Music, Writing, and Time For Change with Nabil Ayers
Nabil Ayers, Chase Jarvis
Music, Writing, and Time For Change with Nabil Ayers
Nabil Ayers, Chase Jarvis
1. Music, Writing, and Time For Change with Nabil Ayers
Music, Writing, and Time For Change with Nabil Ayers
that we love you. Hello, everyone and welcome. I'm Chase Jarvis, the founder of Creative Live and your host for the next 60 to 90 minutes, where we get to sit down with a very inspiring guess. Someone I've been excited have on the show for some time. And ah, added bonus we've been friends for I don't know. I'm calling it maybe a decade and a half. So we're gonna get to air some, Ah, heirs of laundry share some stories, But before we cut to the guests for this morning's programme, I want to welcome you wherever you're across the world joining us. I do want to let you know that I see your comments and your questions. Whatever platform your streaming on, if you're at creativelive dot com slash tv. I see those questions first. If you join chat in the upper right hand corner, press that button. Um, I will be able to see your comments and forward any questions you have. Of course, I'll be curating those for our guest. And the same is true for Facebook and YouTube live in Instagram live. I do...
want to welcome you feel no obligation. Go over to creativelive dot com slash tv. But I will get your comments and happy to include you in the conversation. Um, also today is exciting for me for a number of reasons because, um, well, a reference that I'd like to have been one had this guest on for a long time. It's at the confluence of so many things that we value creativity. Iraq creativelive year. Ah, this person is multi disciplinary. And before I get into his bio, ah, part of what I want you to to think about as you're asking questions here is what would you want to know from this person? If you could sit down and have one question answered, I find that that I've been asking my my guests arbitrary my fans and readers to focus their question on something they actually want to know. And over the past couple of broadcasts, that's really sharpened the pencil and created some amazing conversation with my guest. So, as you are letting me know where you're coming in from all over the place, be sharpening your pencil and thinking about a question that you would ask this guest if you were able to sit down with him one on one. Um, speaking of guests, it's probably time to bring him on. Um, my guest is Nobile heirs. Now he is the GM of the Beggars group music label for a D in late person terms, if you don't know much about labels, that's the label behind some of my favorite bands, like the National Ah, Big Thief Grimes, Future Islands ST Vincent. And they've also done things like reissued Pixies albums Do Little, which was certified platinum in 2019. I have a great picture of my friend Nobile here handing the Pixies their platinum album, Um, after opening Seattle's Sonic Boom record store at age 25 which is how we met here in Seattle. Nobile sold that to a longtime customer in 2016. What's not in his bio, officially, is that he's an incredibly talented musician. Among other things, he was a drummer in the Seattle band The Long Winters, which has been at the heart of the indie music scene here in Seattle for decades. And he's also been a guest performer on self several albums, Indy and major labels to boot and as both an executive and an artist. He's not on. Lee performed on his own label, these various other labels, but he's also amazing writer, and he has most recently written for The New York Times, NPR, G, Q and others about creativity, about race, about music. And I'm very excited. This is a precursor, if you will, because we're definitely gonna have mon again next year when he releases his memoir, which he just signed with Viking Books in 2021. That's coming out. So, please, wherever you are in the world, give a tap your keys raise your hand sensing emojis and welcome Mr Nobile heirs to this show Mobile Welcome. But thank you. Wouldn't intro. Yeah. 9.5 minutes of just yeah. Praise God a lot of years behind us, we do. And you look good. It's nice to see you. Thanks. I mean, I'm in California, so, you know, I feel good normally in Brooklyn, right? We were. Yeah. Yeah. As we were chatting, you were saying you had to get out of Brooklyn on L. A. Has been really nice. What's the prevent pandemic been like for you? It's It's been weird. I'm just like everybody else. I mean, my wife and I are lucky to be healthy and employed and very fortunate for that. But, you know, we live in a one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, so it got really cramped once we started working from home. So we have family in Los Angeles, a lot of friends, and it's There's a lot of space here. So we're lucky enoughto brave the flight, which was not that bad. And now we're just sort of laying low in a different, more spacious place. That's nice. Did you guys get out? Get out early. So many of my friends were that Aaron and I see, just like they tried to bury it for, like, I'm just in case they didn't have to shut us down. And then by, like, early April, everyone was wigging out. Yeah, No, we wigged out. We got out late. We've only been gone a week. That's been it's been pretty crazy. We're getting along. Its a great test of in it, you know, it could be worse. Yeah, and I'm great. Congratulations. I was going through your I g feed a while ago, maybe two weeks ago or so when we set up this broadcast and ah, I was just looking at some photographs from your wedding of you and Allie and men. Congratulations. We haven't spent that much time since you guys together since you You guys tied the knot. Ah, right. Your your photographer crushed it. I don't either that you guys like sentiments, photogenic people in the world. But it's a combination of the two, right? You know, there's a funny thing. I remember the last time we hung out was it was my wife. Now, Wife A. J was my girlfriend of the time you were in New York, and the three of us went to dinner and kind of just, like did the town and went to a bunch of bars and everything, and we kept running into celebrities. I think what people think always happens in New York and l A. But doesn't that often really did happen to us. And we were at the bar on the Bowery Hotel, and, uh, ST Vincent ran into ST Vincent, right, shrieking, upto Teoh. Exactly. And I was like, That's offensive. And she didn't like it wasn't just like a walk by. She's like, sat down and hung out for, like, 30 minutes and we're like, Hey, we gotta go. But we're at ah at that Japanese restaurant where we had dinner where Patti Smith is known to eat. So it's not that odd that she would be there, and of course she was. But then, but the weirdest part about all of this that I may be taking it to fire by connecting it to anything is Ah, someone wasn't looking out behind me. I couldn't tell because I couldn't see him. But he pointed over my shoulder at my wife and said, Are you ready for the Revolution? And then they walked out and it was Jake Gyllenhaal. And now here we are. You remember that The Revolution way are. And I understand, right there any smile that being stopped and I'm like, Why is Jake Gyllenhaal stopping at our table? Any little in points points at age and was like you ready for the revolution meant I was like, what just happened? You know, that was But I don't remember. Do you remember? No. Anyway, And, um uh, that was this. That was such a such a great night. What's name? That sushi joint. You don't say it out loud. probably cause it's gonna overrun with people. All right? Yeah, I'll tell you after. Okay. Yeah, I wonder. I, uh It's on my list. Um well, we got There's so many different ways we can take our conversation. That's Ah, sign of some of my favorite conversations of all time. My favorite guests are ones like yourself where we can literally talk about your career as an artist. Your life as an entrepreneur. Um, your, uh, curatorial skills, your adventure given, you know, having I traveled the world, you know, living bicoastal. Um, the intersection of working with so many amazing talents, like just osmosis and being around incredible humans. You you take so many, um, metaphorical boxes for people that I like to spend time with them. That the world again. I'm just seeing people timing in here from speaking of the world from all over. We've got Auckland. We've got always this. There's always some South Africa in the house London, Cincinnati, Ohio, once in the right house. And But I find that that, um, the questions that I could ask you cover such a broad spectrum, but I want to go. Since we are in a very unique time. I wanna start at Ah, maybe a different spot than, um, I would normally start. And I think I can do this because we're longtime buddies and we're just sipping coffee here on out Marnie on a Tuesday morning. Um, you've risked really recently written, um, a handful of pieces about race and music in the New York Times and PR. Ah, and you know, every once in while you're texting one of these things and they had just been stunning and I think you have a really unique perspective on I'm wondering, you can if you can share a little bit about what you've been writing, Uh and why, Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, I'm trying to think if I take it back, I mean, I was a terrible student, which I think is an interesting thread to all of this, but it makes more sense now. I've got terrible grades in high school, was lucky enough to get into a good college. Somehow. Still, um, I went to the University of Reputed Sat Down, which is in Tacoma, just outside of Seattle, also did fairly poorly there. But while I did poorly in school, I discovered what I was really into, which was deejaying on the college radio station, playing in bands, putting on shows, doing all these things that my friends thought were silly. But now you know, they're lawyers and doctors, and I'm doing this and it turns out we all knew what we were doing. So so there's that, but but weirdly in college, the two A's that I got I only