Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

From the Archive: An Interview with Matt Schwartz

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Originally appeared in issue seven of Megawords.
Interview by Anthony Smyrsk
i / Photography by Elissa Bogos.

You probably don’t want to talk about the Philadelphia Independent.
The more time passes, the better I am at—I meet people and they’re like, “I can’t believe you’re the guy that wrote that! That’s so awesome!” I don’t know why that sucks. It shouldn’t. But it does.

How long has it been since [you left] the Independent?
A long time. Almost three years. The last issue came out the very beginning of 2005, February 2005.

Compare what you were doing for the Independent with your experiences working for larger, more established publications.
When I was doing the Independent, whenever I would get close to powerful people, or establishment people, or anybody with a lot of money, power or legitimacy … I would tighten up and move away. I think I was intimidated. I got this award from Philadelphia Magazine for being on their “People to Watch” list. This was a big deal at the time, like it could really help me materially. I went to the awards party, but I dressed really strangely, in ratty jeans and a military jacket from I. Goldberg. I tried to act like I didn’t care. I wanted everyone to look at me and know immediately that I was separate from this since I thought I was superior.

Do you think that was a mistake?
I don’t really know if it was a mistake. I was probably secretly worried that they would change me if I came close to them because I recognized that they were powerful. If you resist them, you wind up being defined by then, anyway. (more…)

A Love Letter for You

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Fidel se va

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Mexico City, 2009.

From the archives – an interview with Zoe Strauss

Monday, March 8th, 2010

All photos by Zoe Strauss

MEGAWORDS: One of the thing’s that always staggered me about your photography is the way the you’re able to establish an instant rapport—an instant connection—with people.  I feel sometimes you’ve just met them.
ZOE: Yeah. [A very loud motorcycle noise is heard outside the cafe.] Shut up, bastards! Could you have this in the interview?  Fuckin’ cocksuckers!

Of course it’s in the interview!
Fuckin’ assholes!

So, is that something that you are consciously thinking about?  What’s the process—you see someone and you’re interested?  Or is it random?

It’s totally random.


Always?  Well… yeah.  It is.  It’s totally random and it’s also completely unconscious. There’s no feeling of, ‘this person looks like this and I need to fit them into my work because thematically, or…’  It’s always this initial moment of meeting and then that’s the whole thing.

Does the initial contact happen with the camera or without the camera?
No, always with the camera.

Always with the camera?
It’s always when I’m working.  My meeting of someone is always, ‘Can I make your photo?’


An interview with ADAMS

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Interview by Dan Murphy. Photos courtesy of ADAMS.

Adams: We built a house in Finland in the summer of 2002, and we created a taste for doing more alternative places—We built this house, and when we came back [to Denmark] we did this huge poster for the bus shelters saying that you could come and “live for for free as it should be”—we did a map [that showed] how to find [the house]. We went back there in December, just to check if it was still there. We figured it would be gone. We arrived early in the morning and we saw the house, and we saw smoke coming out of the chimney—a chimney that we didn’t put there. And we came closer and realized that somebody was living in there. It was rebuilt in certain ways. We just stood there looking, and a neighbor passed by and just started talking to us in Finnish. We understood that she was talking to us about the house and she managed to explain it in Swedish.

The thing is, when we built it, the neighbors were really complaining. We thought we were super secret and just built it next to the train tracks with bushes all around it. But [the neighbors] started showing up more and more and wanted us to leave. We were sort of noisy, hammering nails and stuff. But this lady told us a story about these two good boys, one from Denmark—apparently someone understood where we were from—and one from Sweden, who had built this house. “Two good boys,” she said. And, that they stayed there for two weeks, then some days after, these “two bad Finnish boys” came around and vandalized the house. Then this guy living there, with two friends, reconstructed it and he moved in and had been living there ever since. He had installed a heater and mattresses to keep the chill out—because it was like 15 below Celsius. Super cold. And lots of snow. It was extremely inspiring to see that you could contribute and make this practical graffiti thing—so we just wanted to continue doing it.

