Chris Schlarb: Are You Creative?
CS: Thank you very much. It means so much to me, the aesthetics of each record, how it sounds and how it kind of feels, how it looks. My wife did the photography for the Create(!) A Prospect of Freedom record, and remembers seeing that photograph and thinking, "That's an album cover, and there can't be any words on it because that would totally ruin it. Those things are so important to me, from beginning to end, down to the most minute detail.
AAJ: You seem to be involved in so many projects, that I wonder how you manage your time?
CS: I don't know what most people do but I don't really drink, I don't watch TV, I don't smoke and I'm not very good at making small talk with people. I have two children and a wife, and if I'm not spending time with my kids then I'm watching a movie with my wife. I have a really healthy family environment now, and if I have to take a couple of days to record, or go to a show, my wife is totally supportive of that. It makes such a big difference to have a spouse who is totally supportive, and she knows that I'll come home after a show and do a load of laundry or do some dishes.
AAJ: Listening to your music, whether it be I Heart Lung, or Create(!) or Ghost Stories, I find it very hard to imagine that you were ever an insurance adjustor.
CS: [laughs] That was probably the worst job I've ever had. It totally sucked the life out of me. You're trying to help people, talking to people all day who've been in accidents, but the whole structure is not necessarily set up to help them as much as it is to put them on a conveyor belt. If you listen to Twilight & Ghost Stories, there are some recordings of peopleI recorded their messages to me, and there's one guy who you can hear him saying, "You're the only person that helped me. You're the only person who took five minutes to talk to me. [laughs] I ended up throwing that in.
I stuck it out as long as I could. I was there for a year-and-a-half and, although there were some great people there, I knew that if I didn't get out I was going to be fifty years old and miserable. One day my daughter had a ballet recital, just down the street from my job, and I told the people at the insurance company that I was going to move my lunch hour up half an hour, and they said, "You can't do that. I said, "I'm not asking you, I'm telling you, I'm not taking more time I'm just changing the lunch hour, and I thought, "Yeah, I've got to get out of here, or I'll kill somebody if I have to keep putting up with this kind of decision making.
AAJ: What are you working on now, what can we expect from you in the near future?
CS: I'm actually working on the music, the soundtrack for a video game which I'm really enjoying. I'm doing some engineering and mastering for a couple of records and the next big project I have is I'm arranging and producing a record with Liz Janes; this is going to be a soul, R&B record, which I'm really looking forward to because I've always wanted to do a really good soul record.
Then there's the new I Heart lung record, Interocean, and Tom and I have been working on that record for a couple of years. It's four longer drum-based compositions, each ten or fifteen minutes long. Nels Cline plays electric sitar and guitar on a few tracks, and Dave Easley from the Brian Blade Fellowship plays pedal steel guitar. Honestly, two total heroes of mine and to be able to collaborate with them in a decent, intimate way is totally mindboggling.
Chris Schlarb, Twilight & Ghost Stories (Asthmatic Kitty, 2007)
I Heart Lung, Between Them a Forest Grew, Trackless and Quiet (SAA, 2007)
Anthony Shadduck Quartet, Debut (SAA, 2007)
Ellul, Ellul (SAA, 2007)
Create(!), A Prospect of Freedom (SAA, 2006)
Various Artists, 40 Bands/Eighty minutes (SAA, 2006) (DVD)
Bizzart, Bloodshot Mama (SAA, 2006)
I Heart Lung, The Kannenberg Sessions (SAA, 2006)
I Heart Lung, I Heart Christmas (SAA, 2006)
Liz Janes & Create(!), (SAA, 2005)
I Heart Lung, Blood and Light (SAA, 2004)
Create(!), Patterns (SAA, 2001)
Create(!), Moth Nor Rust (SAA, 2000)