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an interview with Jon Barthmus of Sun Airway

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a brief introduction
: Sun Airway, a music duo comprised of songwriter Jon Barthmus and fellow sound artist Patrick Marsceill, burst onto the scene with their vibrant debut album Nocturne of Exploded Chrystal Chandelier (2010). Reminiscent of such bands as Coldplay, Animal Collective, and the Strokes, Sun Airway brings a kaleidoscope of infectious melodies and sweeping lyrics to their electronic-infused, pulsating indie pop.

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THE ATOMY: Jon, It’s great to have you chatting with us. To begin, Sun Airway’s music, both lyrically and musically, is an interesting collision of epic and intimate. Your lyrics explore the natural: vast oceans, space, the universe, but everything is tethered in very personal human emotions and moments. Can you talk more about this?

JON BARTHMUS: To me, that’s something that is really beautiful about writing lyrics and music. You can make it both universal and personal. Music by nature is sort of a universal language and more and more I’ve been trying to reach for something further and further away lyrically. To me, it’s more about painting a broad picture than a literal, storytelling sort of thing. I like to use instances and experiences from my life but connect them to something bigger. For each of the sun airway records, there was a very specific feeling I wanted to get across and I use the space of the album to create this little world. For Nocturne, it was all about the night and space, but for soft fall, the world is more of a surrealist Versailles. Grand and bizarre, fantastical and mysterious. Hopefully that makes more sense once the album is released.

A: When thinking about music hubs, Philadelphia typically doesn’t jump to mind at first thought. But from living there for a few years I’ve seen personally that it’s very vibrant musically. What has been your experience making music there?

JB:Philadelphia is the perfect place to be a musician. Most importantly it’s a cheap place to live and work so there’s less pressure to focus on making money. That in itself has created enough of a scene that there’s always plenty of artists and musicians around and it’s close enough to NYC to play there and come home that night.

A: I know this is probably a cliché question when it comes to interviews, but it’s kind of essential I think, when talking about the arts… who has influenced you as a musician?

JB: My major influences have been people that have either crafted timeless melodies or been innovators in sound and production. There’s always new little things, but I always come back to the Beatles, Phil Spector, My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized…I like massive layers of sound. Brian Eno is always huge for me too because he’s done so much and still works constantly either in production or on his own music. 

So I guess for a cliché question, that’s a pretty cliché answer. Aside from music, I always pick a few specific things to draw from for each project. For Nocturne it was Haruki Murakami and Dylan Thomas. For Soft Fall, the big thing for me was French surrealism, specifically Andre Breton. Every time I flipped through his poems or stories I found something compelling in some way or another.

A: Moving from inspiration to creation… explain your creative process.

JB: For me, it’s always different. I’m always writing down short phrases or words that I like and I’ll just go through these lists and wait for something to reveal itself to me. For Wild Palms, I was re-watching Godard’s Breathless and the Faulkner book of that name is mentioned. I wrote it down along with a full page of nonsense and came back to it and the rest of the song came into place. Once I have a few lines of lyrics I try to start singing it and playing it on whatever instrument might be lying around and the rest usually just happens. Other times I’ll start with some kind of beat or melody experiment and then try to find some lyrics that fit with that.

A: Your new album, Soft Fall, is releasing soon?

JB: October 2nd on Dead Oceans.

A: Wonderful. I found Nocture of Exploaded Crystal Chandelier by accident, and absolutely loved it. I cant wait for Soft Fall. Can you explain a little about the title and what it means? 

JB: Soft Fall is mostly about the universe I’m trying to create lyrically and musically throughout the album. It’s a place where weightlessness is a common reality. I like to imagine some kind of giant palace where things are just floating around and it’s not strange at all. 

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an interview with Hengki Koentjoro

a brief introduction: Hengki Koentjoro is a fine art photographer based in Jakarta who specializes in black and white photography, both underwater and on land. Each of his photographs has a striking and almost surreal quality. In his “aquanaut” series divers shot from below almost look like explorers of other planets.

