A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Melinda Smith, Ph.D. (Iambic Beats)

with Melinda Smith:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Melinda: I wrote from the time I could construct sentences, though I don’t think I realized I was a writer until a few years ago. I wrote a few songs for a musical when I was 11 and then moved on to angsty poetry as a teenager (spoiler alert: nothing every came of either). Then, in graduate school (I studied neuroscience), I had this idea for brain tech that I thought would make a cool backdrop for a novel. Like a total naïve idiot, I began writing the novel with no thought or training. It was terrible. Not the idea, but the writing. I am working on rewriting it entirely and I think it’ll be great in a decade when I finally finish it. Some of my early influences were Rudyard Kipling, Dr. Seuss, and Roald Dahl.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Melinda: My biggest influences today are Ray Bradbury, Ted Chiang, and Ken Liu. All three of these writers marry speculative/science fiction with beautiful writing and philosophy so well. In a more practical sense, I am very inspired by a wonderful writing group who have shaped my growth in the most challenging and supportive of ways. Finally, I credit the Twitter writing community and the #vss365 challenges for really kicking my game into high gear. The prompts challenge me and have taught me to economize with my prose.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Melinda: I grew up in Southern California but have travelled to many countries. I lived in Italy for a year. Being immersed in centuries old art, architecture, and music definitely wakes the senses. I don’t know if it’s true, but an Italian there told me that to Italians, the sounds of the sentences were more important than the content, unlike how Americans write. I also spent time volunteering in orphanages in Haiti and Ghana. I learned that where abundance was not an everyday concept, you still see art, song, dance, and laughter spilling through everything. So even without all the riches that commissioned cathedrals and frescoes, art perseveres. It has to. Overall, travel has showed me that much of the world sees things in very different and magnificent ways.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?

Melinda: I think my latest venture (putting spoken word poetry to original music) has really been an awakening for me. I love to write, read poetry, and arrange chillwave electronic music, so this project has really put to use all creative parts of my brain. My artist name is Iambic Beats. It seems to have gotten good reception and I’m excited to see where it goes! One of the best parts about it is getting to collaborate with other poets. Some of my Iambic Beats songs are from my own poetry, but I’ve also worked with 9 or 10 poets to make songs from their work. Every collaboration has been unique and fun for (I think) both parties.

Q5: Any pivotal moments when you knew you wanted to be a writer/artist?

Melinda: When I was young, I longed to be an opera singer. But I also loved science and felt very torn about which I would pursue in college. I have always had a very difficult time going in one direction. I love to write poetry and prose, sing, paint, and compose music. While parts of me still feel that this gives me too much breadth and not enough depth, I remind myself that combining different hobbies can create new and exciting angles. And the science fits in too! I have acquired a real love for science fiction and my training helps me construct (somewhat) plausible technology and scenarios. My music also incorporates science concepts.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Melinda: What does relax mean? I have two little girls and a job as a science writer, so there is very little down time. But my creative outlets really do feel like a decompression for me at the end of the day. I’ll pick up my guitar and sing a little, paint something, or write, and I’m a happy camper.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Melinda: So the major undertaking I’ve been working on is the Iambic Beats project I mentioned above. My first two albums, Chiasm and Dark Matter, are out now. I have plans for at least two more in the works. The next album will be called AlgoRhythms, and it combines all sorts of cool math concepts. While a lot of my work is influenced by science (as you can tell by these titles), I don’t consider it at all “sciencey.” It’s all about relaxation and enjoying spoken word. My albums can be found on my BandCamp page or on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, or YouTube music

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others? What is some of your favorite artwork?

