Sunday, July 7, 2013

interview: John King (is back in town for summertime fun)


37: You've been gone awhile.
John king: You said it. I moved to Berea Ky in 2011.
37: just after the end of the Louisville Is for Lovers Valentine’s series. Was that on purpose?
John king: somewhat. I was really hoping to stay in town and continue doing projects full force. But even after a decade slinging records and putting on events I still couldn’t figure out how to make money. I’ve never been much of a business guy, so I always had to work on the side. After the economic crush of 2008 finding work got tough. At the end I was doing temporary work in warehouses, 7pm-5am. It was rough. So I decided apply for work across the globe and take the first thing that came along.
 37: what types of work did you apply for?
John king: I looked for work in my skill set, which there isn’t a whole lot out there, but lots of people wanting the work. I applied for music industry jobs, mostly writing. There was a job producing for a record label in Australia. But they decided in the end that bringing in an American was risky. They said in the past Americans tended to go back home. But they represented a lot of US bands including Louisville bands like My Morning Jacket and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, so that might have helped me from being too homesick.
The first solid YES I was offered was a full scholarship to Berea College. I was also given a job at the Berea College Sound Archives. They have the largest collection of non-commercial traditional music, and I work mostly in that.
37: So in some way you are still working in music?
John king: Oh, yes. It’s actually not so different from what I did with the Valentine’s series. I go through the recordings and pick out a good sampling and create specific collections along with biographies I write and put it on our online library.
37: and how are you adjusting to school life?
It’s tough. I’m a Louisville boy, you know. But I’m starting my 3rd year in the fall so it’s slowly getting easier. I didn’t expect college to completely alter my life, but hoped it would at least give me a few years of gainful employment until I figure out how to pay the bills.  The school it’s self is interesting. It’s been around since before the civil war, and has always been free to Kentucky and Appalachian students that show promise but without means to attend to school. But they can only accommodate about 13% of applicants so I’d say my biggest complaint is that they aren’t pulling a DMX and opening up shop all over the country.
37: The Ruff Ryders’ Anthem. Classic.
John King: Yeah, “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” is one of my favorites. “How’s It going Down” is always a great go-to tough guy love song.
37: agreed. What’s that guy up to these days I wonder?
John King: I don’t know. I think since his jail stints he has been performing some.  I sorta met him once. In 2004 I was living in Brooklyn and was walking down the street with a friend and he said “look it’s DMX” and there he was standing in the road wearing only a pair of rubber wader overalls. It was interesting. I said ‘Hey DMX!’and He might have nodded back us intentionally.
37: So, what have you been up to this summer?
John King: Good question. I have been in Louisville mostly. It’s really the first time I’ve spent any amount of time here since I left. I was here for a few weeks to get Zombie Attack together last year in between summer school, but this year I opted to do an internship based in Louisville so I could be home for a while.  
37: What’s the internship entail?
John King: I am working with Magnolia Photo Booth Co. along with a grant from Berea College to travel across the Southern Appalachian Mountains with my buddy and Magbooth founder Daniel Sanders taking portraits for the College Archives. They have a Volkswagen Westfalia that we sleep in and is also outfitted with a photo booth and printing station. It’s pretty fun and we document it on our travel blog. We have been all over; Asheville NC, Appalachia VA,  New River WV, Black Mountain KY, Clinch Mountain Tenn. To name a few.. 
Hatfield and McCoy fest in WV

37: Seems like fun. And quite amount of work. Anytime for Louisville?
John King: Ha, yes. Since I haven’t been back in so long, I wanted to make good use of my time at home and do as much as possible. We have been cooking up some new exciting releases at Louisville Is for Lovers including a new full length album by Team Totoro in August and a ‘Louisville Is For Covers’ album for the 20th anniversary of the Palace Brothers ‘There Is No-One What Will Take care Of You’ in the fall.
37: That’s quite a lot.
John King: yeah, well I have to make up for lost time. I was hoping to keep more of a presence when I moved to Berea but quickly became overwhelmed with school and an office job. Before I went back to school I never liked when people said school was keeping them too busy for anything else, but now I’m eating crow over that. I totally get it now.   
37: Anything else?
John King: Oh, yes, Zombie Attack of course. 

37: Of course. How is that shaping up?
John King: It’s always crazy jumping through all the hoops and getting all the permits and keeping everyone happy.. And finding the funds to pay for it. Louisville Traffic Safety put last year’s total at 15,000. If we grow like we have in the past, then we expect this year to be around 18,000.  We are looking for sponsors and have set up a crowd funding campaign through Rocket Hub to help raise funds: http://www.rockethub.com/projects/29156-louisville-zombie-attack-2013
37: Anything else?
John King: I’ll let you know when I remember. Oh, I'll try and post here more often, and we'll be covering Forecastle here too.
37: Yes sir.
John King: Thank you. 

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