Jen Korte and Hollagramz Extended Interview

If you couldn’t get enough of Jen Korte and Ron Cole aka Hollagramz’ interview from this month’s Music Issue, here’s what didn’t make it to print. And, you’re gonna want to read it to it’s lovely, hilarious end. See Jen Korte & The Loss live this Saturday, May 15th at City Hall.

RC: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
JK: No, I don’t. I like to be there really early, that’s it. I get really nervous.
RC: Do you have a few beers?
JK: I can’t drink and play. I just think that’d be goofy. So, I like to be there early. I might have a whiskey, just one though…Th’s it. Do you have pre-show rituals?
RC: Yeah, I’ll usually drink a few beers. Yeah, ’cause I kinda need to get really into it and it’s hard for me not to get into it unless I’m a little buzzed.
JK: Right, that’s cool.

RC: Best song to listen to on a road trip?
JK: I like to listen to Hot Chip on the road.
RC: Nice.
JK: I love those boys, man, they’re cool. Have you seen them live?
RC: Not live. No, I hear they’re awesome live.
JK:  They are awesome. The first time I saw them they were opening for Stereolab and the crowd was like, “I don’t know who these guys are…” They came out real nerdy, coke-bottle glasses and it was bumping by the end of it. I love them. I would say Hot Chip, a little bit of Zeppelin. When it’s raining, I like to listen to Explosions in the Sky.
RC: Nice. Very epic.
JK: Yes, for a long drive in the middle of the country with nothing. I don’t know. What about you? Your road trip to Texas [SXSW]…
RC: We didn’t even have a stereo in my car. Like my speakers were blown, we’d be driving in the middle of the night listening to Coast to Coast AM.
JK: No boom box?
RC: No, but usually, on other road trips, we have a stereo. But, one album I really love to listen to on the road is Modest Mouse, This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Talk About.
JK: That’s a great album.
RC: Especially on the road, ’cause the title and everything. It just works.
JK: When I first heard that album, I was staying with this dude. I had gotten in this car wreck, broke some of my ribs and couldn’t go up to my apartment. So, my buddy was like, “You can stay on my couch.” So, I slept on his couch for like three weeks. All I listened to was that album, on vinyl. I had no idea who they were. This was in 2000, way before. It’s really nostalgic.

RC: What’s next for you?
JK: I don’t know and I’m okay with that. I’m in a very transitional place in my life, both personally and musically. So, I’m kind of just open to it. I might go to Texas for a little while and just get some sun. Get some sun. I don’t get sun here, I”m busy. Just play. I don’t know what’s next…
RC: That’s cool though. I think too many people spend too much time worrying about their future or something, and they don’t pay attention to this moment, right now.
JK: I’m just focusing on the shows coming up. Like I said, I love playing live. If I go too long without it, I feel a little weird.
RC: It’s really refreshing for me to play live; it’s like my whole week rules because I just played a show.
JK: There’s something to be said for that.

RC: To me, music can be a very mystical and magical experience. For me, I go through phases of music, but if I haven’t heard something for a long time and it’s been a couple years and then I hear that one song I used to love, you’re magically transported back to that time and you almost feel exactly what you felt at that moment. Has that ever happened to you?
JK: Oh yeah, lately… I have a friend that I was making some mix CDs for. She was like, “I need some music. Give me some music.” So, I was walking around and you’re just constantly, in your brain, going through your Rolodex of stuff that you’re like, “Man, I love that song.” I was actually listening to, I just bought Poe. Do you remember Poe?

RC: I do. I never listened to any Poe. I remember it, though.

