#3 Robert Kramer (Part One)

 
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Robert Kramer is a singer/songwriter from Bismarck, ND. In this first episode of my three-part interview with Robert, it's all about origin stories. Robert and I met when we were in grade school, our first band was together and we've been making music with each other off & on ever since. On today's show, we talk about hauntings, how cool skateboarding is, depression, songwriting challenges, Robert's first guitar and some band called "Nivira."

You can hear Robert's 2014 solo album, The South & Goodbye, on his website: robertkramer.bandcamp.com

The photograph used in this episode’s cover artwork was shot by Kat Kirschmann.

Robert and I talk about how much we wish we had a music video with, like, skateboarding in it. Shout out to that one time Poodus used one of our tracks in a video he did for Fargo's Hawk's Nest.

 
That "thank you" plate that Robert found on one of his late-night walks.

That "thank you" plate that Robert found on one of his late-night walks.

 

The following is a transcript automatically generated by a computer. It’s terrible and not really readable, sorry!

hey everybody welcome to Prairie goth I'm your host Nora the janitor today on the show we have Robert Cramer a singer-songwriter from Bismarck do stay tuned Robert is an old friend of mine I've known him since I was about 10 we started playing music together when we were kids and it was really that was the way we learned our first band was together and we you know we've been playing together ever since Roberts main instruments are guitar and voice but he you know kind of dabbles in everything he's a an audio engineer and in 2014 he recorded and produced his first solo album called the south and goodbye and in 2016 he'll be putting out a new album with his band the Juniper drive and then heading out on tour for a few months this summer with my not band vanity plate today we start part one of our probably three-part epic interview Robert and I sit down and kind of go all the way back we had chart our course really his end mine from growing up in Bismarck as a group of weird punk kids slowly coming towards present-day and in today's episode we sort of we kind of focus on those early days Roberts abilities as a songwriter and as a musician have always impressed me and today we stumble on some of the keys for how Robert took that passion and grew it into the skills that he has now if you want to learn more or hear any of robert's music you can head over to my website Prairie gothic ahhmm where you'll find all of that in the blog you know I got to say I've been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about Roberts music and what effect it has had on me and you know when when have I listened to it and what what parts of my life and you know I take a lot of so I'm I'm at Weiss college dropout and in some ways I take a lot of pride in that because pride is the only thing I have to hang on to with dropping out of college twice I didn't you know I got a lot of debt out of it I've got a lot of stress out of it I got not a whole lot of good education out of it I've got a lot of doors of economic or financial opportunity closed on me because of the decisions that I've made it's okay it's fine it's not a big deal really but there's that there's boy a lot of social opportunities I've been locked out of because I've dropped out of college twice but that whole thing just didn't work for me and it's really really depressing and it stresses me out just to think about it yeah but thinking about Robert and his music in the last few years that's that's been it's been there for me in those times Roberts music helped me cope through a lot of that maybe more so the second time in some ways just cuz that was a little bit closer to the the release date I guess when I was in college here in Bismarck that's when the album would have come out so I was listening to it a lot then but even back in I guess 2012 2011 I don't know when I was going to University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and you know waking up in this this this house that I lived at if he lived lived out with a few a few friends of mine most of the people there knowing Robert waking up and you were walking 15 minutes of abuzz and then taking 15 minutes on the bus to get to the class and just pan commuting in the city is weird yeah and often listening to either early cuts of the south and goodbye or demos of other things that Robert was working on sometimes even just guitar chords but the song that sticks out for me from that time was some other state the first time I heard it I listened to it just unrep eat in the morning the whole way you know going to school on the bus I would sit and sit at our kitchen table in the winter looking out the window into the backyards cold drinking tea doing homework or not doing homework or stressing out my health really deteriorated at that point in time a lot of stomach pain and yeah listening to some other state sometimes my friend and our bandmate evan walking in the room and so even though Robert and Blake were you know what a couple thousand miles away in Arizona thousand I don't know I don't know distance but even though they were that far away