“I’m a lot like my dad. I’m not very vulnerable. That’s mostly because I tend to be 1) A black man in America, and 2) I work in a field where I’m a black man in America and I have to be able to prove twice as hard that I’m right compared to whoever else might be in the room. Sex, race, gender, whatever, be damned. I’m learning now, that as much as I have a gift for empathy, I am a vault sometimes. So I'm trying harder to make space for myself and the people around me. Also new people. Because I want to be inspired. I think friction makes the work better. I like bumping up against other good minds, other good intellects, other good creativity, other expressions, other forms, other function. To do that though, you have to continue to be somehow open.”Read More
"Art happens no matter what. If you are going to stifle music education, if you're going to try to keep black people from having music education, you're just going to fuck yourself later on. And Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar are going to fucking make you look like an asshole. And sound like an asshole when you question what they're doing on stage. I love that, I'm so entertained by that. But the white male, right now—with the #MeToo Movement, with Black Lives Matter, with our rampant inequality,—needs to have its own awakening. What happens when I think of Robin Williams, when I think of Chris Cornell, when I think of Scott Weiland, being white men, there are a couple steps I need to do to be a hero and it's not that hard. That takes nothing away from their beauty, but there are a lot of white men in despair because we've been sold this automatic thing that's becoming less automatic. The worst of us are having a horrible back lash to that. We have to admit that mens' lies have been fodder for rich men for millennia. We're told that we're the ones who... 'Oh there's some bad guys in a building at Nakatomi Plaza. You just need one guy with a gun and no shoes and the whole problem will be solved.' Great movie, but I grew up thinking, 'If I'm struggling, if my feet are bleeding, and if I persevere, I can do it all alone and I don't need any help. My vulnerability is only my own.' That whole thing is just a lie to get men to give up their lives or to give up their empathy or to hold on to the idea that they deserve everything eventually. We need to have a course correction on that."Read More
"I've been in situations where I tried hard to make a relationship work, but it made me more unattractive. So that sometimes doesn't work. I feel like I've had a plethora of different kinds of relationships. Whether it just be a really really fun casual one or one where it was—the last person I dated, I was like, 'I'm probably going to marry this person.' And it didn't work out. She wanted a commitment sooner than later and I was down, but it was a long distance relationship. She wanted me to move to New York and I said that I totally will once my lease is up, but I think she was feeling some kind of pressure. She's a great lady. She was the greatest person I ever dated. I still regret it to this day."Read More
"There were some things I missed out on in some ways. My friends left for university and I was ready to do that, but I went into making a debut album. I knew with my heart it was what I wanted to do. It felt like a calling or a deeper purpose. But that idea of journeying with friends and going to university and having this tight group going through all these experiences together, it wasn't really something I had. I made new friends but a lot of them were a lot older than me and we got into music together, but I didn't have that same sisterhood feeling of, 'Yep, we went through college together.' But in saying that, you come to different maturities at different times of your life. I have that now in a really profound way. A really strong sense of female friends and male friends that I've made and shared so much with."Read More
"But something that’s been a struggle is that I’ve suffered with depression my whole life. I don’t know if I’d want to change it though, because it makes me who I am. It gives me that crazy edge which I think I need musically. And I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t met one musician that’s not absolutely fucking nuts in some way. We all have issues.
Me: What do you do to combat those issues when they come up?
Allen: Therapy. Music. Being around people. Sometimes not being around people. Pets. There’s a lot of stuff to do. I stay away from recreational drugs. I don’t really tap into that because that can make it worse.
I think depression would be the thing that I’d be better off without, but like I said, I don’t think I’d be better. It’s part of who I am."Read More
"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."Read More
"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."Read More
Annie: "It’s funny because I’ve always viewed myself as a contemporary of women like that. I see myself as inspired by Lena Dunham, but I am just like her. We are colleagues. Which is not realistic because she has Emmy awards and lots of money and she can make anything she wants, but I still see her as my contemporary. I want to sit and discuss themes with her."
Betsy: "Our dogs go to the same doggie day care so I also feel like her contemporary."Read More
"You can’t change the world, but you can make aspects of it move in the direction you want to. Through PR you have access to—let’s say if I was a writer for a publication, I’d only be able to write for that publication and my editor would be my boss, but working in PR, I have access to every publication that exists, and can get stories of things that I want in the world out there to shift the whole story. Then I have access to hundreds of millions of people as opposed to the maybe hundreds of thousands that one outlet would have. That’s why you have to be super careful of what you’re putting out there because you don’t want to make something that hurts people."Read More
"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.'"Read More
"I am still asking myself the reason why there is so much beauty, the reason why we are never indulged, the reason why we are still looking for it, but we are not valuing it. So this is a challenge, a very strong contrast between the acknowledgement of the fact that there is so much beauty, which is difficult to see sometimes, and the fact that it is not valued in the right way."Read More
"I haven’t been playing music a lot lately and that—I didn't realize it at first, but that’s really affected my mental stability and well-being. I’ve been kept busy, but I have on and off depression, so when I’m in a funk, I realize how much I miss music more. It’s so healing and very meditative for me. I can’t go back and change it, but I’d like to go back and try to get back to where I was musically. I just need to get into the right mental place to start it up again."Read More
"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."Read More
"I lost my dad when I was seventeen, so it made me realize how much—how important family is. How much of an impact it can have on you. And how important it is to tell your loved ones that you love them and to spend time with them."Read More
"I was just out drinking all the time and playing the tortured artist. That’s something that, over time, a decade plus, I started to come to terms with. Like, 'I’m not going to get anywhere with my art or my life without turning this corner.' I think there’s this tendency as an artist to go for the Basquiats or the Jim Morrisons or the Kurt Cobains…that’s a really sexy idea, the artist who burned out quickly or released all this great content but then died young. I just realized that I don’t wanna die young."Read More
"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."Read More
"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."Read More
"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."Read More