Ian Svenonius has indefatigably devoted his professional life to building an extensive and formidable body of work that feels as vibrant and urgent as ever in 2019. Known internationally via bands The Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up, Chain and the Gang, and Weird War among others, he has also authored three books and numerous articles and essays while somehow still finding the time and inspiration to work as an actor, TV host, and DJ. And diverse as his work may be, the core concerns of communication, immediacy, and truthful artistic expression run throughout, regardless of the medium or moniker associated with any given Ian Svenonius project.
As gracious as he is prolific, Ian kindly whiled away an evening with Weirdo Music Forever recently, discussing new recordings and touring for his project Escape-ism, past work, contemporary online culture, and more. We are also delighted to present a new fantastic photo set of Ian and Alexandra Cabral by one of our favorite photographers, Miriam Marlene.
Bobby Weirdo: I wanted to ask about Washington D.C., which has music traditions that are very different from each other. It feels like mainstream music media has never given much attention to that city, and I’m curious about the music that has come out of there and how it might have informed what you do.
Ian Svenonius: It’s always been real backwater, and that used to be kind of a cool thing. A lot of people have come out of there or lived there. Bo Diddley lived there most of his career. He had a studio there, cut a lot of records there, and he scouted soul bands there [like] The Four Jewels or the Jewels and Billy Stewart. Link Wray lived there and had a record label. Bunker Hill, Gil Scott-Heron, Eddie Floyd, and Eddie Hazel lived there. Marvin Gaye is from there, Van McCoy who wrote “The Hustle”…
Ian will be playing with his partner Alexandra Cabral on 15th November as an opening act for the Thurston Moore Group. Read the whole interview HERE