A Fond Farewell to Her Space Holiday, Part Two: An Interview
Yesterday I posted part one of this special, bittersweet interview with Her Space Holiday’s Marc Bianchi. Here is the second and final part of that interview. Let’s hope that history gives Bianchi’s fine project the credit it deserves.
ELM: Are you going to be touring for the new record?
MB: Yeah, we’re gonna do a couple dates, just because it’d be fun and I’d like to do it. Just like a West Coast thing and maybe New York and Texas. But I’m going back to Japan in November. The last tour was with a full band, for this tour, since I’m releasing it myself, I can do whatever I want. I don’t think I’m even going to play stuff from the new record, well, maybe one or two songs. But it’s mostly just going to be stuff from The Young Machines and Manic Expressive and Home Is Where You Hang Yourself. It’ll just be me at the computer triggering stuff and then the drummer doing electronic drums. It’s going to be more of an electronic set just to play the songs that I really like playing one last time.
ELM: Sounds fun.
MB: Should be. If there’s no technical problems. It’s always freaky to go out there when so much of the sound is computer generated. We’ll sure. It’ll be ok.
ELM: Are you SURE you’re not going to come to Wisconsin? It’s nice this time of year!
MB: *laughs* Maybe. The thing is, it’s so expensive to tour. Well, this time maybe with two people in a small car, it’ll be cheaper. For where we’re at, not many people come to the shows. Our biggest show is maybe 15O people. That doesn’t matter; I love playing front of any people, if 2O people come to the shows, I’m super-stoked. But if there’s a way around it, we’ll definitely come to Wisconsin.
ELM: *laughs* I hope you do.
MB: I’d love to play as many places as we can if we can swing it. Maybe if we can keep it more affordable we can do it.
ELM: This is sort of a random question, but I’ve noticed across the albums that you talk a lot about mental illness, and I wondered if you were just capitvated by that as a metaphor or if you were referencing it for other reasons.
MB: It definitely wasn’t a metaphor. It’s really strange if I listen to the older stuff. I was still in my mid-to-late twenties; I should have been more evolved than to talk about some of this stuff. In the beginning of Her Space Holiday, I had a lot of depression and anxiety. There’s a few things, just growing up as kids and then losing people as I got older. It was teen agnst that probably carried in the mid-twenties. I don’t know if you’ve been well-adjusted your entire life, but I know a lot of people have felt this way. You feel like circumstances beyond your control are happening, but in reality, you’re driving that ship, in a lot of ways. Things that I thought were depression (and I’m still a weirdo), were just based on complete narcissim, drinking a lot, smoking a lot doing drugs. If you’re not taking care of yourself physically–I don’t do Pilates or anything like that, wish I did–I’m not a bastion of health, but I stopped smoking cigarettes, which I did all the time, and drinking, and doing drugs. That really lifted the cloud a lot. Those things were embarrassingly autobiographical to an extent. But I think it was self-inflicted, if that makes sense.
ELM: That makes sense. And it’s good to hear you’ve come through it to the other side.
MB: It’s really hard, –and I don’t know if this is on or off the record, whatever you think best–while I was pining away for some sort of salvation. Because I think that’s what we all do. Whether we’re looking for money or we’re violent, even, because I think we’re looking for relief. That’s what we all do. Some people are into religion. When I was doing stuff and having random people come in and out of my life and touring, I hated it and was sick all the time. But it fills that hole, so you’re not just left with yourself. It’s terrible excitement, but it’s excitement. And that was all wrapped in the music, that whole experience, that whole drive. Once you reach that place, I don’t know if it’s a plateau, but you come to some sort of understanding because you can’t live like that. I can’t keep writing songs, like with this last record, about coming to terms with things. You can only do that so much. I love this project, and for some of the most embarrassing things that I’ve said, I’m so glad I did it. But there can’t be a chapter beyond this record. I can’t write about composting, you know what I mean? The value of giving to PBS? You know what I mean? There’s no place for that in this project.
ELM: Do you make music every day?
MB: Yeah, I do. There’s a lot of projects I do to kind of help make ends meet. There’s remixes, and there’s a publishing company in Poland that I write for some of their artists. Or I’ll do the occasional work on the independent film, and if I have friends at ad agencies, if they have a cool project, they’ll let me do some scoring for commericals or something. I always thought, that’s the stuff I do on the side,and Her Space Holiday is my main project. But I looked up, and for the past four years, I’ve only been working on Her Space Holiday half the time. I’d say it’s been about fifty-fifty between people who are saying ‘I’m sorry to see Her Space Holiday go’ and ‘I didn’t know Her Space Holiday was still around.’ That puts a lot of things in perspective. This transition has already been happening. I’m just seeing it now.
