This week I interviewed Jack Taylor, a junior here at CSULB working towards his degree in Dance Science. I knew Jack was into dance prior to this interview because the class watched his Kickstarter project to choreograph a dance routine underwater, but the actual term Dance Science was new to me. I had assumed that all dance majors were working towards an all-encompassing dance degree that covered performance and choreography but there are actually a few different subsets of the field, Dance Science being a dance degree that more heavily involves studies of anatomy and kinesiology.
Jack has been dancing since he was 12. He started with tap and to this day it is still his favorite because he says tap makes him feel the most involved with whatever music he is dancing too. This makes sense to me because while other dance styles are very connected to the music in the background, styles like tap connect on another level because the dancer actually plays the tap shoes as instrument along with the instrumentation of the music. It also makes sense that Jack would be into a more involved style of dance because he has musical parents (his dad plays a few different instruments and his mom sings). Tap is so ingrained in Jack’s life that he taps everywhere he goes and only buys shoes with soles that tap, surprisingly Toms work.
I asked what kind of music he taps to, expecting him to say ragtime or the general classic tap music. Surprisingly he taps to everything, especially the artists he most likes such as Walk the Moon, m83, Jose Gonzales and Daft Punk to name a few. The conversation then continued to progress on the subject of different types of music until eventually I asked if it were possible to mic up tap shoes for the purpose of legitimately jamming with a tap dancer as an instrumentalist. He said its definitely possible and that he’s even had an instructor who rigged his tap shoes to trigger different electronic sounds on the heel and toe of each shoe. I enjoyed talking to Jack because I learned that dance isn’t just something that one does with music in the background, but actually it’s expression that can even be involved in the music itself.
This week I had the pleasure of meeting Rachel Peng, a freshman pre-nursing student here at CSULB. It is an interesting major choice for her because she likes the idea of working with kids, a detail that made sense later on in the conversation. After our basic introductions, we started talking about what we liked. I found that while Rachel and I lead very different lives, we stumbled upon lots of unexpected overlap, such as a shared appreciation for cold gloomy weather in places like Seattle.
Some of Rachel’s interests and hobbies right off the bat are blogging and photography, her favorite type being perspective photography. Furthermore she mentioned that she is also interested in Web design, which I found interesting because I am currently a coder in training. I asked how she came to this interest and she mentioned that her first experience with code was the customization aspect of Neopets, also very interesting because it was a bit of a blast from the past.
I asked her how she likes to spend her free time and then she mentioned that she likes to be involved in her church’s youth community in Cyprus. She helps with things such as confirmation retreats because she likes the idea of kids having opportunities to participate in their faith. This sparked a connection in my mind to the nursing major, and I realized even more that Rachel is a very nice person who likes to take care of the youth, physically and spiritually. She also mentioned that she likes to mix the sound live for the church band, which is also overlap grounds because I am looking into getting into mixing and audio engineering as career path myself.
This led to the eventual conversation about music, which seemingly is never avoided with my classmate interviews. She learned to mix through friends but on her own she plays a little bit of piano, flute, and clarinet although she says she hasn’t played in a while. Overall Rachel is a great person who seems to enjoy life, so I hope I get to talk to her a lot more this semester.
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Maeghan McBee, a sophomore here at CSULB currently in the criminal justice major. She is from Norcal, more specifically Brentwood, and she was influenced by watching CSI: Las Vegas with her grandmother. We talked about her interest in relation to careers and she says that she would like to be a detective because of the job’s tendency to be non-repetitive as each case is always going to be different. If being a detective doesn’t work out, she says she might like to look into a job in the field of rehabilitation. The field of criminal justice appeals to her at lot because she likes to know that justice is being done but also to know that people are being helped to live good lives even after the criminal justice system has been applied, a very noble view on the field in my opinion.
I then asked what her outside-school interests were and she mentioned painting, more specifically watercolor. She’s been painting on and off since she was little and mentioned really liking what you can do with texture and brushstroke. In her cherry blossom painting below, you can see an example of that with the streak background. I also liked another painting she did of an eye, which was interesting in watercolor because of color choice.