Melinda: One of the lines on my upcoming album Mathematica is currently making me very happy: The equations exist whether we solve them or not. It was inspired by the idea that some people don’t “believe” in science. To me it’s like, ok, believe or not, but it’s there anyway, you know? Here are some of my recent paintings.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Melinda: I have always been my own worst critic, but the tender and constructive criticism given by my writing community friends on Twitter has really taken my work to a higher level. More specifically, a couple of close friends who I have hired to edit my work (have taught me a lot about where I specifically need to grow. It’s been humbling and wonderful to see that the process is never done. You never learn it and say “I’m done; I’m a writer now.” You just have to keep examining your work, trying new things, and reading different styles of writing. The alternative is stagnation. And who wants that?

https://www.sciencegeekmel.com/

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Joe Kidd

with Joe Kidd:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Joe: My first serious and intentional writing began when I was 17. Just out of high school. It was a time of revolutionary thought. I left home. Hitch hiked east and south. Spent a season with a traveling carnival sleeping under the ferris wheel at night. Drinking wine and listening to stories. Sang on stage with The James Gang, also with Buddy Miles Express. Hungry all the time, but free. Unknowingly, I was my own version of Siddhartha. Influences then were the events and people around me, certainly The Beatles, my father gave me two books when I was very young, Rumi and Mark Twain. They have had a deep and lasting effect.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Joe: You know, I am not sure. I have sat in the room with Dalai Lama, shook hands with sitting president Clinton, received communion from living Saint John Paul II, attended Muhammad Ali’s birthday party, seen all 4 Beatles in concert. I look to heroes. Not necessarily for writing influence. People like Geronimo, Bobby Sands, Socrates, King David. Bob Dylan has made a huge impact. Carlos Castaneda, perhaps my favorite poet Arthur Rimbaud. I love movies like Cool Hand Luke, Braveheart, Once Upon A Time In The West, Falling Down, Emperor Of The North, Cuckoo’s Nest, A Perfect World. I try new things. Give everyone a chance.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Joe: I grew up in Detroit. Middle class. I got all the toys. I was always active, always smart. Played the guitar and saxophone at a young age. Mom was a Kentucky girl, always playing country music Dad listened to classical and movie soundtracks, he had emphysema early on. We moved to Buena Park California where I went to high school. Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Steppenwolf, The Stones, Grateful Dead. That’s what was happening.
My father couldn’t tolerate the air pollution so we returned to Michigan after a few years. By then the Detroit/Ann Arbor music scene had become a powerful source of energy for me. MC5, The Stooges, White Panther Party, Grande Ballroom, WABX-FM, everything was important, everything was political, everything was great, everything was possible. We made it through the assassinations, we made it through the Detroit riot. We wanted the war to end now. We wanted all humans to be treated equally and fairly. I stayed in a commune in Ann Arbor for a while. We lived on brown rice and mescaline. All of these things and so much more.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?

Joe: The accomplishments that I am known for are the CD titled Everybody Has A Purpose that I did with my partner Sheila Burke.  Also the book I published in 2020 titled The Invisible Waterhole.  In 2017 Being inducted into the Michigan Rock & Roll Legends Hall of Fame along with Edwin Starr and The Spinners was a surprise.  There with Smokey Robinson, Mitch Ryder, countless others.  I live meaningfully every day.  My higher education was formed at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit.  I wrote a lot there.  Theology and church history.  I write and create for the future as well as the now.  That is the most meaningful action I can take.  Traveling and touring.  Sheila & I have traveled 26 states and 12 countries in North American & Western Europe.  Sharing the stage with other artists in countries where we are the “world music artists” speaking in a language that many do not understand.  It is a new challenge and a powerful rush.  Perhaps my greatest accomplishment was creating my daughter Jackleen Diana Eve.  A talented pianist, writer, and photographer.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/performer?

Joe: My mother’s brother Tommy was a traveling musician for a while. Mom wanted me & my brother to be like the Everly Brothers. We were 9 & 11 when The Beatles appeared on TV. Like so many my age, that changed everything. We were different people with different souls after that night. The poetry and songwriting came naturally like breathing air and drinking water. So, it probably just happened as soon as I could form letters on a page.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Joe: I write music, book, & film reviews for a number of international magazines and websites. I am often called to write political speeches for candidates. I own a small orchestra of musical instruments that I practice with in our studio. I have a garden of Sunflowers and Indian corn. I cook great meals. I love to drive long distances to places I’ve never been.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Joe: https://amzn.to/2WvfYcB for the book “The Invisible Waterhole”

https://amzn.to/3f1kGoA for the cd “Everybody Has a Purpose” with Sheila Burke

www.joekiddandsheilaburke.com

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Joe:

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing/music?