not really a part of my life directly they were both there and this in this music and that kind of connection is really comforting and I guess strengthening in such a lonely time and place when this thing that I'm stressing over is something that I can only really stress out over alone because ultimately it's all up to me and then the second time the second time I dropped out when I was in Bismarck I I mean there's so many days of like you know I had to drive then which if you've been listening to the podcast or if you know me you know how much I hate driving but I had to drive like ten minutes to or from school to the Community College campus here and in Bismarck and I would very often drive with my windows down listening very loudly to Robert's new album singing along and really taking it in through my beautifully shitty van speakers so it's ingrained in me from that time I was studying vocal music singing in choirs and that experience is kind of alienating for someone who has a voice that's not supposed to really blend in with other people but it's supposed to just kind of be its own thing I don't you know I don't have a good voice but I can do usually kind of what I want with it but that kind of lessons when I was in these weird social environments I kind of disappeared a little bit and got kind of crushed a little bit but I could still kind of get kind of get back to that either listening and empathizing through Roberts music or singing with it and the day that I dropped out or I guess maybe a couple days before I dropped out from Community College here I remember going and talking to Robert about like yeah I think I'm gonna drop out again and then I did and I went to the park and I sat under a tree and read some John Steinbeck and nobody knew I was there that was a moment in time encapsulated only in my experience only in my head mmm completely separate from everything else it was like a rift in time I guess at that moment there in the park and in my memory that moment sounds like days long gone Roberts song about missing a past life filled with rock and roll and friends when things were a little bit less horrible for a moment in that Park with John Steinbeck with no school and some sort of new future ahead of me I got to live in the bliss of days long gone what's a lyric from that song how about I remember when we had rivers and bridges to jump off of I remember we had us a band and those sweet sounds of summer those days are so long gone oh god yeah so Roberts music helped me get through that time those times and I feel so grateful and lucky to have friends like Robert who helped me cope and survive even when they don't know that's what they're doing so this this interview is a real treasure to me and it's super long so I think what we're gonna do is break it up maybe into three parts there would probably be a lot of a lot more content on the podcast than there is on the radio episodes we'll see really looking forward to it today is first episode and I think I think you're gonna enjoy it all right so onto the show Robert Kramer check one one two check mic check check hi Robert how's it going dude not too bad just setting up for a podcast test one two oh cool do you get a bottle opener I think levels are okay I don't anything yeah - yeah that's fine what is that what do you do that I don't know I was walking with it in the backpack and so I'm kind of afraid it's gonna be like oh it looks foamy maybe wait a few minutes on it now diving right into the the beer podcast I want to dive right in dude do you want to trade one I'll trade you one oh sure you I brought they've been in the fridge so they're called it's there if either of these appeal to you the real question here is like do I do I make it clear to the audience like do I cut this out or do i you know in the beer part yeah I don't I don't care I love I love listening to a podcast and knowing that they're drinking you know what I mean yeah I don't think I've listened to one where they're drinking yet when did you start drinking uh too hard ed or like where where did you find out about too hard ed it was a couple summers ago and I was at the sports page with Blake which was our drinking spot at that time because it was walking distance from both our houses and he got it to harden and he got me it to harden and I just really liked it and that became our beer that summer and summers since so Blake found out some place it's it's funny cuz it's like I I was sort of related it to you guys to heard it and it seemed like a little bit obscure mmm and now it's everywhere singers are early adopters I think yeah yeah yeah it is everywhere it's like at all the bars in town yeah I guess people know good beer when they stood and yeah it's like a Midwestern pride thing a little bit - oh sure you can only get it sort of in the Midwest nice I was in Colorado and I couldn't find it it's like our waffle house mm-hmm dude it's made in what like Michigan or something yeah in Michigan brewed and bottled in Comstock Michigan cool cool I love I also I love that we're drinking beer because like we'll talk about it later yeah like music and beer music go go together yeah yeah what was I gonna say I so second interview ever and I love that I like I love like I I told you that I