ELM: Do you do other creative projects, like visual arts or writing?
MB: The main thing that I always wanted to do, and I have all these collections of short stories. I wanted to write fiction, not on a professional level, but I do love writing. I think I fell into music because it’s a safer way to write. A lot of the songs on the past couple records are getting more fiction-oriented, more story. But they’re just outlines of what a story could be. I’m definitely getting more into with writing fiction and short stories. And my girlfriend, she’s a filmmaker, so that’s really interesting. When I started doing this, especially with Home Is Where You Hang Yourself, that was the first record a bigger label worked with, and I got a publishing deal, I’m really seeing the value of not doing something on a ‘professional’ level. Do you do any writing outside of your music journalism?
ELM: Oh, sure, I went to grad school for poetry, so that’s my main thing.
MB: When you were in school, did they automatically kind of push the professional side of things, or are you strictly able to concentrate on the creative aspects, the purity of it?
ELM: It’s something in-between. Now, when I write, I’m at the point where whatever I write, I’m like, ‘where can I publish this?’ And there’s definitely that, and I don’t feel like my motives are as pure as they used to be, if that makes sense.
MB. Right. Absolutely. That’s what scares me a little bit. One thing for me is as I work in this transition, I think if people can work in this new model of the music industry–because it is a very different world than it was five years ago. I just think that something clicked in me when I started thinking, ‘well, what am I going to do after music?’ And I thought, well, maybe I can do some writing, and immediately something clicked in my head where I was like, ‘where can I go to get this published?’ And that’s so dangerous. I want to make sure I don’t go into something new with that in mind. I don’t care what I do in my life anymore as long as I’m happy. I don’t care if it’s just working in a community, working in a bookstore, I just want to be happy and contribute some way to the world around me. I just want to be at peace. That’s all we need.
ELM: Speaking of writing, do you have any favorite writers?
MB: Well, of course I like Murakami. That’s kind of stereotypical. But I like Denis Johnson a lot. I like Dave Eggers. I think in a lot of ways I gravitate towards older writers. I’m not a tremendous reader, but we have a lot of books in the house, so I tend to read four or five pages at a time. How about you? Who are some of your favorite writers?
ELM: Well, I read mostly poetry and short stories. I really like Lorrie Moore’s short stories, and Jorie Graham is probably my favorite poet.
MB: Do you find that your tastes change over the years?
ELM: That’s a good question. I would say that my tastes remain the same, but what I get out of writers is different. Like, when I was a teenager and I would read Plath, I would get the drama out of it, and now when I read her, I think, ‘wow, she has a really great sense of humor’ or her sense of rhythm is amazing. And I’m able to take those things away from it instead of focusing on the more so-called confessional aspects.
MB: That’s interesting. You definitely live in the world you think you live in. We all experience art or music depending on where we’re at. It scared me–not in a misogynist way or whatever–when I was reading Raymond Carver a year ago, I thought, ‘I’m identifying with this way too much.’ I don’t want to be this bummed out guy. Books are such an amazing thing to have in your hand, such a part of the human experience. If people are still reading and it’s in a digital format, I guess it’s better for the environment, but it is kind of sad, some of the things that are disappearing.
ELM: If you could raise awareness of any social cause, what would it be?
MB: Wow. I’m trying to think. Sometimes, I’m going to preface this here and then I’m going to pick one. Sometimes when you get to a certain point in your life, you wonder if you’re spending too much time on your own needs, especially in the creative world. Twitter and all that seems ridiculous comparatively to all that’s going on in the world. When you take a stand, I wonder if you have to pick one thing or you’ll just go crazy with all the things that need to be fixed in the world. Can I make one up? Or do I have to pick one?
ELM: You can make one up. Or you can say you don’t have one.
MB: I think. Besides peak oil, education for kids, neutering your pets, all of that rolled into one? I think that what need to be done on a spiritual level, a commerce level, a survival level, I think that everything needs to be more localized. Whether you zone it off at five blocks or ten blocks or whatever, everybody needs to know the people around them and where they fit in that structure. We are on such a dangerous, terrifying path because we’re just trying to keep the old methods in line and they are not working. They weren’t working before. Whether it’s sustainability in growing food or people helping take care of children, there’s no reason why everybody can’t have–maybe I sound socialist in this–there’s no reason everybdoy shouldn’t be accounted for, especially in this country. So I think just looking at everything in a much more local area and finding out what the situation is outside your front door. When each of those things change, then I think, collectively, we’ll live in a much better place.
I encourage leaving comments here or on HSH’s Facebook to let Marc know how much we’ve appreciated the music over the years.