Joe: I generally write alone. I find it difficult to collaborate. Poetry always solitary. In my life I have been able to write songs with only two others. In the past, with my brother John who died in 2018, and presently with Sheila Burke. She is a crucial part of our music together and a stellar multi talented artist. I stand on the shoulders of countless others both living and deceased. I owe so much to so many. I am always happy to be in the company of greatness. Peace to all who read this.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Ken Stringfellow from The Posies, Big Star, solo work and other projects

Ken Stringfellow is a founding member of the band ‘The Posies’ with Jon Auer. Together they have 8 Studio albums, live albums, EPs, found on compilations and collaborations with many great musicians. Both men were recruited to be members of a reformed ‘Big Star” in the 1990’s by original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens. This pairing put together a wonderful album “In Space” in 2005, which came out just as I was really beginning to learn all about Big Star, and at the peak of my earliest writing was shaping up. I first learned more about the Posies when I found and purchased the early 90’s album “Dear 23” which was imperative in helping me overcome a relationship that I was striving for with a woman whom inevitably was not going to work out. I highly recommend this album and the personable songs “You Avoid Parties” “Everyone Moves Away” and “Golden Blunders”. They have brilliant songs, wonderful power pop songs if you’re a Big Star fan and should check them out as soon as you can.

with Ken Stringfellow:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Ken: I have always been an avid reader, I was hyperlexic as a child, and taught myself how to read and write before starting school. After moving on from A.A. Milne and other children’s classics, as a kid I was into history, especially World War II history, and related (I read Almanacs and Encyclopedias, all the Time Life Science/Nature books I could find, various field guides on different animals). In 4th-5th grade I read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion (and the National Lampoon’s Bored of the Rings!) and my 5th grade teacher took me aside early in the year and said: “this year’s curriculum is not going to interest you, you’ve already put into practice everything we’re teaching this year. Your job this year is to write. Write whatever you want — poetry, short stories, essays — as long as you turn in a couple things a week, I’m happy.” This was a huge gift, and I definitely stepped up to the opportunity, I didn’t want to let him down. I wrote poems, science fiction..even the odd Limerick!

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Ken: I probably found the most satisfaction in Pynchon, there’s a lot to chew on, I love that he mixes high concept with dreadful dad jokes… that’s right up my alley! A lot of my work is ‘serious’ or emotionally charged in such a way that humor doesn’t always fit, but humor is very important to me. PKD is another big influence, I love the twisting of reality that the characters are continually trying to decode, and again there’s a lot humor mixed in. One of the most brilliant writers, who nailed high comedy — even slapstick — in prose was Trsitan Egolf, absolutely one of my favorites. I can’t downplay the role of Monty Python’s Flying Circus as an influence, too — extreme, surreal irreverence is mightier than the sword.

Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/artist/musician?

Ken: Music just drew me in, from the earliest stages of my life…I don’t think I ever ‘wanted to be’ an artist or writer, I didn’t think in those terms, but I surrounded myself with inspiring music and literature at all times… eventually words and music started to express themselves from within me. Very derivative at first, but over time, I found my voice.

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

Ken: Well, my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Pittis, mentioned above, was absolutely pivotal.

Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/music & did any travels away from home influence your work?

Ken: We moved a lot– every year and a half on average until my parents’ divorce when I was 9. I lived in a lot of ‘nice’ suburbs — Westchester Co., Grosse Pointe, North Shore Chicago… where the emotional undercurrents were as turbulent as the veneer of decorum was blasé. That disconnect was something very traumatic, especially how it was realized at home. But, at the same time, the constant need to rebuild my circle of friends, and the continual uprooting of my life prepared me for a life of travel, and that’s a huge part of my life now, bringing what I do to as many places as possible, and sharing my art and thoughts while experiencing the thoughts and art of the people I meet. I’ve performed in just under a hundred countries around the world.

Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far to you?

Ken: In some ways the travel, and exchange of ideas, the shrinking of the globe to my eyes…even though it’s not particularly known or celebrated (you can review a record; it’s hard to review or even see a lifetime of steady travel and exchange of ideas unless you’re the one living it!) might be the most meaningful…it’s small, but the world doesn’t just move by virtue of the big movement leaders — it’s also moved in every tiny interaction that everyday people participate in. The choices of how to recognize, honor, respect people or not are made, consciously or in ignorance, every second.