THE ATOMY: What draws you to capture the sea?

HENGKI KOENTJORO: The ocean posses a calming effect. This is essential for city dweller that need to gain sanity. I also life in Indonesia, a country of archipelago dubbed as the biggest on earth. We have around 14.000 islands and rich marine biodiversity to match. Many avid diver consider the Eastern part of Indonesia as the last frontier for diving.

A: We love the timeless quality of your black and white images, but do you ever shoot in color?

HENGKI: Yes, I always shoot in color as original and then convert to BW during post production. This is where the art of digital darkroom start, this is where we try to create atmosphere in order to achieve a certain mood that stir the emotion.

A: Your underwater shots are surreal; how long do you have to be submerged to capture those moments?

HENGKI: We got to follow the rule of save diving first, there are some strict guideline that must be obeyed before we got lost in creating photograph. Never dive alone always with at least a buddy at all time. Safety is our priority. Having said that, moment under the water is unpredictable so you have to keep your concentration at all time and be ready to capture the moment when it comes.

A: What do you feel when you’re shooting?

HENGKI: I cant let my feeling take control completely, I rely also on the surrounding environment specially lighting and composition. With this pristine condition usually the mood comes and more good moments can be detected easily. Sometimes you acted on a scene other you reacted. I keep my option open and never search for specific things, if the moment is there then I’ll cherish it and I won’t complain otherwise.

A: Have you ever seen a mermaid?

HENGKI: I have never seen one but I saw the next close to it, a Dugong/ manatees.

Check out Hengki’s Flickr for more photographs.

interview by: The Atomy.

an interview with Kevin Wilson
author of the New York Times Bestseller the Family Fang.

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a brief introduction: Author Kevin Wilson’s work has been described as quirky, imaginative, bizzare, powerful, moving, genius… With unique characters reminiscent of those found in Wes Anderson films and the works of Salinger and Saunders, he creates stories laced with both humor and depth. His debut novel, the Family Fang, has garnered rave reviews since its release in 2011, including a spot on Time Magazine’s Top 10 Books of 2011 and the New York Times Bestseller’s list. Kevin has also penned a book of short stories titled, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth. 

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THE ATOMY: I understand you just returned from a book tour, care to share about the experience? Is the life of a writer as glamourous and romantic as Hollywood leads us to believe?

KEVIN WILSON: I went to Spain with my sister. I got food poisoning on the flight to Madrid. When we arrived at the hotel, they told us that they only had a room with a single bed. And the air-conditioning was broken in that room. So I threw up for hours and then slept in a sweltering room while sharing a small bed with my sister. The next day I went to the Prado and almost passed out. My sister bought some Spanish Powerade for me. I barely remember anything else. It was not pleasant.

A: One thing that stood out to me in your writing are the memorable characters; the quirkiness, the depth, the complexity. I was wondering where you drew these from? Family, friends, your imagination… maybe yourself?

KW: I try as hard as I can to create characters out of nothing, but I always find aspects of myself in them. Essentially, I try to imagine people I would like to be, or people with whom I would like to have sex, or people so awful that I feel better about myself. Once I have that character established, I just start creating strange situations and seeing how they might react.

A: Do you have a favorite literary character?

KW: Merricat Blackwood from Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. She is strange and feral and full of magic and violence. I love her so much.

A: Who were some authors, or novels that have influenced you as a writer?

KW: I think Aimee Bender and George Saunders were the first writers who showed me how to tap into something strange and yet still have it matter, to have a genuine heart underneath that weirdness. Ann Patchett’s work perfectly presented the idea of “family” in a way that was really thrilling to me, how these disparate people came together to become something stronger than they were on their own. And then Carson McCullers and Shirley Jackson have always been two very important and meaningful writers for me, McCullers for her sensitivity and her portrayal of lonely and broken people and Jackson for her ability to tap into the darkness inherent in all people.