really wanted you to come on you know and be one of if not the first interviews but the fact the fact that you like asked me just love that I've never been on a podcast I was excited yeah yeah what what the why why excited because I've been wanting to be on podcast ever since I started listening to podcasts I just like them yeah also I've never been interviewed yeah makes me feel special yeah yeah you should feel special welcome to the basement that you hang out in already yeah feel special special yeah it's it's crazy to thinking about like I guess I said this but it seems almost easier to interview somebody that you don't know as well you know cuz like I'm so wrapped up in like what I do know but then there's like I know there's so much I don't know you know what I mean mm-hm and like thinking about life story arcs and stuff mm-hm it's different it's cool too because like I was thinking about this this quote from some some movie it's also at the end of a this metal band neurosis the end of one of their albums and it's something like I can't remember what the code is but the gist of it is like how many times do you actually watch the moon rise in your life I don't know a dozen but bla bla bla like not that many time goes fast and then everything's over and your dad you know and like they're really and maybe part of this is adult life and stuff but there's not there's how many times do we get to sit down and just be like hey what's your life you know I mean yeah in like a focused way not in just like a like a hanging out way but like do people in a room talking about but it's you know it's rare you like way too rare you know and like it doesn't come up that often so I feel lucky and thank you for thanks for coming thank you for having me thanks for wanting to be on a podcast I'm wondering though who's gonna interview you ha ha ha how are we going to hear your story through the podcast yeah it doesn't matter as much yet though well I would like to hear it well sometimes the only one sometime well we'll flip this around cool you can you can interview me uh you got a certain post and then okay I feel under prepared to honestly like cuz this came up like a couple days ago and I'm like I haven't had I mean I've stood on it a lot but like in the past I wish I got a suit on it more in the past like week or so and come up with stuff but I guess I you know starting like I mean we could shut it down yeah but we already got these mics set up yeah we got these beers yeah we might as well do it yeah I you know I'm I'm kind of terrified because I'm not good at like answering questions when they come to me like if if I imagine in my mind the way I would answer a question right I can spend 10 to 20 minutes really getting the answer perfect and answering yeah I want to yeah but when I'm when I'm asked a question in real life I don't know what I'm gonna come up with and I'm usually gonna regret it so I was really excited to do a podcast so regret ladies yeah yeah good yeah I'll just all right my answers and we can dub them in yeah that'd be great it's you know it's weird too cuz it's like I know you but I know people don't listen like people listening don't know you so it's weird asking you obvious questions you know what I mean yeah like you were born in Bismarck I was born in Bismarck I was born in 1991 and I've actually been living in the same house my whole time in Bismarck funfact unpacked do you like your house I do it's a good house I used to think it was a little bit haunted I don't think so anymore why did you think it was haunted um the basement always freaked me out as a kid just cuz it's a basement and I was a kid yeah there's still one room in there that I don't sleep in because there's there's a weird vibe in that room it's really yeah what what's in the room just some someone's in the room when I was left in there I've felt I've felt watched yeah and sort of kept company and not necessarily like in a bad way but it just feels like there's something there it you know it's almost definitely just the way my brain processes a very dark very quiet room but I still don't like sleeping in there yeah luckily I don't have to because I have a room hey is that the room downstairs with the the cot because he used to sleep on a cot sometimes downstairs in here yeah I would sleep on a cot in the living room down there but there's a guest oh okay I was thinking about cuz you have a you have a little bit you have a little studio down there mm-hmm is that remounted no well okay if that room is haunted it's it's the good kind nice what's the good kind the good kind yeah well like I think if you're in a place that's haunted by by something good then think you know you'll get a cool vibe there you'll feel you'll feel inspired is that is that room inspiring for you yeah yeah like I don't know if it's inspiring just because that's where I do things right but it's it's where I feel like most alone in the house which like helps me feel right yeah like I can take take the cap off the bottle and and let it explode and let it explode yeah I was gonna say you kind of you kind of do shut yourself away in there I remember seeing I think seeing like a sign or something on the outside yep there's like I'm in here don't come in here yeah I put that