JD Samson on playing Occupy Wall Street and representing for the queer community


AE: I really am enjoying everything that I’ve heard from the new EP. Well you have two EPs coming out now.
JS: Actually, I think we’re dropping the idea of EPs and we’ll just put out the full record instead. We’re really excited about it. Basically, the first CD we put out, we wanted to do a soft release and then we were going to release another one but we held it back because there was a weird moment when we decided we weren’t ready to do it. The songs are a little bit poppier and I’m really excited about them but we really wanted them to fit in to the context of the record. Also, we got really excited about the conceptual sequencing of the record and felt like just putting out the EPs instead of a full-length would leave a little less room for that. So it’s complicated but we decided to put everything out in September.

AE: Sweet! I can’t wait to hear the whole thing. So I mentioned the HuffPo article from a while back when we first started speaking because I really found it enlightening and frightening [Laughs]. As a freelance writer I certainly struggle with some of the same fears as you do — and really anyone who is living as a freelancer — well, a lot of the work I really love is the stuff I’m either doing for free or getting paid very little to do it. Putting it all in a box with the film degree I got and am doing nothing with!
JS: [Laughs] Yeah totally.

AE: But right after you posted, it was right around the time that Google+ was launching and it got me thinking about all this different technology available that would allow for a virtual co-op or swap of lessons in something you’d want to do. And now iTunes and some universities are offering lessons to download for free. I don’t really know how it works but it’s there!
JS: Wow, I didn’t even know about that. But yeah, actually the drummer of our band right now was saying a really good idea for people in our industry who are no longer able to make money with the loss of record sales is to diversify your project. So one of the options is to teach and give lectures at colleges and kind of change your genre a little bit and work in different kinds of venues.

Another thing, like you said, with technology bringing people together, it’s been really nice to talk to other musicians who have hooked me up with ideas. And I’ve been kind of thinking of a feminist management collective. So a bunch of other feminist musicians can help each other to both manage their career, get things done, help out with tasks and that way people will all be working for each other. I’ve had other ideas too of kind of starting a Craigslist for musicians who are needing work. Whether it’s like, “I’m a drummer and I need to find a gig for a week or I need to work at a coffee shop.”

You know it’s true — we need to look to each other as musicians, feminists and queers and see what the family has to offer for us — kind of make it more of a collective and try to work that way for a little bit. But I really think things will fall into place. Things will come together and make sense and we’ll work it out somehow. I think we’ll find a way so that musicians will make money on their songs. I think the Occupy Movement is a really interesting one to talk about this in because, as you said, you’re freelance — I’m freelance. Half of the country is freelance right now. [Laughs] Or there’s a lot of people owning small businesses which is a vulnerable position to be in. You don’t know how much money you’ll make next week or if you’ll be able to pay rent and self-promotion is a really strange thing. One of the important things I need to remember is that we’re all part of that 99%. We need to try to rise up together and take what we deserve.

We’ll bring you more info on the new MEN album as soon as we’ve got it but you can also feel free to follow JD on Facebook, Twitter and of course keep up with MEN.

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