got two A's were in writing classes, and it wasn't because I worked harder because they're more important. It was just because I really enjoyed them and it felt like it came naturally and it was fun, and I loved it, so that was kind of that and then that went away for a while. Then I graduated from college and started working a record store and played in bands and did all the stuff I wanted to do, which is great. Um, and when I was in one of these bands, a band called The Lemons in Seattle on this is like 1995 I think, um, we got arrested in the middle of the desert with a bunch of pot in our van, and I didn't even smoke pot wasn't mine, but I was in possession whole thing, handcuffed. It's a really long, crazy story that I won't get into now. But since then I started telling it all the time and telling it in great detail because there's so many weird and so now it Tonight I really enjoyed telling it in. People enjoyed hearing it. I always meant to write it in my head. I was like, Well, I like writing and I have the story. Wouldn't it be fun to write it just for the hell of it? But I never did. And then out of the blue for five, maybe four years ago I was on a flight to London from New York is really long, no Internet, didn't want to do work, wasn't tired, didn't want to watch movies. And I was like, I think now is the time just going to start writing that story, Um, and not think about the audience or who might read it. No one might ever read it. I just wanted to exist, and that's the whole reason I did it. And that allowed me to really sort of pulled back the insecurity of the fact that someone might see it or judge it. So I really just wrote it as if I were telling it which I had done so many times and ended up really just typing and typing for the whole flight. And then the whole time in London, Stay up really late because I was jetlagged. I kept going when I got back, had written 80 or 90 pages, which is just crazy to me, you know, it was long and it was detailed. And I've gotten in tow, you know, earlier parts and why I was in this band and who these people were and everything. And it was just so fun. And I still didn't want to show it to anyone is like, this is not refined and all. I don't even know what this is, but I know there's something happening in me suddenly where this just feels fun and natural, and I want to keep doing it. So the only thing I could think to do that that point was take a writing class. So I'm in New York. It was easy to find something I did like a you know, Monday nights 7 to 10 10 people of all ages and races, sitting in a room with one teacher who basically just forced us to write and read a lot every week. Um, and a lot of stuff started to come out through that, and that led to me kind of shoving aside that band story. I'm getting more into shorter things, and really, the catalyst was around that same time. My partner, Jason, sold Sonic Boom, our record store in Seattle, and I'd written a bunch of sonic boom story. It's just about crazy things that happened a record store, especially in the early days, you know, really, after Seattle. And finally I was like, This is there's a weird moment and it really I don't know how else to explain it, except it just all felt very natural and obvious to May. It was like, Now is the time. I think I could maybe get away with trying to publish something because I have a reason. Up till that point, it felt very egotistical. Maybe that's the word. Like what? I'm just gonna write about myself and put it out there, and people are supposed to care. But in a weird way, sonic boom. Even though it was ours. Kind of felt like it belongs to all of our customers into Seattle in a lot of people. And, you know, this story was about all of that. And so I talked to Sean Nelson, who is the music editor at The Stranger, the sort of alternative weekly and Seattle into said, You know, we're selling a store. I'd love to publish a short piece. That's just kind of Ah, historical, my days at Sonic Boom Do you want to see it? And he's just like, Yes, I'll run it. Like what? Oh, yes, I don't have to read it first that he's like, I remember feeling just terrified. You know, that feeling of like, really, I've played in bands for years and we could get into all this, But I was only the drummer, which to me was never putting myself out there. The singer, the person in front with the microphone who wrote the words and talked about their feelings. That was, you know, that was the person putting themselves out there, and suddenly I felt more like that person. I was terrified, but they ran it and it went great and I got really great feedback from people on the and so that's really what kind of got it started, was having a reason and realizing it's okay to kind of tell stories. Well, this is I love the way that you just got into this narrative because you just retraced your emotional arc for putting, you know, putting something, especially something in a new area, a new discipline that you hadn't really been. And let's just for people who are watching, listening and again shining in from all over the world. I want to say hi to everybody out there. Please keep sharing your comments. I'll afford someone to mobile here, Um, but what it is gone unsaid is that you're incredibly talented at everything you touch. And so it's not surprising to me that you could be an amazing entrepreneur. Start this iconic record store in Seattle, have a esteemed career as a musician, playing some critical bands. Um, and so, of course, it seems to me that anything you touch, you'd be good at, but I want to retrace your personal journey. Did you feel like you were good? Did you feel like this had merit? Did you? Were you judging yourself like Let's go one layer deeper because right now, right, I mean to give you the why behind the question right now there are, let's just say, 1000 people who are listening or watching and they've all got something inside themselves. They're good at something in life. They know they're good at something they don't Maybe that it's something that culture doesn't value. Or maybe there's a little bit of resentment, or maybe they're pursuing their dream. But they've They've burned out a little bit and they wanna do something different. And so let's just say there's 1000 people listening or watching that have that feeling. And I was hoping that you could talk about your experience is if you're talking to them, right? I mean, yeah, it's was in a lucky position, and I feel like I have been because I've always sort of juggled a bunch of plates, and so however you look at it when I when Jason I own sonic boom, I played advance. When I played in bands, I own sonic boom. I also had my own small record label, where he put out records by bands I really like. But Sonic boom, I guess, was That's what I did for a living. So it allowed me to be in a band and to take more risk there or to put out records by a band. I really love that I might lose a couple $1000 on, but I wasn't making a living from that. It was okay. So I've always been really lucky in that perspective and that whatever my next thing has been, it's not like I'm gonna quit my job and do this. I don't think I've really, ever done that, except when I moved to New York, I guess I did. But But that's there's always been that little bit of a safety net, and then I'm not putting all of my eggs in this basket. But but But that's the unsung narrative that actually, if you ask the entrepreneurs, everybody thinks the entrepreneurs like, okay, I'm going all in and bet it all on black role. The nice Take the second mortgage out. All right, everybody from yourself to Richard Branson. Everybody in between, it's like No, no, I had this going on the side. There was side bets and they were small and I was getting a urgent and okay, this is how it will keep going. So so that's really made, you know, made me feel more secure, and I guess, and the risk that I've taken, But But yeah, there is This writing was really the thing that, like, where the sort of emotional investment was there, where even the sonic boom thing, which you know, that story that I publish in the stranger is mostly just funny stuff about whatever. Fred Durst came in the store and there are all these rock stars. And we split Thai food for lunch because we had no money. No, but it wasn't deeply personal boat, But what happened after that? I just kept writing and I was taking these classes. And of course, they really push you toe right. More personal things. And so I was doing all that again, thinking no one would ever see it, or no one had to see it from my wife, who is a longtime writer. I knew I was doing that. She hadn't even seen a lot of it, but she was like, You know, look, the sonic boom thing is great. The stuff you're publishing is great. She's like, That's what people really want to hear and when you're really gonna get somewhere, is when you start talking about yourself and go a layer deeper and talk about the more serious personal stuff because you've had an interesting life and people would appreciate that and that is I mean, that was a 32nd conversation, and that's what pushed me to really think. Okay, I should talk about race and my childhood, not things that I wouldn't say. I had a hard life, but I think had an interesting life. And so doing that was much harder and really felt like a sort of exposing myself and revealing myself. Um, but I guess to an extent, it's working or it's worked on, and I don't feel the biggest risk is seriously, at least with this particular thing and with a lot of things, I think with the people who are listening is you know, why would anyone care what I have to say? That's that's the self conscious thing that I think a lot of us have that most people have in some respect is I can't say this and I can live it. But for me to just write it down or filament or do whatever it is and put it out there for people to judge. Why would anyone care? Or are they just gonna tear me down? I think we're living in a culture now. That's increasingly, um, curious because we have a lens on lives that we never