sign up like my mom had it laying around and I was like well this this could be useful but nobody respects the sign so yeah I haven't touched it in long when I hear somebody like moving around downstairs I I go silent and I wait dude yeah no me too I don't know what that is I don't know what that like instinct is but I get I get that to you like if I mean it's bad enough to the point that like if there's somebody in the building yeah you know wherever I am it's like if I know there's a human around yeah it's hard to do stuff like hard to it's hard to open a portal is what I'm saying yeah you know what I mean people fear I have an odd basement story but by the way sometime if you about this my basement but your basement yeah what go ahead you do you ever have a memories and you're like not sure if they're real yeah yeah so this is one of those when I was like a little kid there was I rarely got left alone at this age and I don't remember exactly what age it was but I was alone in the house and I remember hearing like the sound of like classical music and I noticed it was coming from the basement like all the lights are off and it was during the day so there was like natural light from the windows down there a little bit but it was still scary because I was little and I sort of walked down the stairs and noticed that there was like really loud like classical music kind of happening in the basement and the TV was off and I don't think there was a stereo on or anything you know I didn't check the whole basement I just like stood on the stairs and then ran back upstairs because it was kind of frightening but that's my weird haunted basement stories like classical music that came out of nowhere maybe got a ghost Orchestra down there could be or somebody who used to live there that really likes classical music yeah you know do you remember anything do you remember the recording like or what you were hearing or you know do you remember anything about the composition no I don't really um I want to say it was like it wasn't like baroque it was more like classical classical okay sure but it had a lot of energy it was like I don't know um that that was that was a weird thing but I had shit in my house like that I mean not that long ago I had a turntable set up and my parents were out of town and you know I'd finished listening to a record and I was just kind of hanging out one night and I was alone in the house and I come out to the living room and I noticed that the record is spinning like it's playing and like the needle had been at rest but somehow I mean and like it does have some automatic parts so like something could have got bumped and it started playing but like that kind of weirded me out you know so maybe you got some ghosts that like music I wonder if that ghost influenced you maybe I'd like to think so it's possible I mean like this basement uh you know I mean it's haunted down here mm-hmm you know this room I feel safe and mm-hm but yeah you gotta wonder stuff like that I mean it's weird you know it's weird cuz it's like do I believe in that no but like I've felt it like I felt that sort of channeling like a like a spirit you know something Ned yeah it's weird I think that's how most people feel about that stuff is like yeah it's we don't call them that oh sure but once you know there are things you can't explain and like that's just kind of the thing like you can't explain it yep okay so growing up in Bismarck you have a haunted house you have you'd like sleep paralysis - yeah I don't get that much anymore when did that start though that started in my teens okay curbed away in my 20s I think okay yeah I wonder if that has a connection to puberty like if that starts to happen for people around puberty I don't spa scible I was just blah blah blah but maybe yeah well yeah I feel like I feel like that affected your writing to in some way is usually paralysis yeah but maybe that's just me making making crap up it's I mean it's possible I I can't remember like a specific way that that affected it but I don't know like it all ends up in the pot sort of you know yeah so I'm sure like everything that you do right like use our entire life just kind of goes through the filter at some point and it seems that way and then becomes ours yeah so growing up in Bismarck you haunted you got a haunted house go to grade school when did you meet Evan Blake I met like the first day of kindergarten because we were in different kindergarten classes but I met up with him at the Cubbies because it was my first day of daycare yeah I walked with him to Patty's on the first day and I was with him and his sister and from what I can remember at least the way that it is in my memory you know however accurate that is I feel like we became friends like almost instantly like on the walk there which is like a block away we started getting along and yeah eighteen years later we're still chilling isn't it cool how like quickly kids can just become friends it's like the default like yeah you wanna be my friend yeah okay we're friends now it's awesome yeah I guess I should say too that I asked that because you and I have been in a band since forever with Blake and Evan mm-hmm when did you when she when did you meet Evan though cuz you might play