Many Existentialist define existence as being-in-the-world or being-with-others. What do you think is the role of community, in relation to the development of one’s self?
It’s an unfortunate truth. I wish I could say that I alone have been responsible for my personal developments, for the most meaningful parts of my life, but it’s not true. Even when I think doing nothing, by myself, is going to lead to some personal breakthrough, it rarely does. You have to go out and do things with other people, you have to listen to them and see how they react to what you’re saying, or what you’re doing, and then you can learn from those experiences. A specific example…I need to play more shows, because it’s only when I’m doing that that I can be certain this is a real thing and have tangible proof that people are recognizing my efforts as an artist. Right? Soundcloud comments don’t matter, Facebook likes don’t matter, because they’re not tangible. Talking to someone after I play a set about the set is an experience from which I can learn and move forward.
How do you make earnest connection in a world of instant gratification?
Relationship building and delivering concrete, worthwhile endeavors. Deliver something so strong that people won’t demand instant gratification from you. I could release a song every day, and some people might think they would want that, but the quality of that work isn’t going to be as good and the impression won’t be as lasting as it would have been had I spent months writing and recording an entire album of songs that were well thought-out and worth releasing. At the same time, I think it’s really hard to keep people’s attention, so sometimes you need to give them what they think they want even if you know it’s not in everyone’s best interest.
How do you manage ennui?
I think doing anything productive helps. I feel worst when the list of things I have to do keeps getting longer, and it’s usually when I force myself to sit down and do them – mixing songs, following up on something, doing this interview – that I start to feel better about things. I think that pointlessness and boredom are the things, so I never have nothing to do.
In Albert Camus’ famous novel ‘The Stranger’ the central character, Mersault, is able to tolerate life in prison fairly well because of his general detachment. Is it fair to say that many people in our society “detach” as a way of coping with the violent unjust system that has been thrust upon us by history?
Yes. I do.