We talked about which art galleries from that week we liked and she was drawn to one with various layers of melted down glass into different shapes and textures. She said it reminded her of coral and tide pools, especially when the artist used shards of more colorful glass. We talked about the more shapeless pieces and transitioned into talking about abstract art and other mediums she enjoys, such as black & white photography. She says sometimes with a black and white photograph, she feels that she can see details that she may not pick up in a color picture because the color itself can be a distraction.
Lastly, we talked about her hobbies and how she spends her free time left after school and painting. She mentioned that she likes to go hiking, a hobby we share, and reading, a hobby that we definitely do not share. I do understand the appeal though, because she mentioned that both hobbies were a form of escape and that you can really immerse yourself in a book. Even though she hasn’t watched much of the show, she is currently reading Orange is the New Black.
This week I branched out a bit and interviewed Carina LaMarchina. When I asked about her pre-college background, she told me she is from Thousand Oaks, California and went to an independent private high school with an altered format for gearing its students up for the college experience, which I found interesting. She is currently a Freshman sociology major but she is looking to get into something more along the lines of graphic design.
I then asked her what drew her originally to sociology and what now draws her to graphic design. She mentioned that she liked sociology as a subject in high school because it is very broad and that she strayed away from other social sciences like psychology because of how impacted they are as a major. For graphic design, she said that she has an interest in company logos and animation, two very different skillsets that both stem from graphic design. She also mentioned that she likes working with and looking at things that are very colorful.
We then talked about her interests outside of school and she mentioned acting. She didn’t do it within the high school setting itself but during that time she did some acting outside of school and said she recently auditioned for Smosh, notable YouTube channel and web content creators. Considering we had just come out of the galleries, we talked about which gallery we were drawn to. She said she enjoyed Christopher Vavrek’s “server and protect the virus [too big to succeed]” because while it looked like a tech tornado, it still managed to be very colorful and interesting to look at.
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.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Morte, who I’ve known for a few years prior to this course. Over the years I’ve come to know her, she’s always seemed like the type of person that just wants to enjoy life. She knows what makes her happy and likes to experience a wide range of interests such as travel, photography and gourmet food. More recently, she just launched her own film production label and the first short film is underway. For this interview however, I sought to expand on the knowledge I already had of Michelle and see what shapes her to be the person she is.
I first asked about her aspirations and learned that she wants to really expand her film niche to one day run her own professional film production studio. In terms of the specific product, she enjoys the idea of mostly making short films and music videos which would help to her to keep working on project after project. She excels in that if she is really passionate about something, she can really focus and organize to make sure everything gets done how it’s supposed to and in a timely manner. Especially if she is interested in the project idea itself, as she is with this first film which she also wrote, I’ve seen her be willing to balance stress, time constraints, and apparently a few overactive egos within the field.
That being said she definitely enjoys to relax when she gets the right windows of time. She’s always been easy to get along with because neither of us is the judgement type, and we both enjoy taking a step back from life for a while to sit back and listen to records or watch movies. Furthermore, she says what she thinks and doesn’t beat around the bush. It could be said that there is less brain to mouth filter with Michelle, but if you think about it, that’s definitely for the better. Do you really want to be having a conversation with someone and think about how much they’ve processed what they’re going to say to you in hopes that you don’t get offended? Wouldn’t it make more sense for friends to just say things to each other and then friends say things back without mucking it up with so much thought process?
The conversation lastly shifted to our opinions of authority in context of school and police. While Michelle is a naturally positive person, her trust is to be earned, something the average authority has yet to do. Like many keeping up with current events and living in populous cities with mass intimidating police forces, she is wary of authority figures and their abuse of power. While we shared different perspectives on the topic, we both understand the other’s viewpoint and we’re better friends for the ability to agree to disagree, which also goes to show Michelle is a thinker.
She also had Greek food the day before the interview. She said it was good. I made sure to write that down.