A: Whether they’re digging tunnels under a town, a Grandma-for-Hire, or children forced into live performances, many of your characters are “artists” in some aspect. What have you discovered about art, and the creative process, through these characters? What ideas are you exploring about creativity?

KW: I have a very liberal definition of what constitutes “art”. I really love your categorization of those characters as artists, and I think of them that way as well. Those characters have helped reinforce my understanding that art exists in many forms and not all of them may be entirely worthwhile, but they still exists.

Early in my life, growing up in a small, rural town with not much emphasis placed on art, my parents really cultivated the idea that I could make something beautiful and weird. I knew I didn’t have access to much, so I began to think of my own life as an artistic enterprise. I began to think that, as long as I thought my actions as somehow connected to art, that I was producing something. It was thrilling, in that way, to believe that making out with the pages of a comic book in my closet or hiding food in my room was some ways an artistic expression.

A: Your characters explore or struggle with, to some extent, their purpose and place in the world, what draws you to this coming of age theme?

KW: I love writing about that time in our lives when we’re experiencing important things for the first time. The first time you fall in love creates a strangeness that doesn’t exist the fifth or sixth time. It’s more raw and weird and that makes for interesting stories. That shifting that happens to all people, of knowing nothing to knowing something, is perfect for writers

A: I’ve seen multiple reviews suggest your writing reflects the spirit and quirkiness of Wes Anderson. Do you see that in your work? Are you a fan of his, or is it just examples of shared influence and brilliant minds thinking alike?

KW: I like Wes Anderson’s films very much. I think he gets unfairly critiqued for a practiced quirkiness and not enough credit for what I believe is a genuine, heartfelt desire for connection in his movies. I see small similarities in my work when comparing it to his films. But I see similarities, on a small scale, with the Glass family in Salinger’s work. I’m writing about damaged, artistic kids and their brilliant but distant parents. That’s Wes Anderson’s world.

A: Which is your favorite film of his?

KW: My favorite is probably Rushmore, the way Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman play off each other is a genuine and beautiful, albeit strange, friendship. And I love the soundtrack.

A: A brief diversion from writing… our theme for the month is OCEAN, so here are some random/fun questions, rapid fire, in that vein. 

What do you think happened to Atlantis?

KW: Misuse of magic.

A: You are vacationing at the beach… Worst case scenario. Go.

KW: Sand touching my body. I do not like the beach.

A: What’s one piece of art (dealing with the sea) that you love?

KW: Without a doubt, it would be A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes. Quick summary: Kids kidnapped by pirates. 

A: Your quick summary has me hooked.

KW: It is an amazing work, nearly a perfect book.

A: OK, last one, if you were any sea creature what would you be (and why)?

KW: Blue ringed octopus: size of a golf ball, enough venom to kill a man. I don’t want to be some huge, lumbering eating machine. I don’t want to be sleek. I just want to be small and have the ability to protect myself.

A: I thought you might say the Kraken, but I like the Blue ringed octopus pick better.

Back to writing. What’s your creative process like? Do you have a certain time or place you write best at?

KW: I don’t write every day or even every month. I don’t have many rituals when it comes to writing. I spend most of my time trying to assemble the story in my head before I ever sit down to write. I try to get at least the first few pages in my mind, the way I want it, before I finally start typing it out. Once I do sit down, I’m pretty good at writing a lot, very fast. I just sit on the floor in my pj’s and eat lots of candy and drink lots of soda and I try to write as much as I possibly can. Then I go back to my day to day life, watching TV, playing Star Wars with my son, hiking with my wife, until another story starts to assemble itself in my brain. I sometimes feel like a failure because I don’t write every day for three hours or that I don’t treat writing like a full-time job, but I try to remind myself that writing isn’t just the time spent at the computer. I really like staying away from the computer when a story is coming together. I don’t like to start writing until it’s absolutely necessary.

