I've been busy buzzing around doing lots of interviews for Fountain Square Music Fest (check your NUVO music newsletter this week for a 10 percent off code for tickets!) for an upcoming cover story. But some things are too good not to share — like that 10 percent off code for tickets, huh? plug that in here  — so I wanted to drop a couple of bits and pieces of interviews with FSMF artists I've done lately, plus some tracks that totally rip. 

Stranger Cat on writing "Fig Tree" for her dad: 

"My dad is a warm man, but he's stoic in some ways. It was really beautiful when I played him the song for the first time, he had tears coming down his face. It was so, so beautiful and sweet. At the end, he was like, 'You're talking about my mother!' I think I'm happy that the song did what I wanted it to do. It's fiction based on fact, but it vividly creates his life story, as I understand it. I think he was kind of amazed to hear it, because it follows him in three and a half minutes through 25 years." 

"Perfecto is the latest and final odyssey in the life of Kenny Dennis, the absurd and oddly poignant fictional alter ego, blue collar hero of modernity, rib tips connoisseur, mustached rapper and softball titan," says press for Serengeti's latest musical project. We inquired with Serengeti about Kenny's future. Have we seen the last of Kenny Dennis?

"It's so fun to do these little things, so I do have some ideas for Kenny. But I don't know. You don't want to be a crazy person. One side of it is like, 'Well, I'll keep on poppin' them out.' But that's sort of crazy. On the other hand, they are fun, and they do do a certain thing for me emotionally, these Kenny things, which I'm tied to. On one hand, I wanna call it quits, just because the whole appearance of it. On the other hand ... this is my guy! So why not? I do have some plans, some stuff I've written with some people as far as other media involved with Kenny. Not just tunes." 

Andrew W.K's weightlifting routine: 

"I was doing swim team, two practices a day, one in the morning, one after school. It was enough. Enough swimming for a whole lifetime. It's one of those things that's so painful and so uncomfortable, but you do feel better for some reason. It's very mysterious, that a thing that is so unpleasant in so many ways is also pleasurable, and somehow even though it's weakening in one way, it's making you stronger in this other way. ... I noticed that when I stopped exercising as often because of being so sick of swimming, that I lost something in my life that definitely was making life better. So I got into other kinds of exercise, specifically weightlifting. Pushing things that were heavy — not real heavy, but heavy enough — all that anger and frustration and rage and bad feelings suddenly had a very specific target, very literal, that I could push." 

Violinist Kishi Bashi on integrating more keys: 

"[The new record, coming out later this year on Joyful Noise Recordings] is pretty electronic. It's going to be a shock — hopefully a good shock. It's pretty upbeat. There are strings in it, but it's not dominant, I wouldn't say. I'm actually going to play a lot more keyboards. I'm gonna try to do like a Michael McDonald sort of thing. [laughs] Maybe Stevie Wonder. That sounds cooler, actually. To say that I'm going to try some Stevie Wonder stuff is pretty ambitious, because he's really amazing. But so is Michael McDonald!" 

Fountain Square Music Fest is March 25 and 26. Our cover story featuring full interviews with tons of bands playing the fest hits streets the Wednesday before. (BUB will be there.) 


Editor of NUVO Newsweekly since 2016; formerly Music Editor. Lover of justice, cats, local hip-hop, axe-throwing, sailing and pies. Hater of fake news.

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