"I still have the journal that I had when I was fifteen. I wrote an entry that was basically, 'I want to die. I can’t imagine being in a wheelchair all my life.' I’m so glad I have that. And my handwriting was even horrible, chicken scratch, that’s how depressed I was. Seeing that is crazy. People have asked me if I can relate to that girl. There’s part of me that’s in there, but then there’s a side of me that sees it as just the circumstance. Even though those were valid feelings, I can see now how life plays out in the sense that there’s a core you that can go through anything and those circumstances will overflow. It’s just like water. You can be on top of the water, under the water, you can be feeling like you’re drowning. Then at the end of the day it’s still you there figuring out that this is a shit storm. Then, wait, there’s land. And you can see the water from a different perspective."
"Being shaken into consciousness whatever that shake is. The AA slang is your bottom is when you stop digging. For some people it takes a stroke. For some people it’s a broken nail. For some it’s real arrests and real problems. Everyone’s shake-up happens. Not everyone, but a lot of people go through this. You hope it happens in soft and gentle ways, but unfortunately that’s not always the case, sometimes it’s too late and there’s real damage done. Going through it isn’t easy. Once you emerge, perspective becomes real. How you live in love, how you live in gratitude. For me it dramatically shifted.
"I feel like in every relationship that I’ve had that’s dissipated has gone away partly because of that. I’ve been divorced twice. For different reasons, but there are commonalities in all of them. That is something that’s fundamental in all relationships. Everybody wants to feel as if what it is that they’re thinking or what it is that they’re felling is at the very least acknowledged in a way where somebody appreciates what they’re thinking. They may not agree with it. But they can appreciate that you experience it. So yeah, of course.
Even anybody that’s had a job. Anybody that’s been in a huge metropolitan city. You walk around, you’re on the L, you’re surrounded by millions of people and you’re not connected to them in any way.
There’s a movie where this woman is working in a bookstore—it’s an Hal Hartley movie, I can’t remember the name—she’s just standing in the middle near these stairs and she keeps saying, 'Does anyone need any help? Does anyone need any help?' And of course no one even acknowledges her. It’s universal. Disconnection is built into this society. In good ways and bad ways."
"Some of the best nights of my life are just sitting with wine or no wine or coffee or tea and just talking and learning from everyone’s experiences on the spectrum of humanity. There are so many variables that allow people to take these meandering paths that are so different that by the time you cross paths with them—even if they’re younger—they have, obviously, a mentality that’s going to be different because they didn’t lead an exact imprint of your life. And if you approach conversation, and you approach connecting with people as—instead of reacting to what feels different, really try to understand and learn, I think you can’t go wrong. That is part of what brings me a lot of joy in my life, is really trying to understand what makes us human in different ways, in different places.
"I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. Love for me, in terms of a romantic love, is two people coming from two different worlds and coming together and making a new world that is fit for the both of them. It usually comes with a struggle, but obviously, the romanticism and the beauty that comes from the struggle and from the infatuation you have with each other is this thing. It feels like if you were alone in this world the whole time, all of a sudden it’s like this energy has been with you the whole time, and it makes you feel like any moment that you felt alone, you weren’t, and now you know you have this thing.
I’ve been really struggling in writing about love and trying to figure out how to represent it. And I think that’s what it is. You see it in movies and books and everything, and you see two people coming together and they take a part of each other and start to adapt in their own lives until they’ve created a bubble that works for the two of them."
"There’s something that terrifies most partners about having a partner who they know if they left me, I’ll be totally fine, and perhaps if I left them, they would not be totally fine. That’s an imbalance of power. I also really expect a lot from people. I expect the best from myself, but I also expect the best from other people. Which is unfair because I shouldn’t really hold people to my own personal standards, but I really can’t. I’ve tried to work on it. I was single for four years and in that time I did a lot of work on myself, but that’s one thing I just can’t get past. If I can’t have someone who’s up to my standards then I could just hang out by myself. I don’t need money, I don’t need someone to constantly be with me, I can find sex when I need that, I don’t want to have kids. So I don't really need anything from anybody else. When I have a mate I just need them to pay attention to me. But that’s pretty much it. Pay attention and be thoughtful. You never have to buy anything for me. That’s never necessary."
