Friday, February 29, 2008

INTERVIEWS is NATURAL - #1

The Interview of the Century
The Rise of Playboy, Jet-Setter and Occasional Movie Villain
Greg Collins


For our newest feature at SepNat, "Interviews is Natural," the decision of who the inaugural interview would be wasn't too complicated or lengthy. Honestly, this feature was created BECAUSE we wanted to interview this man. He is Greg Collins. Don't let the first question throw you, we know exactly who he is and why we should be interviewing him. And so will you, you know, if you read this, obviously. So please sit back, relax, and enjoy this intimate conversation with this dashing young go-getter I like to call...Greg Collins.

SepNat: Who are you and why the hell should I be interviewing you?

Greg Collins: I am the greatest thing that ever walked the face of the earth. That pretty much sums up why you should be interviewing me.

SepNat: Nice. So, when you’re talking to a girl at a bar, and she asks you what you do for a living, what is your reply?

GC: When I am at a bar, having a pleasant discussion with a lady, there is nothing duller than talking about work. It just sounds like your bragging if you do that, even if you hate your job. I like to keep the convo strictly fun, funny, and insightful. I'm in the business of simply having a lot of fun. Furthermore, there is little else that is duller than talking about your own job when you're supposed to be enjoying yourself at a bar. Further-furthermore, if a girl does ask this question, I think it is a bad sign. It means the normal flow of a fun conversation is waning. Questions like that should be reserved for date-seshes, "dates" for the layman. However, let's say the topic of work did come up and a girl asked me what I do for a living. I would probably just answer her truthfully, "I design books."

SepNat: Jobs and girls aside (for now), what are your immediate life plans for 2008?

GC: Build even stronger relationships with my friends. Get on my bike much more often. Create more songs under the Push title. Do SOMETHING with DJing. Go to Ireland. Design more freelance projects. Start Illustrating again. Develop my own children's books, cartoon, graphic novel, or...something else. Compile all the art I've done throughout my life and design it as one hardbound volume.

SepNat: Ambitious, I love it. I’d like to focus on two aspects of Greg Collins that intrigue me: The Push and your illustrations. First, The Push. Word on the street is that there is new Push music on the horizon. Can you confirm or deny these rumors?

GC: New Push tracks are on the horizon. Don't expect any in the next months. But who knows. This year for sure. It's been far too long without Push music. The more I listen to so-called electronic music the more I realize that most of it lacks a melody. Blips, bleeps, and beats don't just make a song. You gotta have melody. Or at least ambiance. The Push is all about ambiance and melody in 2008. New sounds, new beats, new effects, new synths. It should be fun. And it won't be like the previous Push, where 1 album is made in 1 week. I'll take it a bit slower in the hopes of nailing down great music.

SepNat: I know this is early, but do you have any song titles in mind yet?

GC: The title track: Mach XII in the 4th Dimension, and: Everything But Earth. These aren't final but are knocking about in my head.

SepNat: Lovely. I dig them. The anticipation of hearing new Push tracks will be rough, but I think I’ll manage, just barely. Now, onto illustrating. This is an aspect of Greg Collins that I’m not as familiar. You mention you’d like to possibly work on an original graphic novel. Would you like to write one, or just illustrate one? Personally, I’ve got an original idea that I need an illustrator for, but that’s besides the point, at least for this interview. Tell me a little about you and illustrating, whatever comes to mind.

GC: I have not drawn anything since high school. I doodle a lot, but as for an actual drawing, no. I've drawn for my whole life. Used to do so for hours when I was a little guy. I haven't in recent years, when I should be developing skills. I don't trust my own talent yet as an illustrator to trust myself with your graphic novel. As for my graphic novel ideas, I have no problem screwing them up with bad illustrations. I love illustrations that deliberately shy away from accurately depicting reality. I love drawings done by children. Abstraction comes naturally to them but for us "adults" we have to force ourselves to draw abstraction. I think everyone can draw, and I think we all should. Especially those of us who utter self-deprecating comments like "I can't draw." I think the people who "don't" or "can't" draw have the most interesting illustrations because they have their own style, their own hand, in their art. I'd much rather watch my brother, who has an amazing and unique style that I have never ever seen before anywhere, draw a specific scene than witness a class of people who have been instructed on "how to draw correctly" illustrate the same scene.

SepNat: What type of freelance gigs are you looking to book? Something with illustrating, maybe to ignite those dormant fires?

GC: Sure yeah. Although I have no portfolio for illustrations at the moment. But I would love to do some freelance work designing a book, something very graphic, fun, and different. I'm not nearly as confident with illustration as I am with design. I will need to begin developing it on my own before I take it to a professional level. I'm not talking about comic book characters either. I like mood in my illustrations. Simple and abstract. Artsy-fartsy, if you will. Or maybe something cartoonish. I can do that very well.

SepNat: What types of books, comic or other, are you currently into? I’m a big fan of Scud: The Disposable Assassin, which I think you would dig. Any titles you could recommend?