A: For the other writers out there… do you have any tips or possibly a secret antidote for the deadly curse that is writer’s block?

KW: I simply take a break. I read the books I want to read and see if that helps suggest a new story or idea. I watch lots of TV. I eat lots of food. I try not to worry about it. I’ve written enough stories now that I have a decent idea that I can write another one. 

And if I absolutely need to push through and find it difficult to write, then I just start writing gibberish. I type random sentences until one starts to make sense and then I go back and edit that sentence and then I go back and rewrite it again, and then I try to figure out why that sentence sounds good and then I try to figure out if another sentence might be necessary and then I go back to writing gibberish until something else comes to me. It’s slow and ugly, but no one but me has to see it and no one but me has to know that this is the way that the story actually began.

A: What’s next for you? Are you working on your second novel?

KW: I’m just at the point that I’m about to sit down and start writing another book, I hope. I’ve had an idea for a long time now, and I’ve been working on the first few chapters in my head and I think I need to start typing and see where it goes. It’s a novel about family, again, a weird family, but hopefully it’s different enough that it feels like something new once I get going.

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Check out Kevin’s website to find more information about his work.

interview by: The Atomy

A Filmmaker on the Road

an interview with VINCENT MOON

a brief introduction:

Parisian-born Vincent Moon is an award-winning independent filmmaker, creating field-work music videos, experimental films, and documentaries. He has produced over 400 films, including his Take Away Shows featuring musical artists such as: Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, Sigur Ros, The National, and many more. Vincent has currently been on the road, traveling across the globe capturing the music of different musicians and cultures on film.

THE ATOMY: To begin, what first brought you into the world of film? Was there a specific moment, event, or catalyst that made you stop and say, “I want to make films” or did it just… happen?

VINCENT MOON: I believe in accidents, and I ended up making films at some point in my life without really noticing, I guess. I dont come at all from such a (film) background, so it’s surprising. I was getting really fond of photography and spent the first years of my 20’s researching that, trying to develop my own style, and so on. I was kinda lost until one night I saw some films by Peter Tscherkassky, the Austrian experimental filmmaker. I was blown away to such an extent, that his films sort of like were telling me “here’s an answer to your still images” - and truly, his films were very much like my photos, only moving. That night I came back home and bought all of his films, and decided to ‘try something’ with a video camera… I don’t know what happened from then until now.

ATOMY: What was your first film? How has your vision, style, and approach changed since you first picked up a camera?

MOON: I was deeply into questioning mediums, as my own education through art was very chaotic, very wild, and free; I didn’t learn in a school, thank God. I was always excited about various forms, especially the new forms I could feel emerging — the in between genres, always escaping definition, always escaping any idea of ‘art business’ and such. So, I guess I started to try various little ideas, From a very early point i would share my work on internet to everybody - that could have been really embarrassing, but it was an incredible occasion for me to get feedback from people. From that point, my style evolved constantly I guess, slowly, step by step, just by making and making. To this day, I guess I have made more than 400 films, so you learn a lot in that process!

ATOMY: Your films deal heavily with music. Your series of shorts: Take Away Shows and Petites Planetes, as well as your award-winning documentary La Faute Des Fleurs all seem to be explorations, to some extent, of this relationship between sound and image.

What intrigues you about this relationship? Why were you drawn to it?

MOON: As I said before, I am excited that we live in this moment of time where we stand in between so many informations, so many influences on our everyday life due to the use of internet and the new technologies, that we can see new forms being made, escaping any official rules, discussing the various mediums on another plan, building this holistic knowledge through creation. I was excited from the beginning to explore relations between images and sounds as I felt this in between, very rich, was left too often unexplored. I really think live music is also the best narrative element you can have - you dont have to write anything in advance, the music goes on and you just move around, and there you have the best story possible.

ATOMY: Are you yourself musical? Or do you just stay behind the camera?