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Ken: Swimming, hiking, being surrounded by nature.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/song/writing of yours or others? Or name a piece of artwork that means a lot to you.

Ken: I’m going to skip this one, I am never able to boil things down to an essential element… I’m sorry about that. editor’s addition: adding a great interview with Ken with Magnet on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWtTMEd0gAI

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Ken: Joe Puleo, who is an elite track and field coach who has also written books on the sport, asked me to bring to life some lyrics he’d written (not being a musician at all) in honor of Gabriele Grunewald, a champion runner who continued to compete even as she was being treated for the cancer she eventually succumbed to. The resulting song — with music composed, performed, sang, engineered and mixed by me — is quite moving, and I’m very proud of the technical side of it, too. We ended up doing an EP of this material, with Joe contributing the lyrics and me turning those words into songs and executing all the music. Look for “Stringfellow Imagines Puleo” on your streaming!

Not sure this interview will be posted in time, but my band the Posies has an online show July 24 live from my studio in the Seattle area. 6pm Seattle time live and also streaming for 24 hours. Tix and info: https://knct.club/3xRg6jV

Please follow me on Instagram, @kenstringfellow as well – it’s now the best place to know about what I’m up to.

Other Links:

https://tidal.com/magazine/article/ken-springfellow-5-albums/1-56313

http://www.theposies.net/

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Dave O’Leary

with Dave O’Leary

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Dave:    I made some attempts at writing poems and stories in elementary school and high school and on into college but at one point I realized I needed more life experience. I needed to read more so I largely paused. I kept writing in notebooks and always had one with me but never tried to publish anything until I started a blog at 39. At that point, I was basically living without meaning or direction, but I did have by that time more life experience so I decided finally to start writing things down in a way that others could see them. The idea was to use the blog to develop a few short stories and eventually a collection, but it instead turned in my first book, Horse Bite.

As for influences at that time, the main one was Haruki Murakami. I first came across his writing when I was living in South Korea. I read an English translation of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and it just blew me away with the removal of sound and splitting the shadow from the self and all these fantastical things while also mixing in music and pop culture references. It just made sense to me, and music has been since then a huge part of my writing as well, so much so the my second book was actually called The Music Book. I love too how Murakami has kept with short stories over the years. That’s where my own focus is at the moment.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Dave:

One writer I’ve long admired is Graham Swift. Last Orders is one of my favorite books, one of those I’ve read multiple times. His writing is so effortless. I’ve read things where it’s obvious the writer is trying too hard, but never with Swift. It’s something I aspire to. For poetry these days, I’ve been reading Kim Addonizio. I’d never heard of her until a few years ago, which I suppose is because I was in Korea, but I so wish I’d found her work earlier. Tell Me and What is This Thing Called Love are fantastic. Some other poetry books I’ve read recently are Homie by Danez Smith, every love story is an apocalypse story by donna vorreyer, and Torn Up by C. Cimmone. All wonderful stuff.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work/describe?

Dave: I grew up in parts of the Midwest with one brief stint in the South. We moved around a bit and at one point were moving every two years. It probably helped my writing in that I read more since being a new kid in school meant going times with no or few friends. My time in South Korea helped too with perspective. People should spend some time living in another country if they can rather than just traveling through places on vacation. I was teaching English there and not making much money, struggling with the day to day of life much as I would have if I’d stayed in America and waited tables while trying to make it in a band. Sometimes I’d go a week or so without seeing anyone who looked like me or who spoke English, and that really helped give me a sense of scale on my place in the world, the smallness of the individual, and it’s really where the writing bug began to seriously creep back into my soul. I stayed there for eight years and might have stayed longer but for a horrible relationship I was in.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Dave: For me, it’s always the most recent thing so it has to be my new collection (poetry, short prose) I Hear Your Music Playing Night and Day, Cajun Mutt Press. Each book has gotten closer to the heart of it all, the heart of what I’m trying to say anyway. That’s the goal. I wouldn’t put a book out if I felt it was somehow less meaningful than what came before it.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Dave:

   I’ll give you two. When I was in third grade I started playing violin and soon got pretty good at it and my teacher once said, “If you get good enough at violin, you’ll be able to teach yourself how to play the guitar.” It didn’t mean anything when he first said it, but then one day I heard Cheap Trick on the radio, the Live at Budokan album, and I was blown away and realized I wanted to do that. I don’t make a living as a musician but I’ve had a lot of wonderful musical moments of the years. My book release party recently turned into more of a live music show since it just felt so good to be playing again in front of people.



