2012 Artist Survey Bonus Answers: Telekinesis
2012 Artist Survey Bonus Answers: Telekinesis - Michael Benjamin Lerner Reflects on the Last Year
Feb 15, 2013
Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Web Exclusive
For Under the Radar's 10th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2012.
Pick up the print version of the Best of 2012 issue to read responses from the following artists: Alt-J, Fred Armisen, Bear in Heaven, Camera Obscura, Chad Valley, Charli XCX, Choir of Young Believers, Clinic, CSS, Dan Deacon, Desaparecidos, Django Django, Efterklang, Egyptian Hip Hop, El Perro Del Mar, Grimes, Halls, Richard Hawley, Hercules and Love Affair, Ladytron, Liars, Lord Huron, Lower Dens, Mount Eerie, My Morning Jacket, The Mynabirds, The New Pornographers, of Montreal, Peaking Lights, Porcelain Raft, Laetitia Sadier, Tame Impala, Tegan and Sara, and Telekinesis.
Then download the digital version of the Best of 2012 issue to read all those surveys, as well as bonus responses from the following artists: !!!, Clare and the Reasons, Codeine, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Esben and the Witch, The Fresh & Onlys, Get People, Islands, Kwes, Lost in the Trees, NZCA/LINES, OFF!, Plants and Animals, Still Corners, Violens, Xiu Xiu, Young Dreams, and Zambri.
We are also posting additional web-exclusive bonus answers to the website. These are from artists whose surveys are in the print magazine, but are extra answers that didn't fit in the issue. Here are bonus answers from Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis and pick up the Best of 2012 issue to read the rest of his answers.
What was the low point of 2012 for you?
I can't even think of one. This year all the good most certainly outshines any of the bad.
To what extent did the poor world economy affect your ability to make a reasonable living as an artist in 2012?
I don't want to be whiny about it at all, but I think it's affected everybody, and musicians certainly fall into that category. It's just harder to sell records and tickets and merch. But it's forced me to become creative in trying to make this a living, and not just a hobby. And I guess in that way, it's been exciting and challenging.
What are your thoughts on the 2012 U.S. presidential election?
OBAMA! Absolutely, totally, and completely overjoyed that we made the right decision re-electing him, and not Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Steve Albini criticized Amanda Palmer for recruiting musicians to play in her backing band for free. Was he right to do this and was Palmer right to change her mind and pay her musicians?
Steve Albini has always had something controversial to say about someone or something, but maybe for the first time, I kind of totally agreed with him. Amanda Palmer raised a ridiculous amount of money from her fans to make her record. I don't think it's right to ask so much of your fans, and then ask even more of them by not paying them a fee (not just free beer or food or whatever) to play with you. I understand it totally and completely if you are working from a very grassroots level, but considering the amount of money she raised, it was tough to justify that position. Which I think is apparent, since she started to pay people after that point was raised by Mr. Albini.
Were you affected by Hurricane Sandy? Do you think that climate change was partly responsible for the hurricane?
Personally, I wasn't, but so many friends and colleagues live in NY or NJ, and it was incredibly difficult to watch and hear stories from them. Stories that unfortunately continue even as I type this email. Saying climate change doesn't have something to do with the hurricane is absolutely naive. It's absolutely affecting our weather. Scientists can prove this by facts and figures. It's not just an 'idea.' It's not arguable.
Tell us about the most memorable fan encounter you had this year.
Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, there have been so many! It's so wonderful to be able to be in touch with people that are listening to and liking what you do. I am blown away at how consistently people send me lovely messages saying they like a record, or it helped them through a tough time. That means the world to me, and is why I do this in the first place.
Would you survive a zombie apocalypse? Explain.
No way! What is there to explain?!
Did you watch this year's Olympics? What was your favorite event and which event would you be best at?
We were recording this new record for a majority, if not all of the Olympics. I think we turned it on in the studio one day. That was it. I think I would be terrible at any of the events, unfortunately.
If you're not already a parent, would you like to have kids one day?
What is your dad's favorite band? What is your mom's?
Dad: The Beatles. Mom: Elton John.
What do you most miss about childhood?
Not having any responsibilities! No worries about paying taxes, working. Just carefree days. I remember thinking going to school was just the worst and that it couldn't get any harder than that, surely. Ha!
What's the best advice you've ever been given about the music industry and who gave it to you?
I've been lucky enough to have so many great friends give me advice about this industry. But my friend Jason McGerr (who plays drums with Death Cab for Cutie and Tegan and Sara) has always been my mentor and guide through this crazy business. I remember him telling me to not go on this big tour when I had the opportunity (I was way too young, in hindsight) and go to university in Liverpool to study recording. Looking back on it, that was the best advice I could have been given, because I really wanted to go on that tour. But I absolutely wouldn't be doing what I do now had I not taken a year in the U.K. for university.