2014 Artist Survey: Happyness

Jonny Allan on Plans for 2015, U2's Free Album, First Celebrity Crush, Mark Kozelek, and the Question He's Tired of Answering

Jan 21, 2015 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar's 12th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2014. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2014 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2014 print and digital issues for answers from alt-J, Camera Obscura, Chromeo, The Dears, Death From Above 1979, Deerhoof, The Drums, The Flaming Lips, Glass Animals, Hookworms, Sondre Lerche, of Montreal, Ought, Owen Pallett, The Rosebuds, Strand of Oaks, Teleman, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Woman's Hour, Wye Oak, Zola Jesus, and others.

Here are some answers from Jonny Allan of Happyness.

Top Album of 2014

Half Japanese Volume 1 for Record Store Day is a nice thing to hold.

What was the highlight of 2014 for either you personally or for the band?

August 4 or February 10.

What was the low point of 2014 for you? 

When Terry Richardson's people stopped replying to our emails.

What are your hopes and plans for 2015?

With shoes on, I want to be the same height as Donald Sutherland without shoes on, so I'd like to grow approximately an inch.

U2's new album was downloaded for free into millions of users' iTunes accounts without their permission. Was it a wonderful gift to music fans or an invasive action that devalues music? Also, which artist, other than you, deserves to have their album automatically downloaded to half a billion people more than U2?

People spend decades building music collections that are pretty essential to them as people. The idea that somebody can reach into that and put in/take away hugely ruins it for everybody. So fuck U2 for that. But don't fuck U2 for "With or Without You." Kiss them for that.

Did you take part in the ice bucket challenge? If not, why not? Grimes declined due to animal testing issues, was the grief she got for that deserved?

Benji [Compston] played the orange towel in the George W. Bush video.

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri opened up a new national dialogue on police shootings and racism in America. Do you think anything will actually change because of it?

Next question.

What's your craziest theory for what happened to the missing Malaysian Air flight?

Courtney Love's sock drawer.

Mark Kozelek was criticized in 2014 for insulting his audience (calling them "hillbillies" for talking during his set) and for making fun of The War on Drugs when their sound bled over to the stage he was playing. What responsibility do performers have to be respectful of their audiences and fellow bands?

Honestly, I can just imagine Mark Kozelek finishing recording "Adam Granofsky Blues" and then crying into a sandwich. 

"Weird Al" Yankovic was back in a big way this year. If he were to lampoon any one of your songs, which one would you want it to be? What would the "Weird Al" version's lyrics be about? 

We wanted to do an alternate version of "Pumpkin Noir" called "Pump Quinoa," about how pulses complement a sensible exercise regime.

Which common criticism of your music do you most agree with?

"Cunty British indie."

What's the most uplifting or heartwarming fan interaction you've ever had?

Someone baked themselves inside a cake and sent it to us by post. That was very touching.

What's the topic no one asks you about in interviews that you wish they would? Conversely, if you could get journalists to stop asking you one question, which would it be?

People never ask us about foot-and-mouth anymore. People who ask if we've ever seen The Pursuit of Happyness are people we find it hard to respond well to.

Who from your youth (such as a former bully, an unrequited love) do you most hope pays attention to the fact that you're now a successful musician?

"Famous" and "successful" are different things.

Which musician or celebrity did you most have a crush on as a child or teenager?

Nala from The Lion King.

Which subject do you wish you paid more attention to in school?

Music.

What was your first concert experience like (who did you see and who did you go with)?

I know Benji's was an ABBA tribute band at a retirement home.

After years of hard work, Future Islands finally broke through to a larger audience in 2014 thanks to a much praised Letterman performance. Which other long-running lesser-known band would you also like to see garner similar surprise success?

The Glands.

When you can't sleep, what worry is most likely to be keeping you up at night?

Are the chickens still alive?

Which unique location on Earth would you most like to perform in (for examples, the top of the Eiffel Tower or at the North Pole)?

Maybe the London Wetland Centre.

What out-of-date technology do you most miss?

The leather ileostomy bag.

www.facebook.com/Happynessmusic

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