had before. This thing about blogging, like people Casey Neistat care to cam around every day and put a video every day for five years of his life. You know, that's, like, bonkers, right? That. And yet that single handedly propelled him from, you know, uh, college just a relatively it's ah, filmmaker. You know, he did some stuff with HBO, but to you know, someone who is, um, leader in the creative industry and, um, and created a new living and life for him. And so if so many people are conscious, like, what do I have to say? Why me, right? What were your answers to yourself around those questions? Why, right, you I think I'm still learning, but at least it's it's it's been positive as I go. And I think each time I put another thing out there, this positive reinforcement exist. And the weird thing is, the first thing that I put out there that felt very personal was after I had that conversation with my wife was this statement, I guess is there's no better way to put it. I wrote a piece about sort of my racial identity and my feelings on my father. Very simply, My father's black. My mother is white. I grew up with my mother in very diverse and then mostly white surroundings. Never really had it a black influence in my life. But I'm half black, and I wrote this piece that kind of is just about that. I'm not even sure what the thesis is. It's more just that I've been lucky and it's OK. And I have this identity and thought about where to pitch it, which I've never done really other than this piece of luck in the stranger. And NPR has a vertical called code switch, which is an incredible podcast. Um, it's about race, and so those are the first people that bitch and I just found this sort of generic pitch, just email, and they were nice enough to get back to me and to say No. You know, I very sweet, very kindly said no, but I mean, a lot of the time you just don't hear anything most of the time with things like when you're just cold emailing somebody. Um but weirdly, that was encouraging, even just to hear from them and to know. And it was a person. And I was like, Oh, cool. Well, now I know for the next thing. Now I have a person's email address and I couldn't. Now I have a contact there, sort of built the positive from that, and so I wasn't sure where to go from there. But there's a website that I really like called the route, which is much more sort of black voices, black culture, whereas code switch is simply about race. But it's I think it kind of caters to everyone where the root is more of a black site. Um, and I think the only reason that I pitched the route so quickly was simply because the editor in chief's email was sitting there on the site. And so I thought, Great. Hello. I have this piece and she emailed right back and said, I'd love to read it and then she emailed right back and said, I'm gonna run it Saturday and that's, you know, the stranger is one thing. I'm gonna write about my record store and it's gonna happen. But this was like, Oh, shit. Now my sort of weird life story that I'm not sure how people are going to react to is going to exist and it's going to exist, you know, I knew this ahead of time. I like it's a pretty black site. And I think some black people are gonna be unhappy with my position that, hey, I'm racially mixed. But it hasn't been that hard for me, which, if I'm really putting in a nutshell, this kind of bins of a lucky part of my life. Um, so that was really, really hard. I was really scared. They edit it, you know, we had a bit together, but not not very heavily kind of came out how I wrote it. And the thing that propelled me more than anything in my writing where when that came out and the comments which were brutal, they're terrible. People don't leave nice comments, cause that's not what the Internet is. It, you know, maybe 20 or so comments that were kind of what I just said, like, Oh, lucky you. You should hear my story. My life is fucking suck little blood. That's terrible. And I feel bad for those people, but people are really cutting into me and digging into me and making it personal. And I got this weird feeling that was like, Oh, I can write things and it can make people feel a certain way. And I'm not by my goal is not to make people feel bad, but my goal is to sort of instill something. We say this a lot of authority, which is a whole different thing in music. If everyone likes everything we're putting out, it feels like we're doing something wrong. Usually the things that do well are the things that you know. Whatever. 75% of the people we send it to early like and a 25% say, I don't know, this is weird or I don't like this. I hate this, And those are the things that work. And this is what this felt like all of a sudden. That's kind of what I knew. I had something okay, two threads to directions. I want to take this one. Did you were you reassured? Do you think that history that you had in putting out music and getting that 75 25 split and understanding that did that help propel you in this time of doubt where it was that I was at a muscle that you'd sort of conditioned? I think so. Yeah. Because I remember immediately making that connection in my brand. I hadn't made it until I was reading these comments. Of course. I mean, I literally felt it physically in my stomach. And my chest is like, uh and then But then I was able to separate and be like these. These people don't hate me. They don't know me. They have their own feelings, and this is bringing up those feelings for them. And I hope they figure out, you know, they should write their story to where they should do something. But but yeah, that's that's the moment when I made that connection. So I think you're right. I think it did give me a weird perspective and experience toe draw from. Okay, keep pushing, though. You put this out there, you put this out there and like this, I'm also I wanna like, sign post for a second where I'm going. If this is you were a music guy in my head like music guy. Creator, entrepreneur, having started the, you know, um, the record store. And when you sent me the original piece that you I think the first piece that you sent me was New York Times piece, and I was like, Whoa, this is so good. And I had no idea, uh, and and but to me, that's part of this sort of this beauty. And my, you know, my curiosity around these things is again going back to whoever's watching and listening. Right now, there are thousands of people and you have an idea in your head, and people don't know you as this or think about. And is it fair to say this is it? This is an opportunity. Like you, you've got nothing to lose. Like what was part of your psychology around putting this out? Did you feel like you had something to lose? But you had because it was a day job. And did you feel like you could lose this because you know your day, Jack. Just orient us. Yeah, things like, No, my job is never concerned. I mean, my thing about writing when I started to tell friends and people I was writing, of course, it was always like, Oh, you're gonna gonna write about music, gonna write about the music business. And I was like, No, that's that sounds boring. That's what I do. And I love my job, but it's not. It's not literally in my life, even though my whole life has been built on that. Strangely, you know, there are other dimensions that I'm not exploring. And that's what that's what this is for. Two me and some of it is absolutely connected to music, but but it's different than that. So So my job was my boss was supportive of that original piece and that that's never been a concern. But, um, but the concern is simply what will people think? And what will those close to me think way more than these commenters on the Internet? I'm never going to see them. Who cares what All my friends, my coworkers, my mom, my wife, what all these people think and everyone was really supportive so that that helped the time. But, I mean, I'm trying to think the other risks involved. I know the thing that was in my head and I've never been. I've never been good at figuring out that seeing the road and seeing the map. So I wasn't doing this saying, I'm gonna publish eight pieces and then I'm going to write a book. And then, you know, all these things that actually ended up happening. And I think in the back of my mind, maybe I did know. But I was more taking it as it came. And I was definitely pushing suddenly felt like something. Once he published a thing or two, no house to compare it. It felt like kind of being in a band and the sort of fun and attention that comes from it and people saying nice things. There's a lot about it that reminded me of hadn't playing abandoned probably 10 years of that of getting off the stage every night, people saying Good job. It was a version of that, so that was part of what was propelling me. But the risk was definitely just in what people would think and where I was going with it and the fear of I think Then even early on I knew that I was that I wanted to write a book and I would write a book. But I wasn't saying it yet because I was afraid to say that to somebody in case I didn't do it. Yeah, that makes sense. It makes perfect sense. And that's that. There's a huge take away for people who are listening and speaking of listening. And when I give a shit out to Carol in Scotland and Michelle in Irving, Texas, and where we got Tamara in, um, Buffalo, Minnesota, I don't know sound like to two different places to me. But says Buffalo, Minnesota, come a U. S A. Um, Abby Michelle A. People tuning in from all over the world. I want to give you a shout out and this idea of writing for yourself being taking some risks but recognizing that the risks are small, especially, there's a I think, a brilliant insight in that the the haters are not actually hating you write. It's it's really about them and that combination of a little bit of courage, you know, not too much planning a little bit of action and a little bit of ah, realizing that the world, the people that are going to respond or not, the ones that your are actually on your short list and that when your short