Friday, February 17, 2012

Catching up with Jesse Lortz of Case Studies

We chatted a bit with Jesse Lortz about life, working vs. creating, and what he and Steve Jobs have in common. Come see Jesse play as Case Studies Friday Feb. 17th with Perpetual Ritual, and Baby Guns at starts at 8 pm!

Is there significance to the name case studies?

I was really into it and first and now I am kind of bored with it. The songs are all about self examination, and problem solving, so it made sense to call it "case studies" since that is essentially what they are. There is also whole interactive performance aspect of it that got put on the back burner, and maybe eventually that will come to fruition. I think I need to change it though.

Towards the light, or towards the dark?

both. I dont really choose them. Since the songs are me trying to figure things out about myself and the dynamics of my relationships with others they have tended towards the darker side of things for better or worse. I am in a pretty wonderful place now though, so the new songs are a little lighter. 

Where did you grow up?  do you feel like that setting had an impact on the music you create?

I grew up in Maple Valley, a rural town outside of Seattle. I have been around music since I was a kid, as a way to get away from my parents. I dont even want to try and dissect the geographic side of it!

Was there a specific moment you knew being an artist is what would define you?

I dont know that I would define myself as an artist necessarily. I do find it nearly impossible to function effectively in everyday life. Paying bills, working a steady job towards another persons vision, eating regular meals, etc. It just seems like there are more important things to do with my time. But we all do.

Is there a particular song that influenced you growing up, something that you continually connect with over time?

I have been revisiting the Alabama catalog. I grew up listening to KMPS, the local country station, and KBSG oldies. I have been reconnecting with songs of my childhood that I never really appreciated the impact of. Pilgrim Chapter 33, Fire Lake. Basically forlorn tavern music.

People may know you best through your music (case studies, the dutchess and the duke), but i've seen an incredible amount of artwork created by you, from drawings, to t-shirt designs, to posters, and even the diorama you created for the cover of your latest album. do you find it difficult to give your energy to so many mediums?  do you feel a pressure to focus on one thing or another at specific times? 

I am still trying to figure out what my medium is. When D/D was happening, it was a full time thing, and the visual part of me kind of withered. Now, with the waning interest towards my music, I have more time to focus on the other stuff, thankfully.

You are also a dad, and a guy with bills to pay, do you have a "day job", and do you feel like that work is a "means to an end", or does it play a more integrated role in your life as an artist?

I have a job and it totally just a way for me to barely pay my bills. If I didnt have Oscar in my life I would be completely ok not having a job. It doesnt really cost much to just survive.

Having just finished the biography of steve jobs, he talks about psychedelic drugs having influenced his worldview and process, to the point that he notes that there are parts of his creative self that people who have never done drugs, just won't understand, or "get" about him.... do you feel any connection to that?  


Your last album was on sacred bones, they have such a crazy, and interesting roster, how did that album come about?

Caleb and Keegan are friends of mine and wanted to do the record. That label is fantastic and I think it is great that they are able to put out so many diverse records.

What's the best show you've ever played?

Probably the last time I played at Cairo. Looking forward to doing it again.

Video from said show:

Jesse also recently played our sister space Topaz, in Tucson Arizona. You can download a mix made for that show featuring Case Studies HERE. See you at the show!

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