cat at Dorsey Moses mm-hmm okay I met Evan in fourth grade through Blake they were friends they had bonded over Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Thanks which made them fast friends and like he introduced me to him I didn't Evan go to dressy Moses since kindergarten - do you member I don't remember he might have switched cuz I think he was a new kid at some point I remember really who's this new kid wow I did not know that that kind of that explains some things yeah the tall new kid right yeah just like completely sticking out yeah me and Evan were super fast friends though - yeah in fact like me and Evan became such good friends that I wasn't hanging out with Blake as much for a while like me and Blake have had like some off/on times in our friendship and that was that was one of them where he started hanging out with Jake more and I started hanging out with Evan a lot and that's when I met you oh okay yeah then we started doing band stuff yep then sort of until the end of middle school me and Blake were sort of distant and he moved to Cottonwood which is like race lightly slightly more upper-class part of our middle middle-class neighborhood you know at the time I we were into punk rock and so I thought he thought he was too good for me because his family moved to blocks away well yeah like because the the cottonwood kids seem to always like be hanging out like it seemed like a whole crew like a whole culture of like the Aero Postell flow thing and god I forgot about that yeah I mean like isn't that awful yeah it was like a whole it was a whole aesthetic in like a whole way of life seemingly and I sort of it was a stupid feeling but at the time I felt like he had left me in our old neighborhood and like oh that he he was like too good for me now wow you know that's rough when would that have been uh he moved I think in sixth or seventh grade I think it was seventh grade because we were pretty good friends all the way through sixth grade and then I think it changed kind of in seventh grade getting a middle school and I mean we had been sort of growing distant because I was spending so much time with you and Evan you know I'm sure we were hanging out every day yeah yeah that one summer yeah yeah what do you what do you remember from that summer well I remember like you would come down to my house and then we would hang out like I don't know eat hotdogs or something I think this is before you were a vegetarian I don't think I ever ate hotdogs but no okay I don't think so well I don't think I've ever eaten a hotdog actually really but you probably ate hotdogs I definitely ate hotdogs I remember that well and then um we would walk to the mall and screw around there yeah it was an arcade at the time and then we moved walk pretty much like all the way up to your house every day and then we'd hang out there that's right which is like kind of a long way for that age yeah that's a long long we all kind of got like got into walking like really early that's probably like it's probably three miles no be my guest are you having my hand I guess like cuz it's like a half but I think it's half a mile till up from like my house to Main Street okay yeah and then like walking over to Scotty's remember that a lot remember people staring at us yeah cuz we were weird yeah yeah we were yeah you especially God I don't know what that means you had your head your long hair then yeah it's J don't embarrass you no no but you had your long hair and and you wore your duster at that time I don't know if you didn't suffer but I may have you may have yeah I mean the matrix is pretty hot back then dude it was all about the matrix yeah the matrix and AFI oh what a combination I always wished I had a duster back then are you serious yeah really I was like jealous of your duster I was like that's so that's so cool whoa but like I didn't know where to find one I would however one now cuz like I feel like the duster and the Fedora have become like a symbol of like an idiot yeah and those were the two things like war yeah yeah oh gosh that's gross you know I wasn't asked to like did you hang out with Blake Evon yeah in grade school yeah we were three good friends got along well what kind of like what would you guys do well like up until I feel like it tapered off maybe fifth grade or sixth grade but like for the greater part of elementary school it was all about like pretending you were like some hero from some story that she knew again we were playing a lot of Legend of Zelda it was like you pretends that you're in Legend of Zelda that's your link or whatever I feel like that's how most kids spend their time before before it becomes uncool to do that it was just kind of too bad yeah WAIS you know there's times as an adult where I still want to pretend sometimes I think I think we kind of do too even if we don't admit it I feel like that's part of what like rock and roll is about don't mean yeah like we are we are definitely going to talk about guided by by voices at some point tonight but like one of the things I remember from them is like they had no faith like early on they had no fame there was no reason for them to do this but they would go walk around and like do like band photo shoots like not for any purpose just so they