Friends of LITA | Q&A with The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe!

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

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It’s crazy how technology can connect us these days. About two years ago we started an epic ongoing Twitter pen pal relationship with the extremely talented and prolific Anton Newcombe. We would sporadically send each other messages off and on, until recently we finally reached out to him for an interview for our Friends of LITA Series. Below you can read our interview with Anton where we discuss life in Berlin, the benefits of 120v power and his current projects. Besides being big fans of Anton’s work, he has been a longtime supporter of us, and for that we would like to give him a big thanks!

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You have been living in Berlin for a while now, right?

Yes indeed…I moved here in 2007. At first I was living here for 3 months, then Iceland for 3 and the I would tour…you know, to get around visa restrictions.

What led you to Germany?

I was living in NYC and you know the old saying “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”…I was drunk and said “I have to test that out”. More than a few people see the writing on the wall regarding all of this police state spying and thuggery that you see all too much of in the states. None of that flies over here and yet they still get the job done as a culture. They have safe guards against spying and being outright bullies and liars, haha and for good reason. I feel like berlin has everything I could want as an artist, and now that I have a new born son, everything he could want minus the bullshit.

Any separation pangs from LA?

So many. I miss the hum of the 120v power, it’s very hard to ignore that interference in the German goundless 220v it makes it next to impossible to work free. It tends to warp the tones and notes into evil minor chords. Back to what i miss, Mexican food, friends, the sunsets and the Hollywood hills.

Last we checked in, the Berlin music scene was still pretty electronic focused. What’s the scene looking like to you these days?

I didn’t move here to be apart of anything. My former flatmate has a bar & label ’8mm’ and we try and help some groups by releasing things here and there or putting on a show, other than that i am pretty much a hermit…it’s like I would much rather help people create a modern lo-fi film movement internationally and incorporate music into that than start a music scene in a town or neighborhood. haha

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Are there any good records stores you hit up?

There are quite a few guys that come and set up stalls at Mauerpark at this flea market they have on sunday. I’ll peak in there boxes for old stuff…the new stuff that interests me I tend to buy online from labels like you or Finders Keepers or I wait until I am in London on business and I raid Rough Trade and the like.

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Over the years your label, The Committee to Keep Music Evil, has released some great and really diverse records. How do the projects come about?

Let me interject something. I founded that label, then Rob Campanella and I worked on it and now I have my own label ‘A Recordings Ltd‘ it’s confusing but nobody gets hurt and Rob acts more or less as a mail order plus label/shop and i have people run a global thing from the UK & Europe where we are hooked up with a global distribution (god i sound like an ass) back to your question… The stuff that we release comes into being via our personal relationships with artists I would say. I doubt that my reputation would be of any help but at the same time if a person were to put on their thinking cap they would quickly see that I own all of our rights and was able to navigate through that thing…the business that kills every project…that part where you trade someone paying your rent for 6 months for your music. That’s the root of it.

Here’s one we like to ask people from time to time…if you could pick a reissue (album/artist) for LITA, what would it be?

I think you are doing very important work. You have the type of imprint that’s built for the true music fan. I’m going to say I was very pleased when you started releasing the Free Design stuff. How wonderful is this? In fact, even if you hate me this track is well worth reading my thoughts…

What’s on your plate these days? Can we expect a new Brain Jones Massacre record in the near future?

I am producing/writing/remixing soundtracks and songs for albums my own and for other people.

Thanks again for chatting with us Anton, but before heading out, can you tell us what records you’ve been spinning the most lately?

I’m going to cheat by telling you the truth: I go through phases where I only listen to my own ideas, then I look outward and you have caught me at an introspective moment… so enjoy this.

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6 Responses to “Friends of LITA | Q&A with The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe!”

  1. jason layne says:

    nice interview. seems humbled these daze. i suspect we all are to an nth degree. (we)=music addicts and musicians, thanks LITA Namaste and many more years of success -jsn

  2. Joseph Kyle says:

    Always love to read an interview with Anton.

  3. bev. says:

    Anton, an interview, thank you

  4. Scott Mick Wood says:

    Thoughtful interview and honest. That stuff about California was fun.

  5. Roshan says:

    Keep music evil indeed. That Free Design song is fantastic.

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