GC: You know, I never used to like to read. Well, I guess I loved it as a little guy. But only since I've been working in publishing have I fallen in love with books again. For over the past year I have been reading novels mostly of 19th century Russia. I love the time period, the country, and their writers. Tolstoy is my favorite. But the more I read Dostoevsky...well, the more he may surpass Tolstoy as my favorite author.

I have read Anna Karenina and War and Peace, both by Tolstoy (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky). Anna Karenina is outstanding. I highly recommend it. War and Peace is the best book I have ever read. Really, it is long, but finishing is worth it. It truly is a masterpiece, Brett. It has surely earned all the acclaim as greatest novel ever written. More recently, I have read The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. I actually really like this one. A bit heavy at times, but amazing. I also read Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, The Double, and The Gambler. I did not like The Double but The Gambler was interesting. Notes from Underground is a classic, certainly a great introduction to Dostoevsky as it is short in length. I am currently reading A Hero of Our Time by Lermontov, another Russian bloke. Just started it today. Love it so far.

I recently finished reading Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata. Great book! He masterly writes beautiful romances in most of his novels with eloquence and real emotion. The Kruetzer Sonata is based off his own failed marriage with his actual wife. Ironic how he could write some of the most memorable romances in all of literature but his own was nothing but torment for him. I won't tell you the end but it is shocking. Not the usual Tolstoy. I read that he was inspired by and drew upon his own marriage for this book. It is very short, about 120 pages, unlike all his other novels (which run from 800 to 1400 pages). It is good though.

I do enjoy more books than 19 century Russian works. I love Edgar Allan Poe. His novel, his only novel interestingly enough, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, is genius. The footnotes, appendices, and introduction explain why. But its a fun read and the overwhelming symbolism throughout make it important. I love his short stories too, although I have not read them all.

I love The Awakening by Kate Chopin, an American author. Very interesting.

I love buying books, I spend many lunch breaks traversing the aisles of Barnes&Nobles. I buy a lot of them too. More than I can read.

I recently read Clive Barker's new book, bought it off a whim and because the design impressed me. It was freaking horrible. It was the worst, stupidest, and most pointless piece of trash I have ever read. I will never read it again and I will never recommend it to anyone ever, certainly not people who I like.

I greatly enjoy comic books. I used to read Spawn a lot. Although I got tired of it because nothing ever really happened. I love the Venom mini-series line. However, I only REALLY love the first mini-series, Lethal Protector. I think it came out in '96 or so. Maybe '94. I'm reading this other books simply called BEASTS. Very graphically oriented without that much text. But it is very cool. I think you'd like it. There is this book called The Poison Diaries as well. I highly recommend that as an awesome read and as an amazing and creative way to make a book—everything is handwritten, all over the page. It is supposed to be the diary of a servant boy in 19 century England who dreams of poisoning his evil master. It's crazy. I do like graphic novels. There is a cool compilation graphic novel called Flight. A bunch of different artists create their own comics with a central theme of...can you guess...flying. Some are shite. But most are pretty cool. With a few being outstanding and emotional. I've also read Frank Miller's Batman stuff and his 300. Awesome.

You have been reading Scud for years now haven't you? If you could recommend more I would check them out.

SepNat: Lately, I’ve been hooked on Y: The Last Man. Its about a plague that kills every single organism with a Y chromosome, except a guy named Yorick and his pet monkey named Ampersand. It’s kick ass. Also just read we3, which was okay, and am always a big fan of The Goon. I’m very specific in what comics I read, for some reason. And although it’s not a comic, I really think you would dig World War Z. Have you read that one?

GC: I never read or heard of Y. I have heard of we3. Never read it though. I know about World War Z. I've seen people reading it too. I hear good things. No doubt it will be made into a movie. I will check out all of them. I'm always looking for new things to read.

SepNat: World War Z is awesome, I think it’s my favorite book. Here’s a good one: if you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

(Greg takes some time to ponder this question...)

GC: Superpower...after much debate within my brain...my nervous synapses recommend I go with teleportation. And I mean...no limits on where I can go. Of course I teleport at my own risk since I could teleport to the core of the Sun and completely annihilate myself. That would be shitty. But it would be cool to think, "ok body, telelport me to another planet on which I could breathe without a problem." That would be cool. No only would teleportation be fun, but it would be so practical. The entire world would be like walking to my living room. "Want to go Paris? Ok, pack your bags, and wait here. I'm going to go check into the hotel and then come back and pick you up." Bam! We are there. Week long trips could become day trips. Imagine this too, "you going out tonight? Yes. Cool. Where do you want to go? Well, I know this awesome bar in London... All right let's go there!" We could bar-hop the world's greatest bars.I could do anything. I could be the best assassin for the US government. A great solider, if I wanted to go down that road...which I don't. Still, interesting to think about.