list is responding with encouragement. These are your parents, your peers, your friends, your wife, your partner. Spouse like that is just such a powerful combination. And I feel like it's available to so many people, right? And yet, you know, And yet here we are. There's the reason that thousands of people are watching, and listening to this is because there's something that's still in the way, so that makes me wanna yeah, I want to keep pulling on that thread in a second. I want to go down. You've written more extensively about race since then that I want to keep tracing on that. It's soap powerful in the time that we're in right now, but I want to go back and say, How much do you attribute this to being around putting yourself around? If you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with? Putting yourself around creators, entrepreneurs, risk takers. Um, but What? What role has that played for you? Yeah, that That's 110% of it. I think you know, weirdly. Early on, I think I knew that I hate the term creative people. But you know, I mean, I've always been toe. I was raised. I was born in New York City. My first school is an elementary school in Amherst, Massachusetts. That was really it was Ah, forget it was called, but it was basically part of you masses. Education school is like an experimental elementary school classrooms themselves. There's a second story that was all mirrors that you could see from the classroom, but you couldn't see was behind them. And what was behind them for grad students plugging in headphones, watching all the classes, that sort of studying how it worked, I guess in that I was there from first first of fourth grade and it was incredible. We never had homework. It was very, you know, super smart kids, Super international facility professors. Kids were there and people from all over the world came would study for a couple of years a really fascinating, interesting place. But I loved and then we moved back to New York City, where I was born. I went to the school called Little Red Schoolhouse, which is the sort of famous school like a Communist school back in the day and where Angela Davis and all these people went. Same thing, really interesting. Forward thinking, experimental school. And that was kind of my base. So I think, without trying, without even realizing it, I was always around a really big mix of interesting people had to have rubbed off on me. But then in sixth grade, we moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. Mom worked for American Express, and, uh, and they moved there and we did it and that was the opposite. That was very normal straight, you know, the most normal place I've ever been in my life. That was their sixth grade through high school, but weirdly, I loved it. And I think at that point I had enough of a base that I still gravitated towards. I mean, I'm friends with a lot of those people who were just a smart and interesting and creative, um, and that the and then from there, I think you just naturally continue to gravitate towards those people. So that's yeah. I think that is a huge part of my life. Is how much is that? How much of that is conscious? Like I want to spend more time with this person because they because they fire me up and I want to spend less time with this other person because they don't, right? I don't know the number. Is it 50 50? I mean, it definitely is partially conscious that I mean, then I guess the markers are What are these people wearing? What bands A listening to, you know, it might not be able to get deep in their heads when you're in sixth grade, but there are things that you can see that that person is in the football. And I'm not really in the football, but that person, that kid has a whatever minor threat shirt on. So I think I'll talk to him. I don't either. I don't believe we've met. My name's Ian, and I'm from minor minor threat. All right. Okay. Wow. Legend. Um, well, I think this is a, um another. Well, a question that I'm thinking is out there in the world, and I probably should. There mostly air. Just praise and gratitude here from Chicago from Barbados is in the house, lets you reason together Yorkshire, England. But the question that I'm curious about is do is this something that you if you can't identify it as a, is a clear? Obviously, yes. I'm gravitating toward this kid with the minor threat T shirt. You sort of are 50 50 on that. What about now in your adult life? How precious are you with your time and your attention and your energy? Um, yeah, just leave it that all right. I mean, I guess a lot more precious now just because I have less of it and it's sort of it's pretty partitioned. I mean, I have my job, which takes a lot of time and energy, and I have my side thing, which takes a lot of time and energy, which is writing and have a family and friends and everything. So, you know, I mean, do I spend a lot of time searching out new people? That's something I actually wish I had more time for in my life, and I would let me know, and I live in New York and a fascinating, diverse interesting city, so I wish there is time to be more of that. But I don't think I do as much as I should. Um, that's fair. But it's that I think it has a lot to do with setting up your your ecosystem. You know, I think living in living in Brooklyn, working in a record label, um, pursuing writing on this. I mean, that is just the alchemy is all there. And it's I have a hard time reconcile ing and reconcile ing the fact that if you are, if you live in, um Springfield, Illinois, and I'm just picking that literally. That was the only city that popped into my brain and you live in the suburbs. And how do I cultivate this interesting life? Because, Nobile, it's easy. Your thermic of mixed race. You were raised playing music and bands going to these amazing schools. Who am I? You know, I grew up white middle class, born in the eighties. Parents were together like I don't have I don't have I'm not saying this is it's mostly me, but there's a couple things that aren't true there, But I'm just trying to like generic Middle America I didn't have an easy, normal childhood normal, whatever that means. Why would anybody care what I had to write? Because there are a lot of people right now that that are challenging themselves with that question, right? Which is funny, because on paper, I would be in the very hard position and you would be in the very easy position in the world, right? So it's weird that suddenly I'm in the advantageous position, but But that's hard. And I mean, I don't really know the answer. It's, you know, I think there's always been this thing where people want an easy life until they realize that sometimes more difficult or a less traditional life can often lead to a more interesting life. If you can get through it, Yeah, um, and again, even though I have a really sort of nontraditional, interesting background, it's never seemed hard or bad for me. Whatever. My family is poor and they're all these interesting things. But I had a great childhood and I loved it, so it's never hard, but but you know how to do that if you're in in Middle America, not surrounded by a lot of interesting stuff, maybe a move. That's simple thing, which is easier said than done and can cost money and, you know, uproot your life. But let's look at you panting or is that a friend of yours near? But I got here. I love it. I love it. I just want I want. I want folks at home to know Doc thinks we're playing. It's warm where nubile is, but it's not that water. Um, all right, let's go back. I promise we would, um, we go down that path and then come back to talk about what you've been writing about. You've been writing about race and race relations, your history, your history, being having a black father and a white mother. Um, in not just that the NPR, which you mentioned earlier by The New York Times. Um, a How did that happen? How did you You move into that world of writing and and be talk about the timing and the reception and your headspace around all this stuff because we're dying to know. Yeah, this is, I think, where it got interesting for me. And so I published the sonic boom pieces in the Stranger and then the very personal sort of more race piece in the root. And then, of course, I was like, Great, What do I do next? Now, whatever. I'm out for lack of a better term. I've said my my grand statement and, you know, open myself up and it felt great. So now I can do anything. Now I can talk more about Racer about whatever I want to, and it's fine. So what's next? And I didn't necessarily know is still taking classes, still doing lots of, I guess what? What's called free writing, where you just right and just, you know, no one's ever gonna see it. It doesn't matter. So the weird thing that I've learned in it, it took me a while. To figure it out is to really just is to pay attention, meaning there's a lot going on in the world. There's a lot surrounding you every day. And as I started to think about writing, it wasn't about me deciding what to write about. It was about me paying attention to my surroundings in my world and picking from that. And so I think the next piece that I published, my wife was a financial planner went Teoh a convention in Dallas and invited me to come for a few days as that sounds great, whatever will eat food and hang out in a new city and all this or could the hotel? So we went, and I ended up go into the Dallas State Fairgrounds. Goes is supposed to be this incredible. The Texas State Fair, right? Incredible Art Deco buildings, a sort of a weird thing. And when I went to the African American Museum that said, That's really amazing. And when you walk in and one of the exhibits, I was the only person there is like a Tuesday afternoon. There's this huge Ku Klux Klan suit just sitting there, and there's all this history and things about it, and it really terrified me. And of course, as I was thinking about all this, I was like Think about it, think about it. This is the next thing right about it. Don't don't just walk away from this thinking. Well, that was scary. Anyway, what's