   For writing, the moment was around the same time. We read the book Rascal in class and it was the first time a story just stuck with me and deeply moved me. The ending of that book got under my skin and I thought I wanted to do that. I wanted to write stories that affected people in that same way. Perhaps it was because I’d never experienced and real loss at that point of my life so it opened up for me a whole new set of emotions. None of my three books have been best sellers, but with each one I’ve been contacted by people who told me how the book as a whole or some piece of it really meant something to them either because it opened something up or reflected something of their own experience. It that sense then they’ve all been successful.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Dave:    Music. There are certainly people who are way better musicians than I am, but I’ve always enjoyed playing either with others or on my own in the basement. Sometimes my only friend was whichever acoustic guitar I happened to own at the time. And music is certainly one thing that helped me get through the pandemic. A couple friends would come over and we’d have socially distant drinks out back and eventually we’d break out the guitars and have socially distant, masked jam sessions, and it turned into a kind of pandemic band so I had the same group of people (three of us) play at my book release party in mid-June.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Dave:

My third book, I Hear Your Music Playing Night and Day, came out at the end of May from Cajun Mutt Press, and to quote the promo copy, it’s a collection of “poetry and short prose about the musical life and the lost words of youth, about the places where love might be found or misplaced and dreams not quite made and celebrity encounters and being short on funds and the necessity of bus rides and bus stops and homes and the small moments that resonate and, of course, cats.”

   Link: https://www.amazon.com/I-Hear-Your-Music-Playing-And_Night-Day-Dave-OLeary/dp/product/1639011633

   The wonderful folks at Line Rider Press gave it a nice review.
https://lineriderpress.com/poetry-book-review-i-hear-your-music-playing-night-and-day-by-dave-oleary/

Q8: What is one of your favorite lines/stanza from a poem or song of yours or others?

Dave:

Funny you mention poem or song. I wrote a poem called “Pause” years ago in college that became a song for my then band and I included an acoustic version of it on the CD that accompanied The Music Book back in 2014. Last summer though, I got the idea to take that song and condense it to its essence and the editors at Versification were kind enough to include it in their inaugural issue last summer, and it made it into the new book too. The line about the mosquitoes was what stuck with me all these years because it’s so much of what life is and it’s what prompted me to rework it last summer.

   “Swarms of mosquitoes swirl and buzz 
   in my living room. They dive bomb me
   and I swat, miss, hit myself in the face…”

   In the old song it was this. It’s more rock and roll for sure but less poetic:

   “Heading out
   through the swarms
   of mosquitoes
   in my living room.”

   “Pause” the poem. Scrolling required. It’s just 5 lines so it’s easy to miss:
https://versificationco.wordpress.com/2020/06/05/verse-june-2020/

   “Pause” the Song:
https://themusicbook.bandcamp.com/track/pause

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Dave:

Over the last ten years it’s been mainly two people. First, there’s my writer friend Clint Brownlee (His book: https://www.amazon.com/Pearl-Jams-Vs-33-154/dp/1501355309). He’s read early drafts of all my books and really helped me cut what wasn’t working and prompted me to delve more deeply where needed. And especially with the first book, I needed a lot of that. It’s been invaluable to have that critical voice shared over beers. Any music fans should check out his book about the recording of Pearl Jam’s Vs. album. Second, there’s my wife, Allison Severinghaus. She supports my writing, of course, but she’s also brutally honest when she thinks the writing is subpar, which sadly it sometimes is. She keeps me on my writing toes and pushes me to be a better writer and a better person.








