can we look forward to from you in 2013?
An EP of outtakes from Do The Struggle called Bad Advice, and my book based on my touring in China and the former Soviet bloc.
What records are you looking forward to most in 2013?
The best are the ones I don't expect. Ben Marwood.
Fundraising sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have made a strong impact on the ability of artists to release music. Do you think this approach is a trend, or will it continue to shape how artists produce their material?
Every artist is a hustler, and at the end of the day is going to beg, borrow, or steal what they can't earn to make the thing they want to make; so I don't think we can afford to scorn any tool out of a misplaced sense of impropriety or dignity. I've written that there are basically two time-honored historical models, broadly speaking, for making a living as a musician: as a sing-for-your-supper troubadour, or as a client of a patron. Crowd-funding is essentially making a many-headed hydra patron in lieu of one rich benefactor. I've also written elsewhere that if we want Spotify and torrents and $2.98 Amazon album specials, we have to consider accepting the NPR model: the idea that indie rock may come to be subsidized in the same way that we accept that jazz and classical music are subsidized by various (private and state) entities as a valuable piece of American culture that can't be fully supported by the market.