This week I interviewed my best friend, Andy Aragon. I’ve known him for years, we survived high school together, we create music together, and he’s the homie. We’ve definitely gotten each other through some real shit in each of our lives and continue to do so. That being said, interviewing each other is a bit strange because surface level knowledge of each other would carry little meaning. We decided to rather have a conversation about what our roots are as far as how we understand different concepts of music, the benefits of drawing, and our recent lives to more accurately represent each other as people.
We started by asking each other our first “eye-opener” bands were, in other words, a band that helped us to understand that music is so much more expansive than what’s in your immediate surroundings. He said that his basis was heavily rooted in AC/DC before he stumbled upon OutKast’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below, a CD of his brother’s. He said that it destroyed barriers for him and help him to realize that not everything under the umbrella category of “rap” is the repetitive stereotype. Andre 3000’s The Love Below side especially seamlessly fuses hip-hop with jazz, psychedelia, and the euphoric slow-jam, “Protoype”.
We then moved on to what three band we were listening to recently and what we like about them. He first chose Foxygen which I personally know he has listened to more times than any one person should. He says it appeals to the romantic and also embodies a childish freedom and lack of inhibition. His next current kick was David Bowie, which stemmed from the purchase of a particularly good live bootleg and inspires him to sing more. He lastly chose Dead Meadow, particularly the album Howls From The Hills, an album which he proceeded to recommend me. The last one well represents the dynamic of our friendship and the constant flow of music between the two of us.
This conversation led into our songwriting processes. He says when he sets out to write a song, he likes to start out with an emotion and a challenge. For instance he may want to write a sad song but then challenge himself to spin it by making a happy song with sad lyrics. He continues by saying an interesting challenge with music is if you can make something work that doesn’t quite belong. Then from there he likes to make up the melody and go back to make it very rhythmic.
To discuss something other than music for a change, we talked about how we’ve both been drawing lately, a hobby that we’ve both had for a while but Andy is starting to really develop. It’s a good stress reliever, and can still present interesting challenges. A hobby like this is important in both of our lives for various reasons, Andy’s current one is the stress conjured up after an eye-opening care crash. He came away from the crash relatively unharmed, but it presents him with some life obstacles and sparks a bit of a quick mental reevaluation. His observation was that there is only so much he can do with his life without spreading himself thin and that he shouldn’t focus on pride whenever he may be in a situation where he needs to ask for someone’s help. Two lessons that I personally think are imperative to learn in this stage in life.
Check out his blog here: http://andrewraragon.wordpress.com/