A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Benjamin Adair Murphy

with Benjamin Adair Murphy:

Bio:
Benjamin Adair Murphy writes blues and country songs. His last album ‘Let’s Make a King’ was named one of the best albums of 2020 by multiple publications. His poetry and lyrics have been published in Fevers of the Mind, Headline Poetry and Press, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, The Good Ear Review, Ophelia Street, and others, and are forthcoming in Rabid Oak and Coven Poetry. His plays have been performed in New York, Boston, and Chicago. He lives in Mexico City. Songs | Benjamin Adair Murphy Songs | Benjamin Adair Murphy

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Benjamin: I started writing songs when I was about 13. Around that time, I was listening to a lot of early Pink Floyd – the records with Syd Barrett. I was also listening to a lot of delta blues guys like Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, and Blind Willie Johnson. That music is haunting stuff, and can stick with you forever – it sure stuck with me…

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Benjamin: I have three equally important influences: Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen. Obviously, all of them are incredible songwriters, but they’re also all artists who kept getting better as they got older. That’s pretty inspirational. John Prine should also probably be on that list.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art/music?

Benjamin: My parents split up when I was in elementary school, and my older brother and I used to spend summers with our dad in Northampton, Massachusetts. Northampton is very hip and expensive these days, but back in the eighties it was pretty run down and had a lot of empty storefronts. My dad rented a tiny apartment above a Mexican restaurant. The place was a dump, but I loved it because it was right across the street from a famous music venue called the Iron Horse. The stage in the Iron Horse is right at the entrance, and on summer nights we used to sit out on our fire escape and watch whatever was happening. Everybody came through the Iron Horse back then – Kris Kristofferson, Stan Getz, Townes Van Zandt…I was able to hear a lot of great music. I didn’t know who half of them were at the time, but their faces, their names, and their songs all entered my consciousness in an abstract kind of way. I was able to get a bird’s eye view of the romantic side of live music, but I was also able to see the business side of working musicians out on the road – loading and unloading equipment and that sort of thing.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work/describe?

Benjamin: I’ve lived out of the U.S. for the last 10 years, and I’ve recorded albums in Rome and Mexico City, but most of my songs aren’t really tied to any city or region. I only remember a few instances when my lyrics came out of specific places. I wrote a song called ‘Upside Down: A Spell for Traversing the Land of the Dead’ after seeing a papyrus at the Egyptian Museum in Torino. My last album has a song called “The White Man Gets Things Done” which was influenced by a mural in Mexico City by Diego Riviera of the Spanish conquistadors forcing indigenous Indians to work in the silver mines.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Benjamin: Writing songs is just something I’ve always done. There have been plenty of times when it didn’t make any financial or logical sense to be an artist, and I’ve just pushed on. I don’t really have a single ‘pivotal’ moment, I just have a lot of small moments when I persisted and endured.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Benjamin: I like to go for long walks by myself. I’m happy in the city or in the woods, just as long as I don’t need to speak to anyone for a few hours.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Benjamin: I just signed a music licensing deal with a company called Artlist: Let’s Make a King by Benjamin Adair Murphy | Royalty Free Music Album – Artlist.io. It’s a good place for filmmakers to get royalty free music, and hopefully I’ll start hearing my songs in some films or TV shows.  And my new EP will be ready at some point this year, but my producer got into a motorcycle crash a few months ago and hasn’t been able to work on it very much recently.  In the meantime, all my other music is on Bandcamp: Let’s Make a King | Benjamin Adair Murphy (bandcamp.com)

Q8: What is a favorite line from one of your poems/songs?

Benjamin:

I like these lyrics I wrote for a song called ‘Wake Up When the Train Stops’:  Don’t worry about the ride / Don’t worry about your watch / Close your eyes / You’ll wake up when the train stops 

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Benjamin: I’m pretty confident in my own songwriting abilities, and for the most part I instinctively know what works or doesn’t work. I don’t need much help with the writing, but I need a lot of help with every other aspect of music production; the recording, the mixing, the mastering… I don’t have the patience for a lot of that stuff, but I have some friends who are masterful at it. Luckily, I have been able to work with good people, and without them my songs would never leave my own living room.

Poetry/Songs inspired by Leonard Cohen from Benjamin Adair Murphy

Twitter @adairmurphy1