for dinner? I went back to the hotel, eventually went to this restaurant and immediately to sat down and started writing about it and turned it into this thing, you know, became kind of a research project. It turns out one of the biggest Klan rallies in America ever was in that exact spot. And there's this really sort of dark history from about that exact space where it was that day. And so So that was the next thing and ended up pitching that I think to a few places and again getting rejected, but still just thinking it doesn't matter. It's gonna end up somewhere. So I'm just gonna You just keep going and you keep grabbing email addresses. This is really even, though is in New York a new and knew a lot of people. I did not know people in new circles, so I was still just cold, emailing people looking up websites and trying to find editors. And my gun got lucky with this one with Huffington Post and that ran. And so now you know, there's always and you'll get this chase. There's always a business mind to this as well, which I've always had this kind of entrepreneurial thing. You know, I love playing in bands. I also loved all the record companies, stuff of it, the business part. But with this. The writing itself, I guess, was the creative part. But what's also fun is the business end of it. So, you know, I've never been one of those creators who's like, Well, I could do the creative fire man, But then I don't know what to do. I need someone else to help with that. I mean, of course, it's great to have people to help, but I love both parts. So So in my head, I was like, Great, Now I have this piece in the stranger. I have this piece on the route and I have a piece in Huffington Post. So now I have these bylines, and that's something to tell the next person with the next thing. And so, um, New York Times thing and that was definitely I guess my big break came when my uncle, who I'm super close with my mother's younger brother, is a jazz musician who made this really incredible sort of avant garde jazz album called Valley of Search 1975 when I was a toddler. I've always loved that album, and it just felt like a good time to reissue it. Strangely, that kind of music was coming back. And they're a lot of people getting into those old records vinyl, of course. And so, you know, he's alive and well and still plays music all the time. And so we talked about it and decided that I would reissue that record on my own label that summer since 2018. So I've got a dog panting again here. Gonna wait, Wait. So we did that. And in the process, of course, you know, they're all these photographs and all this music and all these memories were coming up childhood in that time and place and everything. And so you know, it's all right, We're alive. This is a bit of on camera. This is This is this is what creativelive TV's about, right? We're in your your Oglala airport. Oh, no barking. No, that's the next level. Very good. Got rid of him so that my point from earlier I think I really was paying attention was like, OK, how do I turn this into more than a project of just putting out this record? You know, I'm feeling really connected to my past right now from the started writing about it, that was The easiest thing was remember the apartment building where he lived and where this album was recorded, what it smelled like and what New York was like in 1975 even though I was a toddler, right? I remember so much of this. So I just started writing about it and got it to a point where I was like, I think this feels like a short piece that obviously has to be in a New York centric outlet, and the Village Voice is going under. There weren't many at the time from some quarters, and I had is like, Well, the New York Times is, is the one, Um and that's the biggest one. And I got super lucky. And that a friend who I talked to new and editor there and this wasn't didn't end up being a music piece. It all I mean, it's about my uncle's album, but to me it's more about my childhood in New York in that time and place, Um, so she talked to an editor who was in the metro section, which was, you know, the section of New York City of stories. Basically, um, and he I remember her saying like he read it and he likes it. He thinks it's a bit inside baseball like that meeting like it's very to specific. Maybe not wide enough for this audience. Which and I was like, Fair enough? Sure, it's about that. It's about me five in one apartment building that no one knows about, but you know, whatever. So so that was kind of that. And then then it just got into luck where I ran into. Another friend told him that, and he said, Oh, I know that editor. I'll drop him a note And then I think maybe a week later they got a colony. Was like, Hey, I want to run this. It's really great And ah, that was kind of it. And for a moment it got really scary because it was like, You know, there is this ethics thing of The New York Times and a lot of papers where you know, it's your uncle's album that you are releasing as a commercial product to sell, and you're writing about it for The New York Times. That might be a problem. Let me check. I was so terrified for about 24 hours. Well, he said, I want to run this, but I'm not sure if I'm gonna be able to, But they came back. We, you know, we changed enough in it that it doesn't sound like that. It's what's referred to as a recording. Um, and it came out and that was incredible. That felt like a big thing. And that was the moment where I decided to make a website. I'd always wanted to make one, but I was like, I'm not a writer until I have not only a handful of pieces, but one in a sort of major paper. That's where it all change. Right now I have four or five things out, and one is in The New York Times, and that's, you know, family members and friends. And everyone knows is that I want I want to read something from an NPR piece for those folks who are not familiar with your work. I've never been a father, and I've never had a father, though my dad and I live in the same city or pass, it never crossed. Occasionally, someone asked me how he's doing. It surprises me every time, and I usually respond to something like quote you'd probably know better than I would, which feels confrontational and often leads to a slightly apologetic, less biting explanation of the fact that I've never known him. I hope I inherited his best qualities and missed out on his worse. But I can only guess what those qualities are. For much of my life, even my racial identity has been somewhat of a question. My mother, who is white, chose to have me and raised me on her own, my father's black. But because I had never was a part of his life, I've never held a strong black identity. I felt I belonged in any single race. I grew up in a diverse and liberal surrounding where if anyone asked, I was racially mixed and that was fine. I'm often asked the question, What are you? And it goes on from there. But like this thought about identity, yeah, is How important is that for you? How important is understanding who you are? Where you're from? What your d n a like why the archaeological dig at this point in your life, run on your own identity. I think it has never been that important to me and again, I think it's because even though I have technically been missing, I didn't know my father. I will. I felt very full, and I had a lot of great people surrounding me, and I always felt taking care of and safe from that really happy childhood so that something happened. I think once I started writing that, I started exploring that part of my brain more and it became more important. And I think 23 me is honestly part of that, because it was so easy to find out more because I never knew much about my dad's side. Yeah, um, so it's on Lee, newly important to me, It's not like a man my whole life. I mean, I guess what I just said, there is my whole life. I've never known anything, but it didn't seem to matter for most of my life. But now it matters. I think maybe just because it's so easy to find out more, there's just there's such a powerful message embedded in there that just through the act, through the act of writing, these things have sort of they've, um, one of the layers of the onion of are you're actively peeling them back rather. And how do you have a practice? Do you have, ah, daily writing practice now? Like, what's your? I know people who do and I don't, but it's interesting. I mean, I know your book starts without my Angela quote that I don't remember exactly what it is, but basically that you can't run out of creativity. The more you use, the more you use, the more you have. Yeah, and it feels like that. So every time I think I don't know what to write about again, I pay attention and something else comes up. So I don't have a daily fact that I try to sometimes. But I'm not as good at free writing, basically, just thinking I'm going to write for an hour every morning, no matter what. It is hot. I don't do that. I'm usually working on something specific, and sometimes I won't do it for a week and I'll come back to it and I find that I'm sort of refreshed and in a better place. So I think the daily practice works really well for a lot of people, but not as well for me Well, let's I'm gonna point another threat here. That's something we touched on a little bit earlier. And it has to do with the people you surround yourself with. I mean, clearly, you have a long history of being around creator, creators and entrepreneurs. He talked about that you talked about even, you know, in your young life as a student being raised in, um, an interesting school environment, Right? Right now there's somebody who's listening to this and saying that doesn't that doesn't destroy that. Whose Who are we featuring on the podcast? Hey, this is Ah, God, I'm actually forgetting their names. Cali and somebody else. They're crazy. Spuds McKenzie Dogs out here. Go away. You know how microphones work? It sounds like they are on the mic like, anyway. Well, right, right now, again, there's someone who's like That's not me. You gave advice earlier, which was