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Art Decade

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Ben Talmi of Art Decade from 2014

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

I've been making records and touring since I was 14. There was never any question for me as to what I was put on this planet for. I can remember always having this unending desire for musical greatness. I work every day to improve. The band has been really an ongoing documentation of my life since I started putting out records. So much like life itself, the band has seen many changes. I love where we are at now, though. I have the utmost respect for the musicians I get to work with and I feel very musically free when I play with the group. It's not always been like that.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
I would be trying to get involved in music; there is no other option for me.
MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
Inspired by David Bowie.
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Jon Brion, Elliot Smith, Radiohead, Erik Satie, Wes Anderson, Akira Kurasawa, Ingmar Bergman. My parents' passion for the arts has been everything to me, though.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
The pursuit of the perfect song.
MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
The harmony of romantic composers with the scenery of the impressionists.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
The Boston Symphony Orchestra.
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
The most difficult thing today is to be heard at all; so, regardless of the process, if anyone hears your music in any way, you have broken through the thick sauce that is the marinara on top of the spaghetti that is the overwhelming amount of music put out today.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
I'll never understand anyone's complaint about someone else wanting to share the art they made. The only downside I see is the quality. If someone puts a low quality phone recording of a live song on YouTube and it influences someone's opinion before the recording comes out, that could be unfair.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
My arch nemesis would be the music business man. His costume would be a never ending burning cigar, a horrible pin stripe suite and a sh***y bottle of scotch. His catch phrase would be "I'm gonna make you a star, kid!!" I hate that side of the whole music experience.
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Art Decade, that would be incredible.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Art Decade, could you imagine?
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
A lot of Neil Young lately. I always go back to Jon Brion film scores, though. Eternal Sunshine is perfection.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Jerry Seinfeld's SeinLanguage. Don't read it in public, people will think you are insane as you cackle to yourself.
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
NYC Philharmonic doing "An American In Paris.” They played it like a NYC orchestra would, you know? Perfect but they really knew how to milk it.
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure”?
Only musical "pleasure.” Unless it harms someone else, pleasure should never be dressed by guilt.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Sometimes it feels like every day is a Spinal Tap moment.
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Mom, Dad, Brother.
MSJ: What would be on the menu?

Fresh baguette, and a nice fish for my dad; he likes extra lemon.

MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
I will never give up.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at
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