An interview with Alex Lukas

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Let’s talk about books and zines.
Zines fall into two categories, you have your punk rock theme, your train hopping zine or travel zine … it kind of looks pretty shitty, sometimes they’re incredibly interesting and incredibly content heavy. And then you have your more abstract collections of artists images.  I think Barry Mcgee is a prime example of this, amazing product, but they’re very much conceptual art pieces. Thats not to discount it at all.

A zine can be more about a means of distribution and different formats and less rules, while a bound book has a form that is so intrinsic that you know go through it beginning to end. It has this progression that’s inherent in the form: it has a beginning a middle and an end. And everybody knows how to go through a book. You can either capitalize on that or start to depart from that. Those are the things I would eventually like to try, to experiment with the form.

To Serve and Protect

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Megawords spoke with a local Philadelphia Police officer [under the condition of anonymity] working in one of the most crime ridden and dangerous districts in the city. In his own words, he gives us his thoughts about the perils of the job, crime, the prison and judicial systems, and the stop snitchin’ epidemic. Some locations have been changed, and we’ve kept the officer’s identity a secret for his protection.

My district is about 2 miles by 3 miles, its one of the highest crime districts in the city. It’s bad. People are getting killed left and right, because no one cares and no one helps.

Drug dealing is so bad, and gone on for so long, that you can contain it, but you can’t stop it. When operation Safe Streets started there were tons of cops walking foot beats. A cop is standing on the corner that the drugs were sold on, so course it looks a lot safer; but all you’re really doing is moving it. That’s why Camden jumped off, because they just moved the operation. You’ll never stop it, and you just have to hope to god that someone who isn’t a piece of shit doesn’t get killed. Drugboy killing drugboy – I couldn’t care less. Airbrush a t-shirt and I’ll send a teddy bear. But when it’s the little kid who’s playing basketball at the Rec Center and someone ends up killing him, that’s the sad part.

We do a lot of roll-ups. Where we’ll just roll up on a corner and jump out. That’s where people are at their most vulnerable, but it’s also the most dangerous for us. And when we do it in plainclothes its even worse, because they think they are getting robbed, and they are a lot quicker to pull a gun out. You’ve gotta’ watch their hands. The only thing that can hurt you on a person is their hands; if you can see them you’re fine. Then you get the asshole that won’t show them, so you’ve got to get physical on people. Even a gun in the face doesn’t matter, because they know you won’t shoot them. You have to get in their mindset. They think they are in a rap video or movie – that’s really the mindset. For a bundle of drugs sold, they get paid $20; and some corners will go through 500 bundles in an afternoon. So they are making money. And it’s the young kids that sell it on the corners; they are the ones that want to fight. They are trying to make a name.


An Interview with William Pym

Thursday, February 18th, 2010


How did you end up where you are now, what was the trajectory?
Will: A month before I finished college—2006—I had a show at Harvard University. When I was doing my thesis show for painting, I had a gallery show in New York at Rivington Arms. I thought I was going to be in New York or Boston. I thought I had a handle on it. I thought I was going to find a way to live and work and party and stay fabulous. I went home after I graduated, came back and went to see my friends in Philly for one last time. At the pub we got so drunk, I just got done watching England in the World Cup with my best friend… I fell asleep on the couch with my neck over the edge. I woke up, and that drunk sweat just poured out of the back of my neck and soaked this couch. I watched Wild At Heart, the David Lynch film, I passed out in the middle of the afternoon, soaked this horrible, filthy couch—and I decided then, that it wasn’t going to work out for me in New York because I was obviously too much of a disaster. I clearly saw from that day, I didn’t have what it took to hack it on the Lower East Side and to make ends meet and make work and be seen five, six, seven days a week, and to keep up with the society pages—which was what I thought being “successful” was.

I thought it was the easiest thing in the world: Know people. Know people with influence. Know people with money. Know people who want to see you—I mean, it’s visibility and fabulousness, the society pages of W magazine and Vice magazine or Harper’s Bazaar. I was fascinated with the fact that I could look good, fresh gear, throw money around. But none of that stuff I have the ability to sustain.