MOON: Behind the camera. I don’t play an instrument… but I’m a great dancer. (laughs)

ATOMY: I’m intrigued by the clash of sound and space in your films. A great example of this is in the Petites Planetes volume on Ismail Altunsaray. The contrast, or clash, of the passive city noise and the violent passion of Ismail’s music is so beautiful.

What is your artistic process when thinking about this idea of space, sound, and subject? Do you weave them into your films to create an underlying “narrative” or are they more about a mood/feeling?

MOON: You are the one I should ask, as you are the viewer. We tend to give too many responsibilities to the makers sometimes, but I really think my work is so improvised that I don’t really know what I am doing. It’s just there, it is what it is, and you as a viewer interpret something out of it. You will never be wrong in your opinion about my films, as I don’t try to tell you something specific - if I would do that, it would be propaganda filmmaking and it’s the last thing I want to do. What I am excited about is opening a space, made of images sounds and movements, and let someone get inside and move as he wants. I don’t want to control anything there, I want to respect the other as much as possible and that’s the way I found that (I can) build a dialogue. 

I don’t consider myself at all a ‘director’ as I don’t direct things— I really can’t direct actually! I am the worst when it comes to this. I just ‘re-act’ to a moment, a situation that I might have set up before. It’s a complex interlacement of energies, and I am just one of them.

ATOMY: You mention your work is very much improvised, and yet your films display a constant sense of movement, both primary and secondary; especially in the case of your Take Away Shows. What’s your process, and goal, visually, when shooting these performances?

MOON: The music starts, and you’re in the space with your camera in hand, you tend to reach for the harmony of the moment, to not disturb the musicians but to make one (harmony) with them, to tell a story as it unfolds in front of your eyes. It’s always an incredibly exciting moment, and I have developed my own style over the years, probably to feel at ease in any situation and reach that common space. But words can’t explain well what I tend towards maybe. My favorite shot in such a way is that song with Maricel Ysasa in Buenos Aires. Only one take, no rehearsal, and, boom, magic happens.

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It seemed fitting with this month’s theme to interview one of the first photographers that made me interested in photography: Rodney Smith. His balance of realism and romanticism is always perfectly composed in black and white. In a world of digital photography he stands nearly alone in his passion for film; in fact he only shoots film and has an enthusiasm for the technical side of photography. Still, in his own words he’s “old school with a twist;” his photographs are neither modern or retro, but rather timeless.

ATOMY: What was the subject on your first roll of film?

SMITH: It depends on whether you mean the first roll when I decided to be a professional, or the first roll I took when I decided I would be interested in photography. The first roll I took with the thoughts of being a professional was in my Photography 1 class at Yale University. There is still a picture in that roll that I still like to this day 45 years later. When I was 16 I took some film in Mexico, and those pictures were probably my first introduction to photography.

ATOMY: What was your first camera?

SMITH: It was a Kodak Retna Reflex with a Schneider 50mm lens.

ATOMY: Your pictures, particularly the black & white ones, often have a vintage feel to them—would you consider yourself nostalgic?

SMITH: I think anyone who has reached my age has to be somewhat nostalgic for an earlier time.

ATOMY: Your photographs often have a surrealistic or even humorous touch to them—what’s something that makes you laugh?

SMITH: Our place, our standing, which is quite small, in a very large world is quite humorous. Over and over again, we try to be large, grandiose and full of ourselves when in fact for the most part we are quite humbled by the world. This relationship is full of humor.

ATOMY: Thank you Mr. Smith for the interview! More of Rodney Smith’s work can be found at his website and you can enjoy his personal stories on his blog.

We’re fans of Natalie Kucken’s dreamy photography that always seem to be taking place in a golden-haze filled world of adventure and wonder. So, we were thrilled when she agreed to an interview. Below read about some of her firsts and an interesting dream she had.

ATOMY: Since our theme this month is firsts, let’s start with a couple of those. What was your first camera?

