My name is Olivia and I am the Programming Intern for the Henry’s summer exhibition, The Record.
Leading up to and following the opening of The Record on July 13th, I will be conducting interviews with contributors and participants of the exhibition to post on Hankblog. My first interview of the series is with Kenneth Piekarski, aka Slashed Tires, who will be performing along with Calvin Johnson and the Hive Dwellers at the opening of The Record.
Kenneth Piekarski, aka Slashed Tires, is a man of many titles. He is a musician, radio host, blogger, computer whiz, booker, music megafan. Kenneth is also the man behind OffTempo, a music documentarian project focusing on developing an online catalogue of audio and videoclips from various underground and all-ages performances in the Northwest. In his own words, Kenneth assumes, “I guess I might be a producer? I still don’t really know what that means though. I think I was given that title in a review, so I’m going to run with that.” If anything, Kenneth is a producer of accessibility: he is constantly striving to connect, unify, and solidify the DIY community. Kenneth and I sat down earlier this week and talked about everything from bad music documentaries to the genius of Calvin Johnson’s dance moves. Here are some of the other topics we covered:
on starting OffTempo:
It started in the tri-cities, where I’m from, usually at a venue called 321. It was kind of a hole in the wall, well no, but it was very long and narrow. I started recording shows because there were some friends that were missing a few shows. I would put them on my website, try to find some photos from the night and give a little context, so no one would miss anything.
on motivation and influence:
With everything I do, I always think of life before I was twenty… I grew up on a farm, and it was pretty isolated. So I would stay up pretty late listening to the radio just to have a connection with the outside world. I want to help people who don’t have access beyond normal means. I always think of that kid that’s in the middle of nowhere that has limited access to the world. There is this great ‘culture thing’ that I used to dream about when I was little and then I realized that I could be a part of it! That’s so cool. That’s the very basis of OffTempo. There are friends out there somewhere that are missing out on shows and very cool things that are happening, and with OffTempo, no one has to miss anything.
on his hopes for his project:
I just want a sustainable musical documentation project. People tell me I’m crazy for not wanting to accept money. I’m not into even accidentally exploiting people or situations. Music is such an integral part of my life. So I’m really careful about preserving it.
on the importance of community in regional music:
I want to see more outreach to new people; I feel like we need to be more actively engaging people. I really think its important for people to be encouraging and accepting and welcoming in the community.
on taking music for granted:
If you have culture around you, you really take it for granted. People at shows here rarely buy merch, because they know they can buy it any time. They think, “oh, I’ll just buy it later.” But when I play shows in Montana, people will buy like $20 of merch. They really appreciate the culture because its just passing through.
on performing at the Henry:
I am really excited about it, because I’ve never played there before. All these people are going to watch it. Or not watch it. I am probably going to wear something nice. I am more thankful and appreciative that I get to play in a new space. I don’t expect much from the audience, except Calvin is probably going to dance. He’s really good at dancing. That guy likes to dance.
on catering to an audience:
I usually like to think about one person I am playing for. Like whoever this ‘Henry‘ guy is, that’s who I am playing for this time.
Many thanks to Kenneth for the words. More interviews to come!