move right, right. I'm I'm just wondering is Yeah, it seems like that's prohibitive. And yet there's, you know, every single person has a story to tell. And what I am so enamored by with your world is that your story did not unfold. Tell your in your forties, right this is This is right. It feels like it just starting. In a way. It's exciting in that way. Yeah, and so there's this just hard core judgment that I find it in their creator entrepreneur community because it's just constant like comparison to where other people were at whatever part in their career. And by this time, Lady Gaga had had, you know, 22 number one hits and she'd start in three. You know, Philip on 10 Grammys and and then you're just getting started. And yet this is one of my one of the reasons I was very excited to have you on the show. You've had a very successful career as a entrepreneur and as a musician, and now you're entering a completely new phase as a writer, we're almost going back to square one. How much of what you've learned along the way is, um, being applied to this new endeavor in in In short, what role did your mastery in one thing play in your ability to, um, excavate an entirely new universe? All right. And I think everything leaves the next thing right. I mean, is Muchas there's aspire to me. I'm 48. Now that thinks, you know, of course, there's, like the fear of aging and like go to my I have to hurry up and do things because I don't want to be old still trying to do stuff. But on the other hand, I think it's exciting for me to sit here at 48 think I've done a lot of cool things that I'm really excited about and am doing those things and proud of. But I'm not done. He always wanted be pushing and doing new things and trying new experiences. That's what keeps life exciting. But But yes, so much of what's happened in the past feeds what happens in the future and allows me to feel more comfortable taking risks. And, you know, when when Jason I opened Sonic Boom, we're 25 we were both working for a minimum wage of another record store, Easy Street, which is great in Seattle and thought we should open our own record store, and that at the time was a huge risk that, you know, we both gone to college. All of our friends were getting real jobs. That was the time in the nineties when it's pretty easy to get a real job, and all of our friends were, you know, had expense accounts and war suits and went to work, and they loved it. They were thrilled and they took us out to dinner and everything, and I don't know how or what I would have done, but I supposed with my degree, I could have gotten a job out of college, but it just wasn't even. It's more than there was like a little voice in my head. There's a really loud voice in my head that was like, No, what you want to dio is work in music and you also want to play in a band and you can't get a real job. It will prevent you from doing that. And I think that voice has always existed in some way. And it's not a voice. It's not like a magical thing. It's it's It's yourself knowing in a way, what you're supposed to be doing, taking risks on them. And so now, yeah, now that voice says, you have a great life, you're really lucky and keep pushing and do different things. And it, knowing that most of the time that I've done that it's worked, makes me feel better that it will continue to do so. I guess, though, that that's you just said the thing that I thought you might say, which is there's this trust and this sort of an inertia that the more you take a chance and even if it doesn't go horribly wrong, if it's like a little bit bad, neutral or good right? And I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit more about that. What role has trust played in your and and trusted? The trust is not. Maybe it's in the universe. Maybe it's it's it's in your circle of friends. Or maybe it's in yourself. What, you tell me what role trust has played at all, and I think trust in what right with me it to trust in myself in that I am capable of making good decisions for myself that will that not, you know, it won't always work. I mean, the interesting thing is that I can't I know I've failed to do things I know I've asked people for things and they have said no, whether it's trying to get a job or trying to get in a band or trying to publish a piece and having five people turn it down and three others not respond. But I don't remember those things, and I think and hope that's a healthy thing for me. It's like when you go to Vegas, most people lose money. But you remember the winds because those air fun and those are exciting. Whatever winning that blackjack hand and everyone cheering, that's what you remember, even if you walk away, whatever $500 in the hole when It's a weird analogy, but it kind of makes sense for this because I can't Those moments are blips when things haven't happened for me and they absolutely exist. They're just not what I've chosen to focus on. What you do is to use those to try to do the next thing, or it sends you in a different direction and you re focus your energy so but the trust is absolutely the right term, and for me it's just trust in myself that take the information that exists and decide what to do with it and make it into something positive, even if it's somebody turning me down for something Then you go the next thing and try to make that work. Amazing. How, how much of the current BLM movement, the zeitgeist that we're all experiencing right now Has that played a role in giving you more courage, more optimism, more of a desire to put your your take on race out into the public? Or has it? Is it is there? Um is there ah side to that? That is not obvious. Like, how has this current time How do you relate to this current time? Right you're writing. Um I mean, you know, it became on obvious focus of my writing. I guess obviously, before this this current moment, which is, sadly, only a month or so old right now. Um, really, once I started writing, that was a focus. So but But it's certainly propelled it, and it's certainly part of it. I mean, the the recent New York Times piece with that Eckstein What? That was, um, after all the George Floyd stuff and all these horrible things happening. There were these two women in the record industry who called for blackout Tuesday, which was basically saying everyone in the music business to take this particular Tuesday off, um, sort of the boycott, but also just to think and reflect and use it as a positive timeto try to make change. And so or my company did that. And I remember thinking, but what should I do on that day? Um, and the back story of that at Eckstein is was the president of Mercury Records, which is the label that my band, Lemon, signed to back in the nineties. And he was the first ever black president of a major label in America, which is just crazy, because I think he got that job in 1990 it blew my mind that it had taken that long for that to happen. But it had, and when we met him back then we didn't get that much time with them. And so I didn't get to really ask him the questions I wanted to. But as I got into my book, which I'm working on, I kind of look back to that day and, uh, and I was in L. A. Where he lives in January this year and thought I wonder if I could get a hold of head and askem some things the things that would have asked him 25 years ago. And so I did. And ah is really receptive. We have this incredible lunch and he told me all these great stories about his life and ah, that was kind of that. And so blackout Tuesday if he wants later. When I thought about what I would do that was positive and constructive and sort of related was like Of course, they know what to do. I'm gonna call Ed and just wrap with him that afternoon. And then, like I was saying before the business, part of my brain turned on and was like, Well, I should also try to pitch it somewhere and make it into a thing and put a spotlight on him and, of course, my writing and everything. And so that again, luck and timing and being in the right place that emailed an editor at the time. So I don't know. I just said kind of told the shorter version of the story. I just told you and said I'd love to talk to him and he said, Great. Talked him tomorrow we're gonna run it this week while it's still in the news cycle. And that terrified me because everything else I've pitched has always been like, OK, I've written this piece. I really honed it down. I've shown it toe one or two kind of writer friends who give me some comments. Now it's ready toe show to an outlet and say, Hey, will you run this? And this was the opposite. This was a have an idea. I want to talk to this guy and write about it. You know, one of the biggest papers in the world and this is great. It's doing 48 hours, so that led to the conversation. But from I mean, I think going back to be a lamb and everything that's happening now this has already been in my head and it's already been in my writing, and now it's exciting because it's it's more out there in the world and people are more open to it. You can see that bestseller list is insane, and it's great, so overdue. It's crazy. Yeah, so I think it's it's less propelling it, but I'm really excited that it's happening and I'm happy to be something small part of it. Yeah, I don't at the risk of being prescriptive, especially around something is charged as the racial injustice in our country. I want if I can excavate that, um, the piece of just doing You like the fact that you've been working on this and writing about your mixed race heritage your, um, like a NBA, you know, on peeling the onion or whatever way talked about you've been working on that for, you know, x number of years. And then this is a moment where the market has come to you and if I don't want to again tie the market to a movement of racial justice. But if you use the example The New York Times list as the market right then like that to me, is there. So there's you can take the context away just for a moment and look at the U focusing on you. And at some point, the market pays attention to you, and it will