could look at them and be like hey check it out what a cool that's like something we would have done in the day I know right yeah and it's like the it's that same thing of like a rock star is a certain kind of hero yeah you know like we want to be that hero we want to be like the rock-and-roll hero in a cool band so we I think that's that's why I got into it in the first place you know yeah like yeah like much music USA right back in the day like you see some forty-one rockin out being cool it's trying to bite pretty ladies and skateboarders and you're like that's cool yeah I wanted to do that yeah yeah and it's like still kind of a dream yeah Fargo there's a venue now that's a skate park and I've always thought about like I want to play in a skate park and I want to do a music video in a skate park cuz it's cool skate boarding is still cool yeah it is always be cool it's it hasn't faded like fedoras and dusters it's still awesome yeah I sometimes wonder like if it would have been a better choice to learn how to skateboard because it was always something I wanted to do and like I know like I'm not too old for it or whatever but right the way I kind of look at it is I I know people who I know people who skateboard and like they've been doing it for a long time and it's kind of like how I've been playing guitar for a long time someone yeah jump into playing guitar at 24 but for me it's become like ingrained in me it's like part of my life for as long as I have like hands and a functioning brain whereas like skateboarding I just I feel like I have less and less space in my brain to to put skateboarding and less and less sir quick recovery from injuries and willingness to do risky things with my body especially because that could affect the music thing music totally I'm priority yeah like if you broke your wrist yeah that would really mess things up for me maybe permanently you could be yeah and I mean there's something to be said about like because if we'd learn to skateboard we wouldn't have walked around we would have skateboard it around yeah and there's something about just like walking cuz you get to talk to each other and you feel like you kind of feel stranded yeah I mean it's like we didn't have phones we didn't we just yeah there's nothing that like okay we're here we have to get there and it's gonna take a while yeah just I still like it's nice yeah like do you go on walks ever to like get your brain going creatively well like when it's nice out as the weather provides I walk like every day so the six months out of the year when you can write it go outside I walk every day or preferably every night I really love walking at like 11 or 12 if my schedule allows which it hasn't this summer because I've been waking up at 6 but I don't know if it gets me going creatively I think it does because I think there's something about like passing through a neighborhood usually a neighborhood I'm really familiar with and you always sort of see things differently or see different things or see the same things and feel different about them and it's I think sort of like the collage of images that comes from walking and sort of the unexpected things you stumble like those pictures kind of stick with you like I don't know I posted a picture to Facebook awhile back if this point I found on the ground and it just said thank you oh yeah that's your and your feet are in the shot mm-hmm yeah it's like on the concrete yeah broken I think yeah it's like it's a paper plate but it's kind of torn up oh I remember seeing that and it was just like I don't know it just made me think yeah maybe think about stuff yeah you know like what I don't know like sort of in my pretend world that I live in like it felt like someone was may be thanking me or someone had thanked someone but that was like no more like I don't know I don't know what it meant to me but it like and those are actually those are kind of my favorite types of things where it like hits you on a gut level where you can spin it a few different ways but really like it's hard to explain with words the the way that it really speaks to you it was just like thank you like what the hell like you know yeah do you try to write that way I don't know sometimes I don't I don't yet have a tried-and-true technique for writing stuff right yeah but yeah you know a lot of times like things will be really straightforward you know sometimes they'll be convoluted but I guess I guess I do kind of write that way in that like even back in the like emo days when your plan sure emo music the thing that attracted me to that genre was like the bitter sweetness of it yeah and like I think the feelings that I am most interested in in art are feelings that land in between two places like particularly if those places are contradictory it like is especially interesting to me hmm okay so I guess I do kind of try to write that way maybe not lyrically all the time but like definitely musically huh like with melodies and stuff yeah like do you mean that you use contrasting melodies or yeah like well I like you know sort of I guess it's kind of just the basics of music like that tension tension release sort of the way that those those things work together and also like melodies like I love to have like something