— Joan Didion
I talked to a bunch of smart journalists about how they conduct interviews.
1. Know your subject.
2. Come in with a plan.
3. Write questions ahead of time, but prioritize conversation.
4. Just come out and ask the hard stuff.
5. Embrace the silences.
6. Think in soundbites.
7. Play dumb.
8. Keep the mic running after you finish.
I’m not about to go into a full-blown review of Daft Punk’s latest album because I don’t have the time to and I also don’t want to be stoned to death like Soraya M., but I will say this one little infant-sized bit about why this album lowkey blows a little bit.
What made (and still makes) Daft Punk such an incredible band is that they identified and isolated one of the central tenants of dance music (namely, the idea of repetition) and made it into the nucleus of their entire catalogue. Every song circled back on itself within the first twenty-seconds, with minimal lyrics and it’s simultaneously minimal and maximal instrumentals. In this way, their robotic aesthetic became a tangible extrapolation of the very sound they were pioneering, and gave the whole Daft Punk construct a fully-rounded and fully-formed identity. There was a visual and sonic cohesion between having dance songs that looped in on themselves again and again and again, and having the songs be lead literally by two robots.
Random Access Memories should be lauded for its immaculate production quality, its insane attention to detail, and for fully embodying a retro-concept album but never once getting boggled down in nostalgia over whatever is left to even get nostalgic about. But while having live instrumentals, and a calmer, more quiet approach to dance music at the height of EDM (?) is respectable, it’s not worthy of implementing that same attention to repetition. The two don’t jive in the same way. RAM becomes boring to listen to and disappointing post-hype because by building buzz over the return of Daft Punk, the event becomes Daft Punk, and Daft Punk’s DNA in an album like this is the problem. Okay that’s it, bb luv u.
— Patti Smith
— D. H. Lawrence
Can you ever really be sure of what you’re interested in? Of what parts of the zeitgeist or the cultural conversation actually trigger you? In that framework, does Tyler, The Creator really represent anything other than the extent to which self-promotion can lift lift lift you up like a house tied to a thousand balloons with a portly asian boy scout hidden, and make you into something bigger than yourself?
I wonder this out loud because Tyler is that sort of self-styled, self-created and self-inflicted cultural totem that tends to arrive every few years and make a ruckus, represent something on the level of cultural symbolics and then, like, maybe fade away so that we can’t see them unless we squint?"