Five Questions: Anna Staniszewski

"Failure is giving up when you shouldn’t give up. You have to know when to give up. There are certain projects that I’ve worked on that I think, 'It’s OK if I don’t finish this, it’s OK if I put this aside. I’ve still learned something even if it’s not done and other people won’t read it.' But if I gave up on something just because it was hard or because I was frustrated with it or if I didn’t give it enough time or focus and then I give up on it, that’s failure. If you work really really hard and something doesn’t work out, you still learn something from it. If you give up or you feel like you failed, but it’s really just because you didn’t give it your all, then that’s failure."

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Five Questions: Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid, A Winged Victory for the Sullen)

"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.'"

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Five Questions: Sonny Dyon

"You need to have an appetite for life. You have to say yes to a lot of things and try a lot of things out. And my greatest fear is that I will shut down because I’m afraid of failure and not continue enjoying every day. That sounds scary to me. Struggling with bouts of depression. We have so many things that make us happy—the fear would be the situation where the things that make you happy don’t make you happy any more because you chose something else."

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Five Questions: Cassie Betts

"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."

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Five Questions: Chris Nowlin

"When I started meeting my baseball heroes, Charlie Hough and Tim Wakefield and Phil Niekro, you could tell that those guys had achieved something that they wanted to achieve and they’re completely at peace as far as the social side of their lives. When you meet them, there’s zero agitation. When you meet some people you can feel there’s an energy drain and they’re tying to prove something or they’re trying to put up an eminence front about something. And I’m, hopefully, going to be like those other guys. And be completely at peace at some point. So that everybody around me can feel that."

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Five Questions: John Stanley (Stanley's Wet Goods)

"Every relationship has its ups and downs and there have been times when one of us has felt, 'I’m not getting the respect that I deserve out of you. What’s going on here?' So being able to talk through that and have the person on the other end go, 'Oh, you know, you’re right. I’ve been a real jerk about it and here’s what I need to change or else I’m on shaky ground here.'"

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Five Questions: Gaby Soufo

"People ask the cliché, what’s the purpose of life? Why am I here? Do I have a set purpose? Maybe I do. But who’s to say my purpose is supposed to be some grand thing. Who’s to say my purpose is supposed to be the Bill Gates Foundation or giving billions of dollars to the world. Whereas there are so many things that happen in our day-to-day that we contribute to, so then I can go down the rabbit hole…what if one day you say thank you to someone—the butterfly effect. You do something that helps someone else and you don’t realize it. I would hope that me living a good life or being a good person…that has some kind of effect on people. So I’m not too worried about what my goal in life is."

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Five Questions: Esmeralda Vascellari (Lady Sometimes Records)

"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."

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Five Questions: Zoë Jackson

"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."

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Five Questions: Dke and Jon (Latebloom Entertainment)

"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."

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Five Questions: Tony Lugo

"That’s the thing, I still have that voice in my head and I’m fighting that voice every day. The thing is that I realized I could fight the voice. Realizing that it’s just your brain. As humans, we’re just meant to be nomadic and hunt and procreate. We created this great society where we have to keep chasing things. With that comes a lot of stress about success and maintaining and finding your place in the world that we live in. Hearing that voice and telling that voice, 'You’re full of shit.' And it’s always gonna be there."

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Five Questions: Paris Hurley

"I’ve just not really been making time for reading. And with such a strong relationship to feminism for a lot of years and not knowing a lot of history of that and definitely having a limited view of what that is, that’s one topic I've been into. Right now I’m reading feminist sci-fi by Octavia Butler which is totally not a genre that I had any interest in, but I realize that dystopian, feminist, sci-fi version is kind of my jam! That feels like the current, 'I want to spend some time with this and catch up on it because I feel like I haven’t given myself or shown up for.'"

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Five (or Six) Questions: Preston Smith

"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."

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Five Questions: Dustin O'Halloran

"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."

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Five Questions: Dan Kirschner (New Pics Through Old Frames)

"...when I started exercising, when I started going from a guy that never exercised a day in his life to exercising six days a week, the thing that I always said to myself—and this was the thing that I put on the pillow, the tee shirt, on the inside of the eyelids—working out takes an hour, procrastination takes all day. Somebody might have told it to me, I’m not taking credit for it. But put that in your pipe and smoke it."

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Five(ish) Questions: Jimmy LaValle (The Album Leaf)

"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."

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