Low - 13 Questions with Alan from DIW magazine, 3/00
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LOW: 13 Questions

from DIW Magazine 2.1, March 2000

They hail from Duluth, MN, and they make a quiet storm so beautiful it's not hard for them to silence a very crowded rock club. When was last time you were near the stage and could actually hear the bartender making drinks? Probably the last time you saw Low. The trio released two fantastic records last year Secret Name and the holiday-themed Christmas, both on Kranky and now they're taking it easy as drummer/vocalist Mimi Parker awaits the birth of her baby with husband and Low vocalist/guitarist Alan Sparhawk. Sparhawk, who answered our 13 questions, gives us this update: "We are finishing up a couple songs we are collaborating on with Spring Heel Jack from the U.K. very different stuff. Perhaps will come out this spring on Tugboat in the U.K. Otherwise, we're just working on new songs."

1. What was the first song you heard that completely floored you, made you shiver, made you want to make music? Like typical young teens, I liked the rock and roll, but seeing my father play drums in a local country bar band was probably the first time I made the connection between "hearing" music and "Hey, it's possible for me to make music."

2. What's the worst piece of advice anyone's ever given you? Go to college.

3. Who is your favorite musical artist of all time? Nick Cave.

4. When you listen to your own records, what other bands do you hear in your songs? Simon and Garfunkel, Big Star, OMD, Young Marble Giants, Velvet Underground.

5. What song have you written and/or performed that youre most embarrassed by? I was in a band called 3D Psycho Paisley in college and Id written a song called "Woman In A Black Veil" that's pretty awful. I think I'm still okay with all the Low stuff.

6. What was the last song you heard that made you want to kick that artist's ass? "I Don't Believe In The Sun" by The Magnetic Fields. Because it's amazing. He needs to quit writing such good songs. It makes the rest of us look bad.

7. What town will you never play in again? Why? Maybe Wichita, Kansas. Played there three or four years ago. All I remember is a guy dressed as "The Crow" playing slap-metal bass and the folks just sat there.

8. What is something you've said that you wish you could take back? I can't think of anything I said, but I regret wearing a cowboy shirt at a recent show in London because now all our reviews say we're "alt-country."

9. What is your oddest musical inspiration? Mark Rothko.

10. How do you feel about the Internet and MP3s and how it's all changing how music is distributed and consumed? Are you excited or do you fear it all? I think it will expand to a certain point and be good for artists in some ways if the majors don't figure out a way to co-opt it. One drawback may be that due to the ease of making and marketing music, the world will be flooded with music mostly made by people who are only doing it because they can, instead of because they really need to. On the other hand, I think people will still value the tactile nature of going to a store and buying a record or CD.

11. Do you believe in God? Do you believe in a higher being? Yes, I have a strong belief in God.

12. If you were on death row, what would your final meal consist of? Something with asparagus and fresh corn bread on the side. Maybe pecan pie for desert.

13. What's your favorite piece of equipment that defines your sound? Other than my voice, I suppose it would be my guitar. I have two Fender Telecasters that are very reliable and that my hands are able to deal with. Ive played through all kinds of amps and pedals but I think Id be most out of place without either of those guitars.


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