2016 Artist Survey: Eric Pulido of Midlake and BNQT
Pulido on Trump, Scary Movies, Self-Driving Cars, Stranger Things, and First Kisses
Feb 27, 2017
Issue # 59 - 15th Anniversary
For Under the Radar's 14th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2016. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2016 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Eric Pulido of Midlake. Midlake's last album was 2013's Antiphon, which was their first to feature guitarist Pulido on lead vocals.
The members of Midlake (Eric Pulido, McKenzie Smith, Joey McClellan, and Jesse Chandler) also have a new supergroup named BNQT that features vocals by Pulido, but also notable singers from four other bands: Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell, Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos, Grandaddy's Jason Lytle, and Travis' Fran Healy. BNQT's debut album, Volume 1, is due out April 28 via Dualtone/Entertainment One/Bella Union.
For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about Trump and the election, 2016's deaths, self-driving cars, Stranger Things, first kisses, scary movies they shouldn't have seen as a child, which Friends character they are most like, and much more.
Pick up or download Under the Radar's Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue for Artist Survey interviews with Amber Arcades, Austra, Faris Badwan of Cat's Eyes and The Horrors, Boxed In, Caveman, The Charlatans, Cursive, Lucy Dacus, The Dears, C Duncan, Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, Dutch Uncles, Ezra Furman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Invisible, Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories, Lost Under Heaven (LUH), Lush, Midlake, Phantogram, The Range, Springtime Carnivore, Sunflower Bean, Surfer Blood, TEEN, The Thermals, Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes, Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak, and Yuck.
A shorter version of Pulido's survey appeared in the print version of Under the Radar's Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue, this is the full unedited version.
Top 10 Albums of 2016
1. Beyoncé: Lemonade
2. Travis: Everything at Once
3. Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool
4. Wilco: Schmilco
5. Drake: Views
6. Band of Horses: Why Are You OK
7. Leonard Cohen: You Want it Darker
8. David Bowie: Blackstar
9. Norah Jones: Day Breaks
10. Bob Dylan: Fallen Angels
2016 was regarded by many as a fairly tough and negative year. Was it also a hard year for you personally? If so, how? And also what were the high points for you?
I lost my dog this year. It was way worse than any other loss. But, as much as it pains me to say, I wouldn't take it back. His death taught me to stop and smell the roses, and stop and smell my own shit. It was a low and high point of 2016.
What are your thoughts on how the U.S. presidential election played out?
Poorly. But I honestly felt it was a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Kind of a sad state we're in.
Let's discuss Donald Trump. What does the rise of Trump tell you about America in 2016? What concerns you most about a Trump presidency? How do you think his presidency might personally change your life? What message do you have for those who voted for Trump? What actions will you take over the course of the next four years to either protest a Trump presidency or support it?
I was literally shocked that Trump won the election. It made me realize how ignorant I am to the make-up of our voting public. I can attribute it to a few things. 1. Folks hatred of Hillary Clinton. 2. Folks desire for something different and/or non-establishment. 3. Folks partisan/Republican support. My concern with Trump is the persona that is portrayed to the world. Is it one of care, concern, and composure? Or is it hate, disregard, and irreverence? Time will tell, but the baggage thus far is heavy and pointed. Sadly, I don't think it will affect me that much. For better or worse, we often live in a bubble and national politics don't move our dial that much. But it can move others (and the greater whole) considerably, which is another reason to pay attention and participate. I tend to be involved locally and at least aware nationally. Regarding a Trump presidency, I'm embarrassed. I look at our national politics like I do the AMAs (American Music Awards)-is this the BEST we got!?
What reality TV star would you have rather been elected president?
"Reality," now that's kind of comedic. This is a tough one. Partly because of my lack of knowledge on reality stars and partly because you're asking "what bad would I like to replace bad with." Is Snoop Dogg considered a reality star now?
If you were president, what would you try to accomplish in your first 100 days in office?
Impeachment. We can do so much better than me!
What are your thoughts on Brexit and the future of the European Union? To what extent do you think the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump were motivated by the same factors?
When I was young, I used to tell my dad, "My nose hurts when I touch it," and he'd reply, "Well don't touch your nose...or just cut it off." His remedy was partly in jest, but the reality was that ignoring my nose, or the extreme action, cutting off my nose, probably were not the best solutions. I can see how the motivation of "resistance" and "change" is attractive, but what we're changing to is what matters. I sometimes feel we desire the movement without a destination.
We lost three highly influential music icons in 2016. What are your thoughts on the passing of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen? And what are your favorite albums by each artist?
It's always sad to see an icon pass. It reminds us of our own mortality and the fragility of life. These individuals are rare, because the greatest thing they gave us will never die. David Bowie: Hunky Dory. Prince: Purple Rain. Leonard Cohen: Songs of Leonard Cohen.
What do you think Prince and Bowie's afterlife project sounds like?
Depending on the era it may vary, but rest assured...it includes glitter.
Which Friends character are you most like?
Phoebe. Funny, musical, tall.
What scary movie did you see way too young as a child, how'd you end up seeing it, and does it still scare you now?
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Still scares me (two words: Oompa Loompas).
Are you ready for self-driving cars and a more automated future?
Yes. I grew up on The Jetsons and Back to the Future. We need to catch up!
Tell us about the most memorable fan encounter you had this year.
Kris Kristofferson. A gentleman, a legend, a story for the grandkids.
Tell us about your first kiss.
Cheek: Cindy Diaz, reading circle second grade. Lips: Kim Holloway, ninth grade hallway while my hands were full. Both memorable, obviously.
Under the Radar has been around for 15 years now, since December 2001. How do you feel the music industry has most changed in that time, both for the better and the worst?
Better: Technology. Worst: Technology.
Which Stranger Things character do you most relate with? Why?
Barb. Unappreciated style!
What advice do you have to the leaders of the Democratic Party in terms of how to rebound from this election?
Listen to the people. Bernie would have won!
If you have kids or plan to have kids one day, will you encourage them to be a musician or artist or would you prefer they get a more stable job?
I do. I encourage them to play music for fun, not as a profession!
What's usually the biggest stumbling block to your happiness?
What celebrity, musician, or historical figure, living or dead, would you most want to be stuck in an elevator with?
Jesus. Hands down!
As an artist, what do you have to do beyond making your art to make a successful living?
Have a successful wife!
What's your strongest memory from elementary school?
See #14 [first kiss question].
If you could be a musician at any point in history, when would you choose? Why?
Now. You had to be so much better any time in history, so I wouldn't cut it!
What genre of music do you just not get?
Most modern country.
Can you make a case for why there's a bright future for independent musicians and the music industry? If so, what is it?
Bright? Well, from previous discussions, we know that there's always a desire for an alternative. I say just keep doing what you're doing and hold tight to those that appreciate it for what it is. Regardless of the outcome, you'll know that your aim is true.
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