interview - jib kidder
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Photo by Sylas Schuster-Craig
Ever since I first heard "New Crimes" (which remains one of my favorite songs to this day), I've been a huge Jib Kidder fan. Little did I know he's also the literal coolest dude of all time.
The Mood 51: So “True Unfollowing” is quite the song and music video; what is the meaning behind all that? Bye bye dudes!
Jib Kidder: My sister in law, Esther, made the video when we were on vacation with her family. She wanted something to do, she made those nice yellow outfits. I had been watching a lot of Mozambique music videos, if I gave her light input it would have been inspired by that. I like to think about my work as prismatic. I believe it to contain essential truths and that its interpretation is somebody else's job. Someday maybe there will be such a somebody; until then I still get psychic understanding from a few fans, which is probably more meaningful anyways.
M51: What are some of your favorite samples you’ve used over the years/favorite ways you’ve used them?
JK: The sampling I do is pretty risky business. It's better if I don't tell on myself. The samples I have used the most, I have developed the most interesting ways of dealing with. Of course, those are also then the samples that are especially dangerous to draw attention to.
M51: There was a full Jib Kidder band at a certain point (not sure if that’s still a thing). Is that still a thing or what happened to that?
JK: There have been several live band iterations, but it never has been a natural thing, unfortunately. In that video it's Zach of OSR/Blanche Blanche Blanche and Christina who does a project called Locate S,1 with her bf of Montreal now, who were a couple at the time and were kind enough to learn my songs for a short European tour with Panda Bear, and Jaytram, who, I think, has finished up a very long run as the drummer for Sinkane. I would have loved to do more work in NYC with Jay and Levon Henry, and while I'm thinking of New York, I would have loved to do some kind of band with Zannie Owens (Potted Plant) or to have formed an improv group with my friend Philip Gayle. The closest I came to a proper band was a couple of years ago when I lived with my good friend Ben Lawless. We were headed towards becoming a very tight and psychic duo when he took his own life. M51: Tell me more about your upcoming album.
JK: Jump the Gun" is the integration point, it's where all the pieces fit. It's also probably the last one or the last big one. It's time to adapt to a new reality.
M51: “New Crimes” is definitely my favorite Jib Kidder song. What’s the meaning/story behind that song and video?
JK: It's a love song and I wanted it to have the ceaselessness of rap. I am fan of true crime television so I made a poem from that television. It's meaning is a small divination. It's purpose is a peak into the future. It's been some time now, perhaps that future is in the past. You never know for sure.
Photo by Sylas Schuster-Craig
M51: You definitely have a gift for melody. Do the melodies just pop into your head first, or is it lyrics then melodies, or it just depends? In other words what’s your songwriting process typically like?
JK: I would say thank you but I think it's something or someone else who deserves the thanks! The melodies are beamed in from outer space, it's magic and it requires no thinking, I wouldn't even know how to think them. The lyrics are a more complex and slow process of collection, rearrangement and substitution. Instead of a smartphone, I carry in my pocket tiny notebooks. I write in them phrases that are themselves beamed from outer space, or that I hear other people say or encounter in my reading, things that pop out or float on their own to me. Do you know the DAILY JUMBLE like in the newspaper? There is one way to do it, exactly one way. No thinking, zero thoughts. You start thinking about it and each thought is a door slamming shut. That's why my songs never have bridges, bridges are some thunk bullshit.
"The melodies are beamed in from outer space, it's magic and it requires no thinking, I wouldn't even know how to think them."
M51: Being from Michigan, have you found that stifling, or do you like Michigan?
JK: I'll always think of myself as being from Georgia. I'm glad to not live in Manhattan anymore. I'm glad to not be in San Francisco or New York anymore. I wish I had never left Atlanta. But in the coming Armageddon, Michigan is going to be well situated.
M51: I love your album art for Sums, is that your original artwork and why so much Grover (that’s Grover right?). What software did you use for that? It really reminds me of Kidpix and other nostalgic art making computer programs. JK: Thank you! That may or may not be Grover. I used Photoshop, a children's book and a piece of wax paper to make that. If you spend a year making a record that only 20 people are going to listen to, it's important not to spend too much time on the cover art.
M51: What are the things that inspire you the most in this world—not necessarily other artists but just things?
JK: Dreams, childbirth, physical and mental disease, birdsong, frogsong, what water does, what wind is like.
M51: Of all your albums what’s your personal favorite?
JK: They all disappoint me. While I make them, I'm passionately in love. Then they leave me and it's just nothing but disappointment. I guess if it was any different I could stop doing it.
M51: What’s it like juggling being a musician and a husband/father?
JK: I drop both balls.
M51: On March 25 you posted this poem on Instagram: I am transposed/I am not a good musician/I am not a bad musician/I am not a musician at all/I am a visual artist/my medium is music/this is not a metaphor/I see music/I know it’s good/when it looks good/I don’t hear paintings/but I am a painter/I am a very bad painter/that is why I don’t paint/if I could hear paintings/I could become a good painter. Explain!
JK: I'm a woman inside a man. A meowing dog. A synesthete. A lucid dreamer. I'm cross-wired all the way down. I write poems with notes. I make paintings from rap music. I doodle with cellos. See, I can keep going on like this but I'm not any good at explaining it. In short, I'm wrong.
"In short, I'm wrong."
M51: Who are your fav lyricists and poets?
JK: Kim Deal writes good lyrics! Kurt Cobain and Kevin Coyne come to mind... god, I'm realizing how bad lyrics are now! The first two REM albums, sometimes the Meat Puppets. Mike Watt, Andre 3K, Dre Dog & E-40 all have a way with words... Gertrude Stein, Tristan Tzara...
M51: What have you been listening to lately?
JK: Debussy. M51: Have you ever had a paranormal or unexplained experience?
JK: I've communicated with life forms I can't even begin to understand, read minds and seen the future, if that counts. M51: Top 10 favorite books?
JK: I wouldn't know how to rank books. I'm reading Nell Zink's "Private Novelist" right now. I have Robert Walser's "Microscripts", Musil's "The Man Without Qualities", Tony Conrad "Writings", Joseph Jarman's "Black Case" sitting on the table right now. If the pandemic ever ends I'll read them all. I read Quincy Jones's, Miles's & Richard Pryor's bios all back to back last year - that was interesting to see the same chunk of American history through those three very different temperaments. I would recommend "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" or "New Dark Age" to anyone looking for something to read. I like to read a lot of middlebrow nonfiction from the library, stuff that's just like long magazine articles, plain english, non-genius authors, like I read "Fentanyl, Inc", "Mindfucked" and "The Strange Order of Things" recently...