Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Featured Artist Interview: Byron J Love

 Byron does everything. To be honest when we set the time for 6p to meet I was expecting him not to show up until 7:30p as the general idea I have of Byron is that he's probably working on something. (For the record he was on time.) His goal in life seems to be to produce things that make people laugh, make them think, and to tell stories that matter.


A: A lot of people know of you from your contributions to the projects you've worked on. Do you think that getting out there is something that came to you naturally?
B: I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma where I was going to know all of these same people until I fucking died, and then I moved to Wichita when I was 14. It's summer and I have no friends. I'd hang out at the house and play video games, listen to that new Prodigy album - yeah, that's how old I am - I didn't know anyone or have a way to get to places. I didn't have to introduce myself to anyone until I moved to Wichita because clearly no one at North High knew who I was. So I had to, you know, figure out how to say my name. Most of the time I meet people I'm pretty nervous because there's a part of me that's still that kid. It wasn't like 'Oh that's Zeke's kid', I had to actually tell people who I was and it was the first time I ever felt anxiety because I was just this giant kid like - 'oh man, what if I squish 'em?!' - or something. So I had to find ways to incorporate myself into different things just to make friends. I met this guy who was a skateboarder - I inline skated - so I was like, 'hey man, what if we take pictures of us rollin' around and then you could show your friends because I don't have those.' So I just keep reapplying that same idea it to different stuff.

A:I keep seeing this video project on your facebook, Fock's News?  What is that project and how did it get started?
B: Byron J Fock of Fock's News  - Essentially it's how to out Fox, Fox News. So Wynn Ponder (ninja edit: Wynn Ponder not Ian Blume is associated with Fock's News) and I joked when Antonin Scalia died that Obama did it, and then the next week Fox News was like 'we're doing the autopsy and it looks suspicious, might've been a hit'. We were like shit, we've figured out Fox News! We went so crazy, we figured out how to think like Fox News! It's not that we're against republicans or conservatives, but there's this very finite group that instead of listening to actual facts, will listen to anything. 
What we wanted to do was throw these kinds of people a curve ball where it's a black dude saying the kind of shit that Bill O'Reilly would. So if you're in on the joke you appreciate for the tongue and cheek aspect of it.

A: It seems like you get yourself into a lot other people's projects. What are you doing for yourself?
B:There's a little piece of me of everything I do. Really - for myself though I do a lot of weird music just at the house. With the internet happening and being able to record stuff at home I've been doing projects like that where it's just me. I do have this multimedia band thing I want to do, later, like 10 years from now. It's like the Gorillaz but Not The Gorillaz. Which means I have to figure out how to assemble it so it'll go on the road. With this super project I've got this plan that it's not like a band, but is a whole elaborate theatrical show. I think one of the best things about Wichita is that it's great for testing things. I want to figure out how to pull off the super project and then shove it all in a car and take it other places. 
To me, a band being able to read and respond is what makes them successful. I figure if I can set up a chance for someone to have a seizure it'll probably be a good time - enough motion and color maybe - So if I can figure that out in this age when you can see a band play and it's only so interesting, or you can go to a dance party and maybe it's only so interesting, and so that then combining the two would be the best, most interesting thing. And Wichita is great for doing that sort of stuff.
Though I already do it - sorta - with my live show. I play all these songs and put them into this story arc. It starts on New Years Eve where this guy is getting totally dumped in his apartment, so I play the break up song and then this guy is like 'dude we should go to this party' so I play the New Years song. So then I keep going in the relationship and arrange the songs depending on how I feel about it. Equal Parts is the sad song, it's like his nightmare of what will happen if he doesn't go get her. Arranging everything that way is a lot like how a movie is written.


A:You don't play a lot of your solo stuff much anymore, right?
B:That whole part is done. I finished the song Architects back in November. I get bored so I'd change the story to give me a chance to interact with audience. I'll have them give me names of a guy and girl and then play out this story musically. At the end though, there's always the ambiguous question 'did she leave you honey? Maybe you shoulda tried harder.' I thought I could do this in a bigger arena. That's the future project, and pulling in visual stuff.
Part of the reason I don't do a lot of shows anymore is because I found out so much other stuff that I'm in to. I'm an observer type so I watch a lot of people doing the things that they're good at and I think, okay I wanna do something like that. You have people who're just in their niche and they just know all the little facets of their one thing. If you're a media lit scholar you know everything about Chaucer, but like the way I like to get into things is I like to see how it's done. So if I wanted to learn about Chaucer I'd just read everything that guy had to say. My theory is that the way I learn things comes from how I learned guitar - I like this song so I look up the tabs and then I can play it right? So now I do that with everything else. I wanted to know how to write screen plays so I downloaded a bunch of screen plays and read them to figure out what and why they were doing certain things, and reading them made me realize what made sense where.

A: What is it that drives you to do all these projects?
B: I do it all for the ladies! I want to have an impressive resume and not a lot of time to hang out with them! It's not really working. I am currently single and thanks to a research study last year I am now on Plenty of Fish, OkCupid and Tinder. I also can't do all of this when I'm dead. I have, I guess, a fear of my own mortality. Which I didn't really know about when I was 17, it was like "oh you're gonna die, no big deal," but at some point it dawned on me. So I figured at least while I'm here I should do something.  It helps that I don't have the capacity for regret and I get that everything is always in flux and I can only make so many decisions. It also gives me something to do and a way to slip into things that I wouldn't naturally be doing. I get to meet people and get to know the town. It makes me feel like I'm doing something. I have to make myself get out and do things. If I just sat at home I'd be entertained for a bit, but after awhile it'd just be...sad. I do love my alone time probably because I'm so busy, but if I wasn't I'd just be at home. Humanity is weird and human existence is a lot for us to really think about. How we have to figure out ways we matter but also don't matter. Really though, whether or not we affect the universe, we do effect each other. It's something I always keep in my head. If you piss someone off it's likely you're going to see them or even some one like them again, so I try to be nice to people.

You can follow Byron on Facebook to stay up to date with him on his latest projects and other hilarity or stop by KMUW in OldTown with your pledge and a hello!



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