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2014 Artist Survey: The Acid

Adam Freeland, Steve Nalepa, and RY X on the Missing Malaysian Air flight, the Ferguson Shooting, and Bullies

Jan 23, 2015 The Acid
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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 Adam Freeland, Steve Nalepa, and RY X of The Acid.

Top 10 Albums of 2014

Steve Nalepa:

1. Flying Lotus: You’re Dead!

2. Caribou: Our Love

3. Aphex Twin: Syro

4. Daedelus: The Light Brigade

5. Dream Koala: Earth. Home. Destroyed.

6. Fatima Al Qadiri: Asiatisch

7. Lone: Reality Testing

8. Deru: 1979

9. Taylor McFerrin: Early Riser

10. Wild Beasts: Present Tense

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

Steve: Playing Splendour in the Grass down in Byron Bay, Australia was up there. This whole year has been a highlight, truly thankful for the warm reception of our album and the opportunities provided to travel and share our music.

What was the low point of 2014 for you?

Steve: Pain in the world. Loss of some legends.

What are your hopes and plans for 2015?

Steve: Create new music, share it, visit places we haven’t been to yet.

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?

Steve: It was an invasive gift. Be nice to see everyone with Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2 installed on their phones.

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?

Adam Freeland: No. No one challenged me. Although it’s a great idea for a good cause, it’s in my nature to shy away from such things when they become so mainstream. Grimes had a point. At least she took time to look into what it was all about. I liked Matt Damon’s one. Very clever and a good point.

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?

Adam: I do. Things are already changing. It’s more than just racism that seems to be the issue here. We are seeing that post-Iraq all these regional police forces being armed to the teeth (with the aid of Halliburton, etc.) with all this military gear, tanks, and crazy weaponry and there’s under-trained police forces (dare I say, trigger-happy rednecks)​ just loving it. But people are getting really scared of the police in America. More importantly white ‘voting’ people are now getting really scared, not of the African-American community, but of the police. And rightly so, guns are being put in their faces for forgetting to put on a seatbelt. It’s ridiculous, it’s too much and I think there will be a backlash and these forces will have to tool down and train up.

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

Adam: There were some great alien abduction stories. I got quite into it for a while and the theory I heard that seems most plausible is this: didn’t you think the Chinese government seemed unusually perturbed ​about the loss of that flight? Like more than they normally would about such a disaster. They were freaking out. Well…there is a tech company from Texas called Freescale Semiconductor who have some really game-changing new semiconductor technology. What you should know about Freescale is that it’s so important that it was bought by the Carlyle Group, Blackstone (aka Rothschild) and TPG and Permira for $17.6 billion in 2006. One of the top 10 biggest tech buys in history. 20 of the key players from Freescale were all on MH370 (this stuff so far can be verified as fact, not theory). It is also mooted that four of five of the patent applicants (all Chinese) for patent US8650327 (http://www.google.com/patents/US8650327) were amongst them on the flight. So the theory is that “powers that be” mind-controlled the pilot (or something of the like) to do that clever thing he did-he clearly knew what he was doing, by going under OneRadar system at exactly the right point, up over the other and disappeared into one of the largest uncharted sections of earth Kamikaze style. Taking them all with him. All the other patent holders dead, the patent then was assigned to Freescale apparently just days later. So Freescale appears to have suffered much ‘loss’ but in the bigger picture it loses the patent applicants and it (Rothschild/Carlyle group, etc.) wins. Those firms are major players profiting from the global war machine so it could be argued the “moral dilemma” in taking down a flight full of innocent people is no biggie for them in comparison to what they sponsor every day already. Anyway these are all “theories,” but worth looking into.

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?

Adam: I think respect needs to run both ways. There is nothing more infuriating than a crowd who are talking really loudly when you are baring your soul in an intimate moment onstage. It happens to us all the time and it’s never nice. If you gotta chat, people, go to the bar! You ruin it for half the crowd and the band. If you want to come hear the music then do that. However, it’s hard to address this issue with the audience without coming across like uptight pricks. No one likes to be told what to do, especially if they have bought a ticket, and no band wants to come across like pricks. Clearly Mark could have handled it more tactfully.​ At least he got this conversation going, though. He’s got a good point!

“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?

Adam: “Creeper.” It would be about creepy perverts. Oh…hang on…

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

RY X: I think it’s valid to listen and credit all thoughts on music and art creation, as long as it is constructive and comes from a place of trust. If one of my friends and peers that I respect would have commentary for me on The Acid, I will always work to listen and uphold the space to receive the information and grow from it. There have been many things I have found constructive, from mix notes, video edits, live sets, etc. Mutual respect can move something from criticism into constructive information.

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

RY X: I have been receiving a lot lately. People sharing life stories and speaking of the change music has helped create or instigate in their lives. It is very humbling. Music and the arts have a lot of power for positive change, and I think it’s part of our job as creators/art makers to lead that movement. There is not much greater heartwarming than hearing music has inspired someone through dark to light, or from fear to love.

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?

RY X: For me, I don’t feel the role of in-depth journalism is being upheld in perhaps some of the ways it could be. There are so many generic interviews and questions given as a mass package to any artist. How do we get to know the fabric of people, or their makings if we only ask surface questions? I would wish for more research, more thought, more heart in the interviewing process. And for the latter: in The Acid we always get the question “how did you meet?” With any thought or research, interviewers could see that we have shared that answer first in every interview, it’s there for them to find.

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?

RY X: I personally don’t like to draw a divide between successful, in the realm of art, and otherwise. We feel blessed and humbled to be receiving recognition in the work we are making. If that’s touching people, or getting through to them, that’s all that matters. And I have a lot of compassion for a bully in school. Probably didn’t receive the love he/she needed in some ways. Hopefully they have found it now, and are passing it on.



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