that's that's poppy and kind of like feels upbeat but has a but comes across like sad because really really I think like I feel like most of the best pop music is that way a lot of times where did you get that from though I don't know it's hard to say I mean I feel like I feel like just about everything I do I got from the Beatles on some level yeah certainly there was a lot of bands before that and have been like a lot of bands after that I was thinking Beatles but there's so much stuff that they do that that really isn't that are sweet you know it's just like straight out like the early stuff is straight-up bubblegum you know I guess like like Eleanor Rigby maybe has that kind of feeling yeah but that's still like not that into that song yeah and the the tonality of it is like sad yeah it's definitely or like the tonality matches the feeling it's hard for me to think of a Beatles tune that well like Dan the life is really okay like it's it's poppy yeah but it's like incredibly sad wow that's a really good example yeah that sounds brutal yeah that's one of my favorites and John wrote that one it was actually yeah John wrote the the part that were probably both thinking of right now but Paul had a different song that became the middle section and they shirt songs too okay sure yeah I'm thinking about like like where the guy dies in a car crash hmm do you this is this is stupid but you have a favorite Beatle um yeah but I don't have a good reason for it my favourite Beatle is George because Lennon is such a cynical dick sometimes and Paul is so oblivious sometimes but like George I know you don't even give a reason for Ringo no I love Ringo yeah he goes yeah fantastic but he didn't write a lot of songs for the beater so he's kind of he's kind of out of the hat yeah oh I love Ringo's attitude yeah like he was always just ready to go and he always did the right thing but George like was kind of like understated you know I guess partially because only a few of his songs really got through into their discography but also um he has like this the sweetness to his music in like this like sincerity about his songs that I just find really like affecting I kind of like that he was like the spiritual Beatle like I kind of did that that dimension worked its way into his music yeah because you know I I find that relatable you know like yeah so George I guess it's like the stupidest question I could ask but it's you know there it is the thing that I was thinking of and I don't know were you listening to Beach Boys when you were like early on in your listening like early on Beach Boys probably came around like ninth grade okay cuz thinking about pop songs that are brutal like very sincere and very like listening is my favorite Beatle like god only knows is like the first thing that came to mind thinking about that Anna that kind of song cuz it's like his dad heard it mm-hm and apparently thought it was a suicide son as a suicide but it's about like loving somebody mm-hmm which is like to me in direct relation a lot of stuff that you write you know what I mean yeah there's a lot of songs that you write that have some sort of like self-destructive or like suicidal ideation mm-hmm to them but then also like constantly just well-crafted catchy beautiful melodies you know what I mean well thank you yeah you're welcome I I could I could rub it on thicker if you want but oh no that's fine I feel like that's kind of a theme for you yeah you know we've talked about you with sort of suicide songs and how it kind of common that is yeah and how it's also been sort of like it's been kind of a problem no or not for me yeah like writing songs that are that honest yeah well yeah I mean you certainly like get great reactions from your family members write songs like that for one but also like it kind of makes you wonder about yourself sort of like what's wrong with me um why why do you say that well just cuz like why can't I just write some like happy music about good things yeah but I guess like for me and I think this probably comes through in in the music or at least I would hope it would like I think that despair it's not like a bad thing to have that like it's okay and it in fact like I feel like that is deeply connected to love and deeply connected to having like exuberance for life I just think that that all that stuff but you really can't have the one thing without the other thing or maybe some people can but I can't like to love someone or to love your life will amount in like a certain degree of despair just because like love for example there's always going to be that unclothed gap between you and another person and you are always going to have to lose that person at some point but it's like like yes I wish I could write less sad suicide songs but like they're not just that either and that that is what I would hope people would pick up on because I certainly see it I don't think like I don't expect like my mom to see that when she listens to it sure does she only see the like is it just hard for her to listen to them no she likes my music a lot she she just makes it in ringtone her phone yeah she she ignores the like the the despair she realizes it's there and she makes fun of me for us sometimes okay awesome but I think the way I think