From Pillar To Post Artwork by Logan Lynn

You can read the full transcript via “Just Out” HERE, or you can read below:

Today’s copy of Just Out features a profile on talented local musician Logan Lynn. As is customary, you can only print so much information from a full interview, so I’m posting the complete Logan Lynn interview transcription here for your perusal!

Don’t say I never did anything for you.

Interview after the jump!

Your upbringing into the Portland music scene, and the music scene at large, has been very DIY until recently (mixtapes, demos, etc.). How has your fan base and organic kind of root system affected the way you make music now?

Well, after nearly a decade of writing and recording songs in obscurity I had a friend convince me to get a Myspace band page in 2006. From there I was finally able to get my music out to people aside from my immediate peer group and things kind-of blew up overnight. The first real show I had played was the Folsom Street Fair that following September for over 400,000 people—all because the director of the event had come across my tunes on Myspace and asked me if I wanted to play. It was wild and gave me some pretty hefty exposure within the gay & leather communities.

I guess I was out of touch or something, but up to that point I had never really made the connection that there were MILLIONS of listeners at my fingertips and all I really had to do was get their attention. Those sorts of social networking sights have been the distribution lifeblood for my operation for years now. As far as how it has all affected the way I make music now, I think it’s totally safe to say that without the “root system” of Myspace, DList, Facebook (and the like) in place I would have continued on down the path of complete and total obscurity, making 80 minute “records” on my bed with a 4-track player for the rest of time. I met both of the producers I am currently working with (Carlos Cortes from Assemble The Empire & Mac Valentine from Sevenrepeat) on Myspace and it has opened up a whole world of essential-element collaborators and remixers for me. It’s been pretty amazing, actually. A bit of a whirlwind.

Are you a multi-instrumentalist, or do you compose mostly with programmed beats? What was the draw for you to electronic music (not so much influences, but you can list some if that was a big part)?

I’d love to say that I am a multi-instrumentalist (and, if playing multiple instruments poorly makes me one, then I guess I am) but in actuality, I can really only claim songwriter and vocalist as mainstays.

I was drawn to electronic music first because I stumbled upon the synthetic freedom that came with the drugs and dancing at the giant warehouse parties I was attending as a minor in the Midwest. In becoming a working musician in the electronic world, I was a DJ first. At some point the techno crossed wires with all the years of listening to indie bands with female singer/songwriters like The Innocence Mission and I was left with what I have been making since the late 90’s…sort-of a combination of the two genres, but from a dude’s perspective. I like electro, but I like the power of words that aren’t totally vacuous as well. I think it’s possible to make pop or electronic music that matters.

You described your new album as a journey from you running amok, to restoring yourself to sanity. In what ways does your music provide you with a therapeutic outlet? Did the making of this album exorcise any demons for you?

Yeah, man. This record was tough. I took a while to make it because it was my first major release and everyone involved wanted to make sure we did it right, but also because half-way into the process my life fell apart…I sort-of broke it apart, actually…but at any rate, it wasn’t good. I hit a place in 2008 where I needed to make some major changes. It was clear that I was not turning out to be the person that I wanted to be. I was pretty lost…TOTALLY lost, actually…so I decided to shut it

all down. I left the city for a couple months, cleaned up my chemical act, and made a new plan for what would be my new path. When I got back to Portland I threw out everything we had recorded for the record and started over. I had taken the time away to sort things out, but the only way I knew how to do that is by writing songs, so that’s what I did. I came back to Portland basically feeling like a new man and proceeded to make an even newer record…a different record than the one we had been working on. My story changed, so the record had to change. It’s very therapeutic to turn the feelings into words and it’s been pretty incredible to be able to connect with all of these folks who then hear my songs and can relate. Where I once felt alone, in many ways I no longer do. The idea that there are other people in the world who feel as crazy as I do has really helped me feel WAY less crazy. Not being wasted out of my mind 24 hours a day anymore has really helped with all of that too. That part seems pretty obvious now in retrospect, but I couldn’t really see it at the time. I was too busy being wasted and crazy.

The somberness of your lyrical content mixed with bouncy beats presents an interesting aural dichotomy. Do you try to actively attract listeners with the music, then 1-2 combo them with what (if I may gush) is pretty heady lyricism?

I don’t know that I am actively trying to do that for the listener, but you are right to say that the “happy/sad” thing is happening. I think that aspect has helped me find a wider audience…like, I have two types of listeners: the ones who read the lyrics and the ones who don’t. I like the idea that one listener can have two completely different experiences with the same song. With writing songs, I kinda have to keep my ears planted in the light as I go. It’s a bit Mary Poppins, but I think when you are working with rough medicine, sometimes the spoonful of sugar is imperative to the process both in me writing them and in their eventually being heard by others. In general I choose not to candy-coat the message, but instead try my best to keep the delivery on the sweet side. I might be singing about somber things, but I’m not trying to make somber sounds.

From Pillar to Post is also your first time with help in the instrumentation department. Were you finding limitations to your tried and true musical approach, or were you just looking to create something different?