Clearly, I could get up at 9am and instantly be at work. And not only would the commute time be split seconds, but zero emissions on travel. So, good for the environment. Also, anything that I could carry can teleport with me. I simply have to touch it with my bare hands. I say "anything I could carry" instead of "anything I touch" because I don't want to teleport a building with me somewhere...or teleport the Earth if I am standing barefoot.

It was between this and flying, in a superman fashion. Flying, I would imagine, would take an enormous amount of energy. I imagine it would be comparable to running. So I would not really be able to fly across the world. Plus, flying would be fun and that's pretty much it. I wouldn't have super strength so I wouldn't really be able to fly with heavy luggage. Because I think the faster I fly, while carrying a lot of luggage, the heavier the luggage will get. If you don't understand this, than read up on the theory of relativity. Teleportation, much more practical.

Plus, if I wanted to experience the thrill of flying, all I would have to do is teleport to say 10,000 feet high, freefall for a couple thousand feet and teleport back to the ground. However, now that I think about it that may not be possible because I think right after I teleport I think I would still carry the same momentum. So instead of freefalling for so long, I would just free fall for about 10 feet. At that height, 10 feet would still be exciting.

"What do you want to do this weekend? How about Friday night we go see a show in Japan. Saturday, lets hike the Andes. And Sunday, how about we go for a run in Italy...or we could go check out the Australian Outback. Sound good?"It does to me. Gimme teleportation.

SepNat: Great answer. I don’t think I want to try and top that, so let’s wrap this up. Anything you’d like to personally recommend to the world before we conclude this interview? Wishes, fears, hopes, dreams, final thoughts?

GC: Originally I had intended to answer you with some sort of epic moral commandment that we all could live by--too generic, lame, and predicable. Then I thought I would try to wrap things up with some deadpan humor--even more lame and predictable. Finally I think instead, I'll keep my answers simple and to the point (even though your final questions are short but complicated final questions). I'll try to be brief...

MUSIC: (I wouldn't recommend these if I didn't feel so strongly about them)
Hot Chip--most creative electronic music ive ever heard. Check out Ready for the Floor, Over and Over, and One Pure Thought. If you like this shit, check out the rest of the albums.

Vampire Weekend--clearly, you may already know about this shit. simple, lovely, and very catchy. fun too!

MGMT--dude...these blokes are unreal!! psychedelic, epic, melodic, electronic music. real intruments are used as well. Try "Time to Pretend." Amazing. My new fav band.

The Knife, The Changes, The Postmarks, St. Vincent, Au Revoir Simone, Annuals, The Raveonettes, Bell X1 -- all fantastic creative bands.

DREAMS:
My dream....or dreams....to someday be a very successful graphic artist--one who doesn't just design books. I want to make "Art", you know what I mean. I have a lot to say. I think what I have to say matters. Would be great to work for a design firm or something.

Other dream...to get a saturday night spot DJing in a club.

Other dream...to create a good album of electronic music. Professionally. Would be a mixture of different types of styles. Most of all it would (need to) be fun and at the same emotional. (I think all good music draws on some sort of emotion. "Emotion", to me, isn't just the 'wussy' feelings.

Final dream: to know all that there is to know about the universe, astronomy, and cosmology. You know; parallel universes; intelligent life in the universe; time travel (cause time is relative--which is amazing); our solar system; what its like inside the sun or on the surface. i want to know it all. ....oh, and i guess id like to know, for sure, if there is an afterlife. that would free up a lot of grief.

HOPES:
Definitely that my friends, family, and I stay healthy, safe, and happy. I don't think that that is too much to ask.

FEARS:
Dying young; friends/family dying young; becoming boring; being lonely by the time I'm 40; having some sort of freak accident that changes my life because I can't see, walk, or something like that. Actually, I think this may be my number 1 fear. Or maybe, this is it: waking up one morning and realizing I've accomplished nothing in my life. Wait...this won't happen because it's just a choice I make...but still...it would be terrible. Yeah, so I guess that's not a fear. This is hard. I think I fear that I watch too much TV. Anyone would wants to actually DO SOMETHING FUN after work let me know. I'm sick of TV.

Actually, this is a real fear: that my imagination will dwindle and fade. I'd be hard pressed to try to find something greater than a good imagination.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
This was fun. It forced me to think critically about myself. I guess. I took it as a joke in the beginning. But after a while I found myself taking it seriously. I enjoyed this because I like to ponder about all this nonsense; ask questions (almost to the point of utter annoyance to the person whom I am asking) because even when I am given an 'answer', I have a hard time merely accepting it as fact; and analyze things from more than one angle. Where I am going with this I don't quite know. I'll leave you with a quote I love and which I think is appropriate:

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." --Albert Einstein

All this was nice. Thanks for the interviewing me.

SepNat: Thanks for being our first.


Greg & SepNat Recommend:
Y: The Last Man Brian K. Vaughn & Pia Guerra
The Goon Eric Powell
War & Peace Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
Vampire Weekend (self titled)
MGMT

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