Jen Korte & The Loss

JK: There’s a song about fingertips, way ahead of its time. Almost like, what’s that guy that sings with Bjork? He’s got a really weird voice. It feels like that… Music is like that, like the cliche “It’s the soundtrack of your life.” I definitely can hear songs that are very intimate to me…Like Alanis Morisette [laughs]. I said, “like Alanis Morissette,” and then I laughed myself off.
RC: I used to listen to Alanis Morissette.
JK: That was my first album ever, my first CD.
RC: I think that was one of my first CDs, too. Fucking ’90s. To follow up that question, is music a spiritual experience for you?
JK: Yes, when I’m having a hard time, especially with Jess, the girl that sings with me, we can have the shittiest day and be like, let’s go to church. I know this sounds really silly, but it is. I have a friend that is really into yoga, like really into yoga. Gotta go to yoga every day, and I understand the meditation that they get from that, ’cause I get that from playing. I’m not an athletic person at all–I’ve tried to be, but I’m just not. It’s not in my blood; it’s not in my bones. I’ve accepted this fact (I hate it, actually). I can go days where if I don’t do something musically, I start getting really anxious. I start feeling heavy and bitchy.
RC: It can be such a release.
JK: I need to play it on my hands or I don’t know…zone out. Like I said, the rabbit hole, but it’s more meditative for me.

RC: Being an electronic artist interviewing you as kind of like an indie, western, folkie songwriter, if you will…what’s your take on electronic music?
JK: I love it. If I could do it, I would. Sometimes I feel lame. Sometimes I’m like, “Man, I’m just another chick with a guitar.” I go back and forth on that because you can hear something electronically progressed and understand its composition. And, like guitar, specifically my kind of music, I wanted so badly to have progression in a song. I don’t know. Having a constant through it, that people are into and you can lose that sometimes if you can only play so many chords or you’re hands immediately go to a certain rhythm. With electronic stuff, you have more freedom, too.
RC: But, at the same time, I can relate with that, too. Just feeling like, I’m just this dude with a keyboard. You know? And, I think it’s just like playing guitar or something. I also play guitar–that’s what I started out playing. You can get stuck on the same thing.
JK: Yeah, like my band’s like, “When are you gonna quit writing stuff in 3/4?”… I don’t know. It’s just what I do. There’s a point of like, it’s your style. Is that my style as a musician, that I’m gonna immediately go there. So, part of me wants to embrace that. Like, Gregory Alan Isakov–he has a style, you can hear him and you it, and that’s it. I can hear two bars of his song and be like, “Oh, that’s Greg.” But, is he feeling the same way? Like, this is all I’m doing? I don’t know what else to do, without guitar lessons or somebody else’s influence.

RC: I think ’90s music has a huge influence on a lot of our generation’s musicians. What was some of your favorite ’90s music?
JK: The Pixies. I was very blessed to have an older brother whose best friend’s dad was like a music head. So, we constantly had new stuff that nobody had heard of, like The Soldiers, The Pixies, old school Beck. My favorite Beck album is One Foot in the Grave; it’s just like him and his guitar. It’s creepy. Radiohead. I listen to a lot of stuff that I don’t play anything like. I listen to the Indigo Girls [laughs]. I did listen to Jewel. I did. I actually listened to a lot of hip-hop. Dirty south, messy hip-hop, that’s nasty, like dirty, dirty, like 8 Ball and MJG and Underground Kingz. But, you have Houston rap. It was very, I don’t know. Keith Sweat, I had Jodeci and Chi. I had all these weird roots and stuff that people were like, “Really? You own this CD?” I had Luscious Jackson and Republica. Yeah.
RC: Yeah.
JK: But, at the same time, Snoop Dogg and Bone Thugs N Harmony–like old school Bone Family…I don’t even remember what it’s called. I have some hip-hop friends, and I always try and tell them we should cover a Bone’s song, and they don’t think it’s very funny, but I would love to. “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” is like the shit song.
RC: I used to love like fucking Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana of course, Rage Against the Machine…It’s funny. I think about it, and some of the best music in the ’90s was so fucking heavy and so agressive, but in the political climate, everything was PG. The economy was good. Music was super fucking angry, and now, everything is fucked right now.
JK: Do you think because people were bored?
RC: Probably.
JK: And, now people need beauty? You know what I mean?
RC: Yeah, I think so.
JK: I think there’s something very comforting about that. When you’re peaceful, you seek chaos, but when you’re chaotic, you just seek peace. Might be something like that, I don’t know. I haven’t though about it until just now [laughs].