"If we all sit back and think about our creative heroes—musically, artistically, painters, sculptors—a lot of them aren’t that happy in their lives and they’re filled with angst and there’s tragedy, and I’m constantly thinking, 'Do I need more tragedy in my life to create the kind of brilliance that I want to leave that legacy?' And then you think, 'Does it matter to van Gogh, now that he’s dead, that he’s a hero to so many people when he was so miserable in his life?' So the big question I have is: Is it better to be creating things that people eventually think are brilliant, but you personally, during your life, are not that happy? Or is it better to be stoked every day and wake up—I know a lot of people who I would describe as smart, but simple…where they’re interesting, they’re good people, but they don’t think about the world as deeply as I do and because of that, I think they’re happier. I have a tremendous amount of envy for them."
"One thing I realize and I love about collaboration is that you could never do it by yourself. After all the years of doing Stars of the Lid, to be able to again find someone like Dustin—because it’s only been since 2011 when we put out our first record, so it’s in infancy still. But it’s been pretty fruitful and it’s resonated with people. It’s actually been great to find a way to collaborate with someone again at this level. I find it very rewarding. I also find it very easy—every artist says they don’t have an ego, I’m sure I do—but it’s nice to realize this later in life that sometimes you have a belief, 'Oh this song needs to sound like this' but to just trust someone else and to give some of yourself to someone else, it’s kind of romantic in a way. It feels good that sometimes I might not think it was the best idea, but someone feels strongly about it you can say, 'Hey man, let’s follow your lead on this one.'"
"I had a boyfriend that I was leaving and he kidnapped me. He beat me up and drove me to the north shore of Hawaii and put a gun to my head execution style and told me he was going to kill me. I thought I was going to die. When your life flashes before you—that was before my kids, so it was just life in general. I think now if that happened, my kids would flash first, and friends, family, and just life, just walking down the street. I enjoy just walking down the street and the wind blowing, watching a rose grow out of the ground. Everything is just so much more beautiful after you almost die."
"I’ve always had a feeling that I was motivated to do more or be some sort of messenger, not in a messianic sort of way, whether it’s through art of whatever. Deep down I’m an extreme sort of person. 'If you believe in this, would you die for it, would you go for it?' If you wouldn’t, then you probably don’t totally believe in it. I’m a big fan of history and everyone in history who has made a change has died for it or they’re in jail for it. Leonard Peltier. He sacrificed his life for it. My fear is when and will I have to make that decision between being just a regular modified artist or messenger in this world or do I go and die for it. That’s my fear."
"I’m probably most proud of some of the long friendships that I’ve been able to keep in my life. And that we help each other grow. That affects my music, so it’s hard to say—if it’s only music, there are so many things that are connected to that. I’m proud to have these 25-year friendships that have been in my life, that we continue to push each other, and help each other grow."
"I’m not into the over-protective, helicopter style of parenting. We’re nervous if our three-year-old is out in front of the house unattended because of the street. But we live on a cul-de-sac. We don’t live on a busy street. We’re at the top of the neighborhood in the back, maybe cars pass by like twice an hour or something like that. Yet, we don’t want him to be out there by himself. But at the same time, we’ve taught him not to go in the street."
"Being in love is just a chemical reaction, in my mind. And it feels really great til it wears off. Staying in love is the thing that I have a problem with. I just don’t stay in love with things forever. Except my dogs."
"I’ve been working really hard lately on conquering fear. Anxiety is a terrible thing. Depression is a terrible thing. And it’s something that I know very well. I think music has helped me overcome so many fears. I think that I wouldn’t be here still if I weren’t doing music."
"I try to be as healthy as I can in every phase. I try to eat good and exercise, I do a lot of exercise. I try to pursue spiritual goals and stuff like that. I’m constantly trying to erase blindspots. Try to look at myself in the mirror. Try to get a clearer picture of who I am."
"So that allowed me to be sort of free to just enjoy the experience and be grateful that I was there and my parents were there and we could just celebrate that together as a family. Which was awesome. And it was meaningful for me and it was meaningful for them especially considering that just twelve years before I had a fifty percent chance to live and cancer and everything."
"Witnessing a child being born—your child being born is, ah, yeah it changes you forever, there’s no doubt about that. We went through it twice, we have two girls, and they’re a big part of my life and I love them, and yeah, it’s a pretty easy answer to be honest."
"Whenever you got that little voice, you’re just like, 'Every day is a battle.' Even when you’re in silence by yourself, fears and insecurities may kick in. Sometimes you can look in the mirror and say, 'I don’t have this or I’m not here or I’m not there,' but reality is why can’t you be there? What’s the bridge that you need to build in order to connect those two areas of your life to fill that void?"