|10.14.2009, 01:02 AM||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2006
Thurston Moore: From Sonic Youth to Book Publisher; “I Hate iPods”
Thurston Moore may or may not be ecstatically peaceful, but he is certainly busy. In addition to running his own record label, Ecstatic Peace!, playing in the pioneering experimental noise rock band Sonic Youth, and collaborating on music with everyone from DJ Spooky to Lydia Lunch, he recently started his own book imprint, also called Ecstatic Peace.
The first book, photographer Justine Kurland’s “This Train Is Bound For Glory,” will be available in bookstores early next year. Sonic Youth is currently heading for Europe for some tour dates, then more in the U.S., and an extended European tour next summer. Moore will receive a lifetime achievement award from U.K. music magazine “Q” at the end of this month. The band even appeared on “Gossip Girls” last night.
Wall Street Journal: The book industry is facing falling sales figures and seems to be in decline. Why start a book imprint now?
Moore: Why not? I can never let something as incredible as a recession stop me. I feel more empowered now that a lot of people are throwing their hands up. You don’t start a record label or a book imprint to get rich.
Your books are lush coffee table books. Any plans on trying to convert them for the Kindle?
It’s something we can or would do, but I have no concern about that. I know it’s part of the industry but it’s something we’ll look into. It’s the same as the music industry. We deal so much with digital media because it has become the breadwinner but I draw a blank when it comes to it. Nothing enthuses me less. I hate iPods. I use my iPhone as an iPod because I can but I hate the way it sounds. The computer manically compresses sounds.
You famously feuded with then Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau [Sonic Youth renamed their song “Kill Yr Idols” “ to an expletive-laden title beginning with “I Killed Christgau..." after he gave them a negative review]. What do you think of today’s music bloggers?
It comes my way because of my involvement with the label but I’m not too involved in blogs. I don’t get much pleasure, other than information, from reading things on a screen. It’s the same with books as far as the sensuality of reading. I like the tactile touch. It’s something I don’t get from the Kindle.
The first book out on your imprint is about a woman who hops trains with her young child. Ever hop a freight train?
Never had to, but I did have to flag down a cab in Brooklyn and wound up getting frostbite going to a gig at CBGB.
There are several books about your band. What do you think of them?
When someone writes a biography of your life you know it can only be insubstantial to your life. It’s difficult to read an account of yourself that’s removed from your consciousness. Working as a musician and an artist the least interesting part is the machinations of the industry.
Sonic Youth songs have been in both “Guitar Hero III” and “Rock Band” video games. Any thoughts on a doing a music game built around the music of Sonic Youth, similar to what Van Halen and Aerosmith have done?
I’ve seen the paychecks but I’ve never seen those games. There are always conversations in Sonic Youth about how a song becomes a commodity. First it was licensing to films and I was like, ‘As long as it isn’t harmful to someone,’ I didn’t have a problem with it. I would love a game based on our music. So many young people get some kind of cerebral information from games. To me it’s like being a kid and seeing Patti Smith on the “Mike Douglas Show.”
When I was in college I knew several super fans of Sonic Youth who were really crazy about you guys. What’s the most out there thing a fan has ever done?
We’re not the kind of band that encourages too much deranged fan behavior. Although, I once opened a letter filled with crushed dead flies from a fan.
What did you do?
It happened while we were mixing a record and I emptied it out on the board. The engineer asked, “What in God’s name did you just do? Then they kicked us out of the studio.
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