NATALIE: My first camera was a silly Olympus point and shoot, I don’t remember where it came from. I count this as my first camera because I shot with it when I started a 365 project which is the reason I take photos today. That was in 2009, when I was fourteen. I didn’t get my first DSLR for months and months after I started it.

ATOMY: Do you remember the subject on your first roll of film?

NATALIE: When I first bought my own 35mm SLR it was when I had just moved into my new house two or three years ago. I shot the changes in my life, my old house’s empty rooms, the boxes stacked in my new living room, the furniture sitting outside the front door, my room’s floor covered with newspaper and paint trays with the blue tape across the walls’ edges.

ATOMY: Your photographs often seem unreal, like a fantasy—what are some of your favorite fairy tales?

NATALIE: I don’t have any actual fairy tales that come to mind, my fairy tales are things from my childhood like The Tales of Beatrix Potter, I am in love with those and they feel like my favorite fairy tales to me.

ATOMY: You call your blog “the diary of a young dream collector;” will you share an interesting dream you’ve had?

NATALIE: Last night I had a dream that I was in the passenger’s seat of a car that was full of these puffy flowers, overflowing with them all over the floor and seats and dashboard and hanging from the ceiling. The car was being driven by someone I can’t remember through Chicago, only it looked more like a town from the video game Super Mario Sunshine (I know this’ll be lost on most people ha) and there were giant fans hanging from telephone poles and other huge installments that made no sense everywhere. There were weddings going on on every other block on the streets, and the mystery person that was driving with me kept trying to talk but I was too busy looking out of the windows. That’s all I can remember now, I’m sure later in the day I’ll start to remember more of it. I love my dreams and dreams in general.

ATOMY: I always find where I live from the weather to the surroundings have a huge effect on my mood and thus my work; do you think living in Michigan has influenced your style of photography?

NATALIE: I think the weather has definitely influenced my work- in Michigan we have all four seasons, very hot summers and endless cloudy winters. Dealing with winter for six months out of the year has been a huge challenge and I’ve learned to be able to work in the cold and snow with models in summer clothes. It’s interesting to work with and adds to my work and experience, shooting would be no fun if all I tried to shoot in were perfect outdoor conditions, all of my work would be sunny and warm. It’s more gloomy and frothy most of the time.

ATOMY: Your photographs feel like the beginnings or aftermath of an adventure—do you weave a story in your head before you even begin shooting?

NATALIE: I always have some sort of story planned way ahead of time- sometimes every frame is planned out and has a meaning and sometmies I go with everything I had planned for the shoot and make the story up as I go, or it changes as I’m shooting. Most of the time it’s a vague feeling that I try to represent through clothes and a location and directing, or I’m inspired by a certain thing or experience that I try to recreate or represent in a different way.

ATOMY: Thanks for the interview Natalie! For more of Natalie’s work visit her website or even follow her tumblr!

An Interview with singer-songwriter Owen Monroy.

THE ATOMY: We are happy to have the talented Owen Monroy interviewing with us. Owen is an up and coming indie/folk singer-songwriter based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. 

To start things off, Owen, when and why did you first pick up a guitar?


OWEN: Hmm… hard to say, but probably at 6 or 7 years old because they were laying around the house, but I never really had much interest until I was a junior in high school, thats when I actually started playing.

ATOMY: What was the first song you ever wrote?

OWEN: (laughs) I’ve lost track of the very first stuff I wrote, but I remember the first song I wrote and actually liked.  It was called A Silo Under Snow and I wrote it in college.  Its about the lack of freedom in a country touted as the “land of the free.”

ATOMY: Fast forward… here you are with your first studio album, The Sun Sings Low, which released this past year, not to mention you’ve been playing live shows for years, from east to west. How has your approach creatively changed over the years?