Both, really. I don’t really think the change in sound would have happened like it did were it not for Carlos coming into the picture at the end of ‘06. He really brought a whole new angle to the table and we formed our shared vision fairly quickly after starting to work together. He is really talented at things that are not necessarily my forte, and because I trusted his vision, I let him do what he was good at during the process of making the new record and I was able to focus on what I was good at and take the vocal and lyrical work up a notch. From there, we realized that there were things that neither of us were very good at, so we brought in our friends and filled in the instrumental gaps. I was just one guy with a Casio SK-1 before 2006. It’s amazing what can happen when all of your friends are super talents. Long story short, I decided to listen to smart people who I respected and it paid off.

Your music is difficult to pinpoint in the genre game, but what is normally a vicious kind of term, “emo,” you seem to have embraced (at least from a few researching standpoints I came across). Is the distancing or acceptance of tags something that you think ought to be addressed more in music?

Yeah, at a certain point I decided to try and reclaim that word and just do my best to redefine it for myself to fit what I was doing musically. It seemed like a safe bet, since all attempts to pinpoint what genre to put me tend to lead to head-scratching and shoulder shrugging. I figured that it was still a perfectly good word, so why let it go to waste just because 5 years ago a bunch of crybaby douche bags from Southern California wore too much eyeliner and made shitty records about how unfair their parents and girlfriends were and how hard high school is. I get why labels are necessary, but I don’t pay too much attention and I tend to think that

neither does the listener, once they are listening. I think I fall into different categories at different points throughout this new record, but I have my roots firmly planted in pop music always…it might be mope-pop, but it’s pop all the same.

When did you first begin your working relationship with the Dandy Warhols and Beat the World, and how has that relationship evolved since you made the connection?

That all started in 2007 when I was heading up an ad campaign for this biofuel company I was working for at the time. I had gone to Los Angeles for a week of photo shoots and had hired photographer Ray Gordon to come along with. We hit it off and became fast friends. He was pals with Courtney (Taylor-Taylor) and ended up passing along to him the demo that Carlos and I had made and were planning on releasing as “From Pillar to Post”. We ended up having a big party at my place after Musicfest where I showed Courtney one of my videos. He called me the next week and told me about how they were starting a label and asked me if I wanted to make a record. From that point on it’s been sort-of a dream world of everything coming together, slowly but surely. They basically gave us the keys to their kingdom to make the record that they knew I could make, if given the means. I normally don’t believe in fairy-tales, but I won’t lie…it’s been awesome since we linked up with them. There’s no way I could have EVER made this record were it not for them letting us invade The Odditorium and work it out bit by bit without any pressure to hurry up or do it any way but our own. Beat the World was VERY patient with us and let us take our time and it really paid off. The Dandy Warhols are so smart, man. They really took us under their wing and I have learned SO much from just having Courtney there as a springboard to toss ideas around with. All the bands on our label are doing their own thing and are doing it authentically…THEIR way. It’s a motley crue of individuals whose main collective goal is to make great records. I feel pretty lucky to be apart of it. I think we all do.

How has being a higher profile gay artist materialized into how you write music, or in what ways you present your music, if at all? Do you have qualms with being identified as a gay artist, rather than simply an artist?

I don’t think that anything that has happened over the past few years since being scoped by the public eye has changed how I write songs or the music itself for that matter, but it has COMPLETELY changed the course for my getting the music heard. Were it not for my having been so embraced by Logo and the gay press overall, the straight world wouldn’t have caught on. I have no qualms about being myself. I am who I am and it just is what it is. I am a gay artist and am happy being one. It’s something I was born as and, quite frankly, is not something I could change even if I

wanted to. At the same time, while I write about my experiences with and feelings about love and life as a gay man in the world, I don’t think the songs are inherently “gay” songs. (Whatever that even means.) My songs are about love and loss and feeling alone which resonates particularly well with folks in the gay community. I think this is because we have a shared human experience though, not just a shared gay experience. Pain is sort-of an across the board thing. Everybody has it, so everybody can relate. We are all struggling to figure out what the hell we are doing

here, how to be with each other, how to be happy. That is ALL of us.

Is there an exact date for the new album being released yet? Either way, what tour plans do you have for after its release?

No set number date just yet…It’s coming out this fall. We are just wrapping up the second of the new videos, so the release date will be set here very soon after those are in the bag. I’m SO looking forward to people finally being able to hear what I’ve been doing for the past two years. That’s the fun part. We are going to be playing a few festivals this summer and are planning a tour for late Fall, so I’ve been gearing up for the next wave of Rad to hit. I’m totally ready.

Before this story actually comes out, you will have already played the Pride PDX kickoff event at the Crown Room with Street Hero and various DJs on June 11th. If you’ll allow it, give me a pre-show live review as if it’s already happened, using your futuristic powers, as if you’d traveled ahead in time and wrote your own review on your set. It can be brief, but I’d like to use it in my intro! If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, no worries!

ha ha ha

I think I might have fried the part of my brain that allowed me to see

into the future, but I think it’s safe to say it was a gay ole’ time.

Category: Interviews, Music, News, Reviews

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