probably happen several different times across a very a variety of subjects. This was true for me as a photographer. Action sports was not cool when I started taking pictures of me and my friends. Skateboarding and surfing don't give two shits Then the SUV company started marketing this outdoor sort of action sports lifestyle to sell shit, right? And I in the course of like, five years, my I te next my income by doing the exact same thing I was doing five years ago, right on. And that's a huge thing that you know, it's going back to music again. I mean, people ask me all the time, you know, here's my band. Can you give me some advice? And it's always such a weird one for me because my advice is always like, Do you like what you're doing? And the answer is usually, yes, it's like, Great. You got to keep doing it and figure out a way to get in front of people. But, you know, if you're looking for advice, that's like change the songs or more guitars or whatever that that's I don't have that advice. Do you need to hope that people come around to what you're doing? And the most control you can have over that is to just keep doing it and get better at it? Yeah, and and double down on you like that because that's really what you've done. I got, uh, that relative related slightly different. You have spent a lot of time around people who have pursued their passions and created the living and a life that they have desired. And is there are there lessons that you can share? I mean, let's take your story out of it for a second. You as writings, you have you as a record executive, looking at the lives of people who have poured their heart and soul on this stage of the page or um on the screen and any takeaways from that. The biggest one is that every single one of those people that I can think of has taken risks and put themselves out there. And it's easy to look at them once they're doing well there. Once there's crowds or once there's records or whatever. But every one of those people, how the first show, every one of those people had a show where people booed or only three people came or they felt they were terrible or others felt they were terrible. There's I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who does anything interesting who doesn't have that experience, and that's have to get through that and you have to keep going, and it's what makes you better at what you do. And that's everyone I know would say that heavy head conversations with these folks about any any that you can share I'm trying to think about. I mean, I actually can't think of any. Obviously, I'm sure I have but but the fact that you were confident in being able to say it and feel it, you know that that tells us enough. And I think that there's a take away and they're right. Like and again people are, um, people in the comments section right now are It's just a It's a great reminder that Oh my God, You mean Grimes had a show that was her first show, right? Yeah, of course you did. Exactly. But that concept is so far removed from our psychology that we've, like, literally for got it right. And even when we put out our first crimes record with his vision, she was years into her career, and that album did really well. But people thought, Oh, she's an overnight success and she had worked so hard and then so many cool things before. We were even involved If she that was, she did what she did and we helped amplify it. That's you know, again, people don't always see that part of someone's career, but it's usually they're, you know, they're very few people who just pop up there in the right place at the right time, and it does happen. But it's not a good plan. Have you ever felt pressure? I'm reading a comment right now from Tony Veronica. She's saying, Thank you so much for this. You know, you need to stop comparing ourselves. It can quickly turn from inspiring to defeating if you're looking at where someone else is at some juncture in that career, Um, but that she, she goes, continues on here. It's rather long comment, and ultimately, what it comes around to is what about, like this concept of settling into a career and to a family relative to your dreams? You know, you've talked about, um, your wife A J. And what role has the the family or circle of friends played in either promoting, hindering, motivating, decoupling her identity with like what? What role have as have your friends and family played in your either you know your success or struggling because you're worried about what they think, right? I mean, my wife's played a huge role, and she's incredibly talented, smart, ambitious and, you know, around the same time all this is happening when I was starting to write not only was encouraging, but she made this massive career shift. Where she had a real job was I think she's just gotten a raise. Is the first time in her life when she felt like she could save a little bit of money. And she got interested in money. Oddly, for that reason, because she realized that a lot of her friends couldn't give her advice on what to do. And it's a long story. She started this amazing podcast called Money Explained, and one thing led to another on two years later, she's a certified financial planner with her own firm with her friend to the C p. A. And they're killing it and, uh, you know, and she just went and did that with no one else pushing her and no one asking her to do it. She you know, she quit her job. She did so so again, you know, was that I gravitate toward her the night that I met her because I saw all of that in her, Probably in some way. Um, that goes back to your thing about kind of community. And who you spend your time with. Um, I'm kind of forgetting that. No, no, it's just, like Is that is that ah, Is is that that is a non traditional, Um, And I'm saying this I'm trying toe check in myself while I'm saying this relative to the experience that, um, we air conditioned to understand socially and culture in our country the fact that at 40 something, you're, you know, years of age you could switch careers or add a new career, maybe is not even switched cause you're still executive. But for Andy and like, this is a new This is a new paradigm. And I'm wondering if you feel resistance to this and, you know, or is it does it feel natural to you and for anyone I was wanting, if you had some advice for anyone who you know is feeling that Wait a minute. How doe I reinvent myself at 42 where it's not just like I got you know kids and, ah, you know, responsibilities and a mortgage. And, you know, these are stories that we tell ourselves. In part they might be true, but the hurdles that there are they really hurdles. Are they just in her head? What's your What's your philosophy? I mean, I guess they're both there really hurdles in their in your head of people. Kids certainly make a difference. I don't have kids, and I don't know if I would have been able to do the things I've done with kids. Kids obviously take time and money. Which two big things, Um, And so it's to go back to the sort of not quitting my job, but rather starting to Do. You think so? Yeah, to your point, I haven't had a career shift to me. I'm still very much a record executive that this great job authority I love it, and that's what I want to continue to dio. At the same time, I got to get my feet wet and published one little thing and then published another little thing and turned into a bigger thing all the while working my real job and then turned it into a book which you know a big publishers gonna publish, which is just crazy to me. It still blows my mind that that's a thing and that someone else read this and decided that was a good idea. The world obviously still has to see it, OK, and of course, there's still fear of that. But you know, it's, ah, the thing. I think it's it's people don't you don't need to stop what you're doing to do something else. I think that's a huge thing. It might take you a little longer to do the new thing if you're unable to stop, but you don't need to. You don't have to quit your job to start your art practice or your music factors. Whatever you can write music. You could get up an hour earlier every morning and stay up late every night. You can spend time on the weekends. Recording Music's a harder one, Um, because well, until now, so much of it required touring being on the road, especially when you're smaller. It's the best way to build it is to play live, Um, but now suddenly there's a level playing field, so maybe now's a great time. If you want to be a musician to figure out, you know, whatever it is that learned the recording program and you can learn all this stuff online on YouTube and start writing music and start selling it, you could do that. That's you know, you're clearly a multi hyphen. It right, we've This is a thread that has been very consistent. Our conversation over the past hour. I'm curious how you describe yourself at parties. What do you do? You know what's up. Good to meet you. So what's your gig? What do you right? I mean, I would generally, depending on the party, I would say I run a record company. That's my general line. And I just put it that and I'm also I'm I think I am a bit humble in situations like that and tend to maybe brag less than I even could or should. But I would never say I run a record company and we're putting out all these great records, and I also to Saturn article The New York Times and have a book coming out. I would I would never run through the thing. I think I would just I still identify very much as a record company guy. And is that safe? Why do you do that? Well, it's true. That's the thing I've done the longest. It's, you know, I guess it's safe, but it's It can also lead to other things because still, most people generally don't know what that is, which is always a surprise to me what it was like. Oh, what else? Your record producer. No, I'm not a record producer. Producers. The person is actually in the studio recording the records, which is not what I dio, you know, it always goes. Maybe I should just say I'm a writer. Maybe from this conversation on