OWEN: Well in high school it was more about what sounded cool, which is always part of the equation no matter how pretentious you become.  But it has become much more personal too me since college.  I write basically when I have to, when life forces it out of me.  I am not a great songwriter, I gave that up a long time ago.  I don’t stress about writers block.  I just try to keep living, and let my experiences extract words that I feel need to be expressed.  Sometimes this comes in the form of a song, sometimes in blog post, poem, or a sentence that captures something that I’ve been working to understand.  As I get older I feel I may gravitate more towards the “craft” of songwriting when the restlessness of my twenties plays itself out.  I look forward to becoming that type of writer someday.

ATOMY: I’ve always been interested in the role geographic and cultural location plays into art and music. Now living in Utah after coming from the East Coast, have you seen differences like this in the artistic culture and creative atmosphere of independent musicians?

OWEN: I think in terms of folk music people out here are more open to the country side of folk as opposed to the indie tendencies of folk that I hear coming from big eastern cities.  I could be completely wrong.  Out here you can actually find pedal steel players, so folk musicians have some of these instruments available which effects the sound.  Other than that, I think radio, internet, and social media are homogenizing the US and the world quite efficiently, unfortunately.

ATOMY: Has it influenced your music and creative process at all?

OWEN: Actually it has.  I think my writing does reflect a certain “Western” tinge to it at times.  I am really affected by landscapes so I for sure feel that Utah’s dryness, mountains, and red rock have effected the sound and story of my music.  Not to mention that I wrote whiskey into a song.  The outdoors and enjoying life is part of the culture here so its kind of contagious or inebriating…

ATOMY:Moving back to the past again…. What is your oldest memory from childhood involving music? When did you first realize you had a passion for it?

OWEN: Tough question because my family is so musical.  I never really had much interest compared to my brothers.  Until my junior year of high school.  Oddly enough, I play more than anyone in my family these days.  My oldest memory involving music is probably my Dad introducing me to the Beatles, and listening to him play oldies after dinner at the table.

ATOMY: My favorite Beatles song was Mrs. Robinson until high school, when I found out it wasn’t a Beatles song at all. Do you remember the first Beatles song your dad ever played you? 

OWEN: No I don’t… maybe, If I Fell.

ATOMY: A fun question, what was the first CD/cassette you ever purchased? Do you still listen to it?

OWEN: Well I didn’t attend public school so I don’t have a great answer because I wasn’t really up on the latest as a kid.   It was probably some really bad CCM artist, so no, I don’t still roll that tape.  Oldies were the main stay though.  Elvis, The Beatles, Everly Brothers, Leo Dan, Roberto Carlos, Julio Eglesias, etc.

ATOMY: Since then, which musical artists have you drawn from, creatively?

OWEN: I wouldn’t say I’ve drawn creatively from other artists, I don’t actually listen to enough music for it really to affect me on that level.  My car stereo got stolen, and I haven’t replaced it yet.  Current musicians who inspire me would be M. Ward, Hoots & Hellmouth, Langhorne Slim, David Bazan, Nick Drake, Paul Simon, A.A. Bondy and some Bob Dylan and my good buddy Nick Neihart.

ATOMY: “A Feather”, a lovely track off of The Sun Sings Low, has a strong nostalgic tone to it; a powerful sweetness, a feeling of innocence, first love, and childhood crushes. Are these themes you explore a lot in your writing?

OWEN: Actually no.  I mean maybe Woman Fine is similar in that way but since then I feel like its mostly been quite the opposite.  Maybe a little darker, learning more serious life lessons out on my own.  Perhaps I should get back to that (laughs).

ATOMY: Do you have anything in the works for 2012? What’s next for you musically?

OWEN: I do!  I am planning the recording and release of my first full length album which I am really excited about.  I will be raising support via a Kickstarter campaign.  All the songs are written and I’ve been playing with some really talented musicians… just need to get fundraising ball rolling.

You can listen to, and purchase Owen’s album The Sun Swings Low here. For more of his writings, and information on his upcoming album, follow Owen on his facebook and blog