Way back in 2009, Jason managed to get a very busy Wes Eisold to Q&A a little bit. Here it is, re-published.
Wes Eisold is a musician, author, and entrepreneur. Wes formerly fronted the American hardcore band American Nightmare (later legally known as Give Up the Ghost, and then back again). Mr. Eisold went on to head up the project Cold Cave, which was what was going on when we conducted this interview…
1) Hey Wes, I know you’re really busy so thanks for buying out some time for this. How are thing going in general and how is Philly still treating you?
Things are going well, thank you. Philly is just fine. I still don’t have too much of a relationship with the city, especially after crossing the mote to the West. I’ve become the homebody I always dreamt I could be.
2) What’s the latest with Juan & Juanitas? For those like me who don’t live in Philly and haven’t made it up there yet what is the running of it like? I.E – Are you there working the register some days? Ordering and stocking? Tax returns? It seems like quite an undertaking…
J&J’s is gone. The purpose of the store was to exist for a year and a year only. We had curated a single night when it was the Megawords space and we all decided to take on the lease for the rest of the year. We had a little less going on then. We feel really positive about it and are happy that we got to throw a few events, like having Joe Carducci read, Eric Paul, Chris Leo too. The Radio Silence book show that Ian Svenonius played was really fun. Kid Congo, Howie Pyro, Cage, Beaut, Silk Flowers, Dan from Home Blitz, Andy Giles and more played the store.
3) As far as The Heartworm goes, every time I look up there are multiple new releases on the horizon! I assume it has grown further than you thought it would when the initial goal was just to release cassette tapes?
Absolutely. I feel very fortunate to work with people who have inspired me and have changed the way I’ve thought about life throughout my life.
4) Do you feel that your notoriety in various scenes have allowed you to publish works through Heartworm that readers/listeners may not have tried if you’re name was not attached to it? And because of that perhaps they now are big fans of some of the authors/artists you’ve released. Any pride in that?
Well, there is no way for me to know if I’ve had anything to do with people getting turned on to something besides making it available. If so I am thrilled to pass along the works of someone that means something to me, and if it can be my way of giving back for the hours and hours of inspiration I’ve had from an individual’s work than I am ecstatic.
5) Let’s rap about Cold Cave for a second. Didn’t you just play some shows in May across the pond? How did they go?
We were in the UK for a week or so. I always enjoy myself there, particularly Brighton and Glasgow.
6) I’m really looking forward to the debut Cold Cave full length that is shipping in a few weeks. I know dudes ask if an artist’s latest work is what they are most proud of, but does that hold true with this latest release from you and the rest of the band?
Thank you. I am proud of it and for me, I haven’t been writing anything else so much because making music and writing lyrics has taken over. So it was really important that Heartworm released this. Its more than a collection of songs to me but my opinion on it isn’t important anymore, its for the listener now. The record, as they’ve always been, is a recording of sound but also time, where we’ve been, who we’ve become, what we have and haven’t learned, what has changed and has not changed, and also to compliment other influences that have been so life-saving time and time again that I never had the opportunity to thank before. I realized when it was done that its the first record I’ve made that isn’t overtly explicit aesthetically or lyrically, and I feel that is a good place to be now.
7) With Cold Cave there seems to be a distinct aesthetic. The look of the band on stage, the outfits, etc. If that something that you specifically wanted to implement as Cold Cave played and grew more and more, or did it just occur naturally?
I’m not really sure what people mean when they refer to this, we don’t have outfits or planned presence and perhaps shackling nerves come off as indifference, but its no different than us in the everyday. I think its natural for physical appearance to represent your spirituality and whatever is going on in your head, growth, change. This way you can walk around and not have ghosts from your past recognize you.
8) I guess this question kind of encompasses your entire body of work over the years but, very few artists on any level experience the type of devotion many fans of yours have. Meaning – paying hundreds for old shirts, the selling of Deathbeds crashing the Deathwish servers when it was released a few years ago, and people knowing all your lyrics by heart. Just curious what affect that has you? Is it surreal sometimes? Humbling? Bizarre?
I am humbled to tears that anyone would care about anything that I do that it almost hurts to think about it. I have so much strangled love to give and don’t know how to show it except through music. We need songs to commemorate the dreams that have come and gone or never were because its rare that hope and intention can be recorded otherwise.
9) This may be random, but do you find that as a pure writer…did you ever find that your writing was affected based on location. Meaning – while in California did the constant sunshine and warm weather temper your writing (or did the decaying beach towns help?), and contrast that with the northeast where you have spent the majority of you time for the past decade…does the cold and snow hold heavy over a writer’s head?
I find the brain to have at least two locations at anytime, the physical and metaphysical, and that they influence each other immensely but not consistently. In California I was depressed because I was at a transitional lost and I was depressed by the way of life at the time. Then in the years before in Boston and Portland, Maine I felt there was no getting out.. but I guess what I’m saying is we are always influenced by our surroundings if we’re able to pay attention them, and that isn’t always the case. Its the weather in your head that can freeze or warm you.
10) Wes, thanks for your time. And I speak for a lot of close friends when I thank you for all the years of memories, music and memoirs – they have meant a ton to us! Be well.
Thank you for all of the kind words.