Fuzzy, dirty, rollicking guitar riffs that feel like you’re being bludgeoned with a pillowcase full of Pop Rocks and fireworks. Ethereal and airy vocals that perforate the buzzing instruments. Lou Reed sunglasses and some jagged abandon define the mercurial, sonic, who-gives-a-fuck offerings of Colleen Green. With her newest record, Milo Goes to Compton, the barbed songstress juts her fingers across her guitar and offers up some razor sharp, thorny observations about life, love and worship. In an interview with Cinema Spartan, Colleen talks about snacks, recording music, playing live and headbutting the idea of digital music.
Robert Patrick: If you had to choose one song out of your catalog, for a first time listener to hear, which track would it be and why?
Colleen Green: Probably “Mike”. I really like the way it came out and I think it’s a song with wide appeal.
In an era that is so dominated by mp3 singles, digital playlists and instant gratification by way of electronics, do you think that people have been desensitized to the practice of sitting down and listening to full albums as they were intended to be listened to?
Yes, definitely. Kids today, man. But like, I don’t think it really means anything. That’s just how it is. In my day it was CDs; in my parents’ day it was 8-tracks and vinyl records. Everyone who came before thinks the shit that came after is shit. But vinyl and “real albums” are still available to those who are genuinely interested. If a person really likes music then they’ll likely want to discover those media no matter how many internets there are. Personally I can not listen to music on a computer. I don’t want to and I will not. That’s just my prerogative.
The mediums of music and film often bleed into one another. Have you ever thought of scoring a film, and if so, what sort of movie would it be?
Yes I have! In fact, when I was younger I really wanted to become a Music Supervisor for films. But I went to music school instead of film school! Woops! I do pay attention to scores though…a favorite of mine is “Teen Wolf”. But I think working on any type of film would be super fun and an exciting challenge.
Do you think that Pitchfork Media is the new Rolling Stone magazine to today’s music listeners? Is the website an asset to artists and readers or does it have the opposite effect?
Hmm, I don’t really think about Pitchfork or Rolling Stone that much. I used to have an accidental subscription to RS, like a long time ago, but I mostly used the pages to cover every surface of my home. They both exist and serve as, at least, a means for people to find out about new/different musics, so I suppose that is good.
If Milo Goes to Compton was a movie, what would be its tagline?
“Plenty of teen appeal!”
You not only write, produce and play your own music, but you also book your own shows. Do you think that micromanagement and a lack of co-dependence is the key to longevity in today’s current music climate?
Nope! I have no idea what the key to longevity is. I kind of just try to roll with the punches, know what I mean? The only reason I do everything myself is because I’m a control freak and don’t trust ANYONE. “If I wanna do something right, I gotta do it myself or someone else will fuck it up.” – Screeching Weasel
It was leaked (on your own Twitter) that you’re recording an album with Danny Rowland of Seapony. How did this come about, and what can we expect of the LP?
Well basically Ruben (Mendez, of Hardly Art records) wants the recordings I make for my first Hardly Art LP to sound really good. He told me that Danny was a recording whiz and had better equipment than I (doesn’t everyone?), and was willing to help me record and mix. So I’m staying with Ruben and his wife Lacey and we’re recording in the basement. It’s going really well so far and it serves as a motivator to me because like, that guy comes to the house regularly and is expecting to record shit. So I kinda have to. Also, Ruben has a sound library right on his own iPhone. Get ready for a lot of sound effects of 1 person crying, 2 people crying, 1 person crying while a child laughs, etc.
Two hours before her show, you can find Colleen Green ….?
Probs watching TV and eating snacks if I’m lucky! That’s a long time to go until the show starts.
Two hours after her show, you can find Colleen Green …..
Hopefully watching TV and eating snacks! Or more likely, asleep the fuck.
You’ve been quoted as saying that you don’t pay attention to modern music. Is this due to time constraints, lack of interest, or does the aversion stem from your affinity for older artists?
That’s not true! I don’t pay attention to ANY music (don’t quote me on that). No but I just want to set the record straight and let it be known that I don’t just shun modern music in favor of old shit, or anything like that. I just am a lazy fuck. I listen to music, for sure. But oftentimes I would rather just sit and stare at the wall and think about stuff than listen to anything.
Do you think the recent reemergence of vinyl will be sustained over years, or do you think, despite Record Day and the many artists pushing for the movement, that mp3s will push vinyl entirely out of the market in the future?
Who knows?! The “future” is SOOOO VAST! Who the fuck knows what could happen. I certainly am not equipped to make any such predictions. Recall the lament of Cassandra in “Wayne’s World 2”: Bobby told her her album would never come out on vinyl. And now look at her.
What song of yours, when played live, gives you the strongest emotional reaction?
I typically am about 100 times too nervous to have any sort of emotional reaction on stage other than embarassment. Playing covers gets me emotional sometimes but not on stage. I have to be stone-faced or else I would crumble. However, I am supposed to play a few songs at my friend Danielle’s wedding in August. She’s one of the two soul mates I have in this world and although I am super excited and elated that she asked me to sing, I sincerely dunno if I’m gonna be able to do it. Even thinking about playing a song like “End of Time” to her and her husband in that setting causes me to weep.
And finally, you’ve played in San Diego many times. What’s the best place to eat in the city?
I’ve only eaten at a few places in SD, and I don’t remember any of the names except that “MXN” place, which I think has a funny name. I’d probably have to eat at all of the places, and take note of their names, before I could tell you which one was best. Sorry.