Interview with Eric Kuhn


Paperbag: Do you ever imagine lyrics for your compositions or movie scenes they could inspire? I know I do, but this interview is not about me.

Eric Kuhn: Lyrics are very hard for me to think of, for some reason, BUT, I always imagine scenes and stories and characters. When I’m creating and when I’m experiencing most art, regardless of the medium. A certain keyboard sound is a character or a series of events or a camera angle or a way to use punctuation or an accent and vice versa and back and forth forever. Music is just one way to translate all these things. And everything is about everyone! What lyrics and movie scenes do they inspire for you? (You don’t have to respond…)
One more thing on this– I’ve been continually pleasantly surprised when filmmakers and video artists use my songs in their work. The things they see in them and the ways they can be re-contextualized are fascinating, and I love making music that can live multiple lives in that way.

PB: When I listen to “Today I Am Not Remembering Anything,” I keep singing the title, and I see a lone figure in a bear costume walking. “Paths,” I think, is about an ex-double-agent who has decided to renounce the world, but before that he wants to burry his enormous salary and his GPS chip on the bottom of the sea. There are lots of bubbles as he goes up, back to the surface…
How about this – what is your relationship to process?

EK: I find process to be a very challenging thing to navigate. Particularly picking an end point to a process. I have a love for works in progress, or things left unfinished, in art and in all things really. So, I tend to create best and most easily when I’m fully but aimlessly inspired, and I prefer to leave things intentionally unfinished, or in a state where I feel like they give the person interacting with it room to imagine and dream beyond what is pinned down. I like the story to be able to continue. I also enjoy working with mistakes and surprises, in tandem with careful advance planning and relentless editing.

PB: What are some of your most recent influences, direct or otherwise?

EK: Everything about Prince, the exquisite craft of Truman Capote, the enigmatic nonchalance of Kate Moss, the fierce but methodical force of B. Hamilton, sleeplessness associated with chronic breathing troubles, the radical feminist politics of Adrienne Skye Roberts, the devastating talent and fearlessness of Allen Iverson, Coffee, running, Grunge Rock, the discipline and timing of Charlie Chaplin, the unconditional love of my parents and friends.

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