Hollagramz (Ron Cole)

RC: As Hollagramz, playing shows, one of my main objectives is to just make people dance. I want people to just forget about everything for a moment. You know, whatever bullshit they’re going through, or whatever and just live in the moment and dance their asses off. So, when you’re playing shows, what are some of your objectives? What do you want people to get out of your music when you’re playing live:
JK: Live? I mean, live versus album, I feel–playing live is also very selfish for me ’cause I have Jess. I don’t know. I don’t know, like I said, it’s like going to church: part of me is meditating and at the same time–I was talking about this with Laney [McVicker, 303 staff writer] that interviewed me–about people emoting things that you can’t do. I would go to your show because I can’t make that kind of music, and I really need to dance my ass off and you would come to my show because you’re depressed…[laughs].
RC: [Laughs] I don’t know about that.
JK: You just see some chick wail it out, I don’t know. We, as artists, offer stuff that not everybody can do. Regardless of “everybody can be a musician,” not everybody can get on stage. Like 84 percent of people would rather die than get in front of people.

RC: I think I have one more question [laughs]. This is a funny one. How do you feel about juggalos and the juggalo movement?
JK: Juggalos?
RC: Like ICP [Insane Clown Posse] fans. Are you familiar with them at all? There’s millions of them.
JK: Yes, that paint their faces and hang out in front of 7Eleven? They’re fifteen, and they try to get you to buy them cigarettes and shit while they’re waiting outside? Yeah, I don’t really relate to that.
RC: No. I don’t either.
JK: As far as it being a movement, I’m not really…I don’t think there’s a movement so much.
RC: I think there is though.
JK: Is there? I don’t know.
RC: Very much so, just like you and I can’t relate to it all. It’s totally foreign to me but so interesting. Just like, what the fuck:
JK: I don’t know. It’s Insane Clown Posse…like, if it was Marilyn Manson or Eminem, take two of the most hated artists in the world, they’re brilliant. I think Eminem is brilliant. I think Marilyn Manson is brilliant. I read his autobiography and he’s so smart, and I could understand that. ICP? Not so much. Everybody looks like the just need an excuse to smoke cigarettes and get out of the house.
RC: It’s really weird though.
JK: I thought it was dead.
RC: No. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I was downtown, or no, I was on Colfax yesterday…
JK: The Odgen [laughs]? The Ogden? They always come to The Ogden.
RC: There was a Twiztid concert and just hundreds of kids with their face painted just in the street yelling and stuff.
JK: I think we should go under cover and figure out what the hell is going on.
RC: I think we should.
JK: ‘Cause I don’t know anything about it. I used to work at a music store and they had like fifty-eight albums from ICP.
RC: It’s really crazy though, because juggalos are having kids now and they’re raising their kids as juggalos, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It seems like this kind of thing where people don’t fit in and they’re not accepted by the social norm…
JK: Could that be comparable to Kiss?
RC: I think it could be…kind of, but it’s in a totally different generation.
JK: But, what makes Kiss worth it more than ICP? Or does it?
RC: Fuck, I don’t know.
JK: I don’t know. I mean, Kiss sang about masturbating and partying.
RC: True.
JK: I’m sure ICP is probably a little more graphic. I have heard some of their music.
RC: Yeah. For a while, I thought it disappeared, too, but to find out it has actually gotten bigger… A lot of these people are in their thirties, like they got into in the ’90s and they’re still following it. I don’t know. Totally crazy, I had to ask.

Ashley Pritchard; Aubrie Fontanini; allie pohl;;; Angela Morgan; Aaron Holtzer (; Brendon Doyle; Calen Brennan (; Callie Lanphier; Cassie (; Dave Ravin (; Erin Elbe (; Holly Jeannelle; Jacqui Cohen (; Jenn Tilliss (; Jeremy Scurlock (; Joe Reese (; Katherine Cheesbrough (; Kendall Foose (; Matt Romcevich (; Matthew Wright (; Nina Aguirre (; Rachel Salter; Tommy Gray (; Tyler Cowhick (; Brian Corrigan; b e t h H A R R I S; Chris Reinhard; Chip Herter; Cori Plotkin; Dahlia Weinstein;;; Jennifer Linton;; Jessi Trujillo;; Lannie Garrett; Michael Genova (;; Maggie Schoonmaker; Nicolas White; Nadine Yelovich;;; Stephanie Stiner; Stacey Demolar; Scotty Valent (; Tiffany Rose Goodyear; ‘Tim DeMasters’;

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