This is why I'm asking for And I think it's a conversation that so many of us tab in our heads like, What am I now? And for me, it was the opposite. I started calling myself a photographer before I was legitimately like, established in that world as almost like a signal to the universe. Right? That's not That's an important thing to do, though that makes sense if you're trying. If you know you want to get somewhere, then make it happen. That's part of it is believing it and putting that out there. Ah, Ash Jensen from Facebook wants to know if you have ah, few favorite musicians and a few favorite mentors that you respect and or look up to in general. Let me think. I mean, I am a huge fan. It's not a musician in particular, but of the band Bad Brains Who is Ah Legend, late seventies early eighties punk band from Washington, D. C. For black men, which is very interesting at the time. And I guess still is now oddly, Um, and I think the reason I look up to them I mean, they're one of my favorite bands of all time. I love the music, and I love the politics and everything about it. But what's really interesting to me is that I think they did something that I needed at the time. I'm a product of really early MTV, like early eighties, and so I was in tow. Whatever Van Halen and Motley Crue, but also the Human League and kind of all the NuWave bands that they were playing into me. There wasn't I didn't know. I didn't see the line that existed between new wave and metal which was a thing in the early eighties MTV. They played those two kinds of music, but to me they displayed music. Nirvana gets a lot of the credit for fusing different styles, which absolutely did in Jane's addiction before them. But I think bad Rains was kind of the band, at least for me. That brought together a bunch of different things and obviously this huge race element, but kind of showed me that you could mix a bunch of things and bring about two people together musically. So that's my musical one, um, on a personal Or I guess maybe even business meant for level. I mean, I don't have anybody have anybody famous. I don't really amazing. Internship College, PolyGram Records. There's a woman named Steph who it was a record person in Seattle where worked for and he was great and a bunch of ways when I learned a ton about the record business from her, and that was sort of my first experience there. But he was also just a really good person, and I remember the way she treated people when we went to record stores and even people who were difficult to deal with. She was great in dealing with them. And I remember one particular thing she told May. I met so many people in that job was like, You know, when someone doesn't understand your name, the bill, you need to say it again and you say him to build. And if they say what you say in Abeel, it's an Arabic name, the bill and he's like then you've said it three times. I remember that line specifically, but that was a really interesting thing that from that day on I paid a lot more attention. Teoh. And it's good to have people like that. Wow, that's really interesting. Yeah, um, bad brains. What was the name of the track that I think the singer that the rumor had it that the singer saying that from prison? Sacred love? Yeah, I think its true it. It's a really crazy story. Uh, while they were recording that album I against I he there's the documentary on that album. So the producer Ron Saint Germain, I think there almost done with the vocals and he said, Yeah, yeah, we've actually got to get done today because I have toe go serve 60 days for cannabis charge tomorrow. And they're like, What do you think you didn't tell us? This is like, yeah. Yeah. So what's Let's run the vocals now before I have to go? And they got everything done except for that song. And so they figured out a way for him to do it over the pay phone from prison. When you listen to it, you can hear it. Sounds like, you know, scratching and different. But it's such like that is, to me that epitomizes punk and D I y and that eight those of like No, no, we're gonna make what would typically be a bug. We're making that a feature. I like that. The through the telephone. Um, yeah. And for those of you, if you're not familiar with that, you need to go check. Check that out. Right? And sacred love. Bad brains. Um, okay. For the incredible story. Incredible. Um, my man, I I keeping you longer than I promise. Just because I don't want to let you go. We haven't hung out like Super Fan and even got rid of the dogs I wanted. I want Teoh spend the last few minutes talking about your upcoming book. Yeah, I'm I think the folks were listening. And yours truly are very happily seduced by your writing. Your art. Um, the way that you've, um you just built an amazing life arc. And to have that captured in a book that you've written, um, I I hope I'm getting an advanced copy. We'll have you back on the show. Where? Good move. We're gonna moving some units, but tell us a little bit about the journey of, um, getting, uh, a major publisher to write Teoh, publish your memoir. And now what can we expect from it? Yeah, I mean, kind of along with their path to where it written publishing's whatever five or six pieces at the same time have tons and tons of writing that haven't been published. That was lots of personal stuff. In a way, it was very compartmentalized meeting like I could write all these stories about the bands I was in. I could write all these stories about my childhood. I could write all these stories about race. I could write these stories about the record store. Um, and then I started to realize that this kind of there's enough stuff here that I bet I could make it into a memoir Big into the story of my life. I guess for lack of a better term and talk about something, why would anyone want to read this? I mean, those feelings you're doing start to finish your life, but I just decided it was something I needed to do. And I think it's sort of a self challenge. Like, I wonder if I can do this. I want if I can make this into something that feels like it has a story and an iron company, you know, you don't want to just be like and then this happened. Then this happened on the Ark is really, you know, plays on kind of the 1st 10 years of my life, which my mother was on welfare and she with the single mom the whole time. My father never left us. That the agreement was she wanted to get pregnant and he said, Fine, I'm not gonna be in the picture. And so it's the opposite of the sad. You know, Father left kind of stuff is very deliberate. My mother is incredible. And so that's that's sort of where it all starts and yeah, we're on welfare and I'm a racially mixed kid and all this stuff, and it's all things that you would look at as very difficult, very disadvantageous. But it wasn't. I had this incredible life and really supportive nurturing people around all the time. Um and so I guess the big picture is despite these sort of hurdles, I've had this wonderful life and here a bunch of things that have happened during it. And some of them are really funny to me. Some are really sad, but it's all part of the whole thing. Don't stories need conflict? They dio. I mean, I go to jail. It's not. I guess it's not all good, but, like, that's my point is more that it's not all bad, even though it sounds like it could be. Thank you so much for being on this show. But what do you have a name for your upcoming memoir? Is it not settled? I can't say it. You can't get up. All right? We have now. We've, um, sufficiently planted the seeds. We've hooked again, people. Uh, Justin Ah, Ash Barbie Pepe Dusty craft. Tony Ger vendor Long list of people expressing a lot. A lot of gratitude. Um, we got South Africa, came back and said, You know, you you gave one shadow to South Africa. I want you to know, there two of us on the cats. So we get, um, people around the world saying, Thank you so much for sharing. Um, sounds like ah, beautiful. You are a beautiful human. Says as Jensen. Wow, Michelle Malaria. Um, what's the best place if people want toe, You know, read more of your writing. See the ah, the bands that you're curating and signing Give us a couple of coordinates on the internet for Yeah, just my full name. Nobile airs dot com is my website. That's all the writing stuff kind of chronologically listed out, Um, for a and A B I l For those who are listening rather than watching the broadcast right now a a Y e R s. Yep. And then for four a. D, which is the record company I work for. That's just the number four letter a letter D as in dog for a d dot com. And that's as you mentioned the National on Grimes and Future Islands and a ton of great bands and lucky enough to work with, man. Um, I didn't know that you you guys did the Pixies reissue and that Wow, that was crazy. So Well, yeah, I mean, all those pixies albums were on for 80 originally, those 1st 55 records. And, uh, you know, that's when whatever I was in high school listening to them It's so influential. Dio Yes, so do little that sort of the biggest one. Finally, it took forever, but went platinum a million sales in America last year and it is incredible to be ableto, you know, make this platinum record Award and actually hand it to the band who are truly like teenage idols of mine to be. And it was at Madison Square Garden. I mean, the whole thing was medical was crazy. This is another look into the, uh, inspired and charmed like, but thanks so much for your time. But thank your wife has been great grateful to have you on the show. I'm already looking forward to the next one. Congrats on the book and on all the pieces so inspiring to read what you've written. Um, and thanks for being a good friend. Thank you. Hope to see you soon in person. As if I'm looking forward to its been too long but, uh, signing off for everyone who's watching. Thanks so much for being a part of the show today for contributing your comments and questions. Very, very thoughtful audience today. And I hope you are here with us again soon, maybe even tomorrow.
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