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Progressive Rock Interviews

Deep 6 Holiday

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Tyler Azelton of Deep 6 Holiday From 2008


This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at

Where are you from? How does living there affect your songwriting?

From my mother’s womb I hope.  Said womb is a Los Angeles native. 


While I don’t still reside in her womb, I do live in Los Angeles.  I think that the energy and chaos and challenges of living in a crowded, bustling urban environment contribute a comparable sense of urgency to the writing process.  Other than that, my writing stems from a very intimate, internal place.  I feel I could write the same songs were I living in a cave in the Nepali mountains.


Who is in your ultimate super group?

Jesus, Shakyamuni Buddha, and Bill Clinton.  We’d have a lot to talk about, I think, and I bet the Buddha would be one hell of an improviser.


What's the greatest thing that's ever been said about your music?

Someone once said they draw as much inspiration from me as they do from Coltrane.  I still find that gorgeously absurd, and deeply humbling.  He might as well have said:  “You know who you remind me of?  God.”


What are your main musical influences?

Anything and everything that dares to be unapologetically beautiful.  Radiohead and Stravinsky and Elliott Smith come to mind.  I love composers who are not afraid of using dissonance to show what is beautiful.  I mean, what the hell is the point of music if it doesn’t appeal to the complexities of human emotion?


What's your favorite iPod track this week?

I only listen to my iPod when I’m on the treadmill at the gym, wishing I didn’t have such a fondness for odd time and changing tempos.  And, sadly, I haven’t been to the gym in a long time.  (So in other words, I haven’t been listening to Kneebody that much lately.)


What's the last album you bought that you're enjoying?

I keep listening to Elliott Smith’s double-CD, “New Moon,” over and over.  It still amazes me that after listening to about 24 tracks, I can’t wait to listen to it all over again.

MSJ: Have you seen any great live shows lately? 

Kaki King came to the Troubadour last week and she just about blew my eardrums and eyeballs right out of my skull.  It’s good to know that I have a plan B in case things don’t work out with my husband.

MSJ: What is your guilty pleasure band?

Oh dear, I can’t believe I’m going to answer this honestly.  We all have a fondness for Rage Against the Machine.  And old-school Sabbath of course.  Also, I attribute any and all lyric-writing abilities of mine directly to Eminem.


What was the first album you ever bought?

The first album I ever bought (in tape form, though I shouldn’t date myself) was “Faith” by George Michael.  I remember feeling smug and naughty because there was a song that had the word “sex” in the title.  Then again, I had a very palpable fear of burning in hell at that period in my life.


What about the first concert you ever attended?

I dragged my poor adolescent brother to endure the endless hip gyrations of Tori Amos in Santa Barbara.  He may not have enjoyed the music, but I’m sure he got an eyeful for a 13-year-old.


If you could create your own fantasy music festival, who would the top six headliners be?

Elliott Smith (R.I.P.), Radiohead, Bill Evans (R.I.P. as well), O.N.A., (my Polish metal obsession) Stravinsky and his orchestra, and Beth Hart, simply because she puts on one hell of a show.  My ideal venue location would be the highest hill of Prague.


If you could craft an all-star band, who would play in it?

I wouldn’t mind Jaco Pastorius subbing for John Graves (my current bassist.  Sorry, John….)  I’d also love to play with drummer Matt Chamberlain, guitarist Buckethead, and, well, I’d just about die if Bjork, Ella Fitzgerald, and Inara George sang back up.  I don’t know how, but I’d also try to somehow procure a large church organ just to have Messiaen make a guest appearance.


What are your favorite movies?

The Big Lebowski and Office Space without a doubt.  All about Eve and You Can’t Take It With You are also up there.  And either Poltergeist or The Omen.  I totally dig movies about demonic children - so satisfying.

My most recent favorite, however, is No Country for Old Men - beautifully shot, directed, and a very generous dose of violence.  It has it all.


Have you read any great books lately?

McCuller’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter moved me recently.  And Nabokov’s Lolita is one I recently re-read (again.)


Have you ever been inspired by an author or a book to write a song, if so, which one?

I think I am somehow psychically linked to Dostoyevsky’s character, Raskolnikov, in Crime and Punishment.  The song “It’s Not Me,” which deals with the topics of guilt and self-deception, stems from this connection.  But I also derive a lot of inspiration from the critical mind and subtle optimism of Joan Didion.


Do you write books, short stories, poems or a blog?

Just the word “blog” makes me want to bolt for the toilet.  I am a pen and paper loyalist.  Journaling was the only thing that kept me alive in my teens and early 20’s.  That being said, I have set up a MIIWE on my myspace page.  Check it out for clarification.  As far as short-stories go, I’ve been writing them since I was old enough to effectively grab a Crayola.  I have a poem or two in storage somewhere as well.


If you were a superhero what famous musician would be your arch-nemesis and why?

My superhero name would be Special Instructions Girl.  (This is only funny if you are a relatively neurotic white girl born and raised in L.A.)  My nemesis would be, without a doubt, Paris Hilton.  She made an album.  Enough said.


Have you ever illegally downloaded music?

I can very proudly say I haven’t, but only because I’m too much of a technophobe to figure out how to do it.


The major labels make illegal downloading out to be the death of music sales.  Would you agree?

I don’t know.  People have illegally downloaded my stuff, and as far as I know, I’m still here, alive and kicking.  It’s a difficult question.  I want as many people as possible to hear my music, you know what I mean? 


In a related question, what do you think of fans recording live shows and trading them? 

I am the most camera-shy person I know, but you know kids these days. You can’t tell them to do anything.


What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment? 

Jesus.  Every time you put a microphone in front of me, you’re asking for trouble.


Do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to share? 

Listen to my music if you’re curious about me.  My music is way more interesting than my words alone.

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