she answered she understands that I that I've had feelings I've struggled struggled with and that putting it in to music helps me keep the bad feelings under control yeah totally not not like I'm some raging suicidal lunatic who needs to write songs or he's gonna of a bridge but but but kind of but I got a lyric right jumping off a bridge yeah I mean I feel that way you know I think ignoring creativity and ignoring like the pursuit of that and not paying attention to the like the aggressive Muse that's like making you do artistic things that for me has been like very often a source of like wanting to be dead you know yeah like it's like if I don't pay attention to it you know I'm I lose my mind which i think is the same thing told him if you and I hadn't ended up being musicians I I don't know how we would be doing honestly because it's like I worry yeah yeah I mean look because that cuz that kind of feeling is in your songs but it's also like it's it's you you know mm-hmm I know you've felt that way for a long time yeah I think I don't like angry yeah idle depressed yeah yeah yeah I don't know it and and I never want to like trivialize the word suicidal because suicide it's like a really heavy thing and it affects people in really real ways absolutely and I've never had like an attempt or anything so I will just use the word depression I guess sure that is something I've definitely been dealing with for a while and um and I think honestly like creatively one you know one of the best ways to do what that feelings is to just let the feeling happen but let it come through in a way that's like not gonna hurt you or anybody else and and that's that's the thing where it's like yes like sometimes I feel like it's a problem that I write so many like suicide not suicide specifically but like sad songs just suicide as the word as an umbrella of that kind of song right I guess I feel like creativity doesn't really let you pick and choose that kind of stuff I mean you can try but like I feel like to really tap into your creative side at least for me means like you gotta open the floodgates and let all the feelings do their thing and so I couldn't write a bunch of happy McCartney ask songs if I wanted to yeah and maybe someday I can if that is what's coming through the floodgates I kind of hope not I mean I hope not too I don't know I I think I assume and hope you're a lot happier now than you used to be I know I'm a lot a lot more sane no but that side of you that like like sensitive and introspective and recognizing that kind of despair like if you lost that that would be really weird you know that'd be super weird I don't think I will though like because for the thing I stated earlier like I feel like that that is part of its tied to the good feelings it's part of having all the few rights and I think we should have all the feelings yeah I was thinking about your album from 2014 thinking about how the lyrics and like that that side of the like well thinking about how the lyrics sort of allow the listener to feel awful and like live through that with you so it's like even if I can't write those kind of songs or do something else creative or speak about it in a way that lets me let those feelings out something about listening to it empathizing with you as as a singer and like living through it kind of has a similar effect you know what I mean like my brain is mirroring the things that you're going through in those songs and I feel like that's part of why people like it so much because it's like an opportunity to like feel terrible and then let it go yeah at least I do I mean that there's nothing goodbye is like it's a it's a journey that way for me that's interesting I mean at anybody who's familiar with Elliott Smith will immediately recognize that I was influenced by him but like part of that is from there like and that's part of what was so inspiring about his music to me he was like never afraid of dealing with with those dark feelings and yet he did have these you know this really like beautiful music and it wasn't like it wasn't all dark but he definitely went down there and I sort of like when I got into Elliott Smith like I sort of felt a like soul mate in his songwriting you know sort of like this musical personality who I felt like I had been waiting for for a long time and still relate to a lot and so like I sort of felt like he had given me permission in a way to like to do that yeah even though I had dealt with dark subjects before right and like always have I feel like you know I was just at a point where I had been discouraged with music for a long time and like a combination of his music and guided by voices sort of helped me come out of the hole and start writing songs again and just putting down where I was at yeah totally we should we should come back to that let's jump back to grade school and stuff I remember I remember how much you would write and like notebooks and you had didn't you have like a some sort of chest full of yeah I still have it full of like scraps and stuff that you had written mm-hmm and you still have that what is it it's like a chest or yeah it's like a it's like a wooden chest with a lock on it and that oh my parents made well my brother my brother had a secret box nice um whoa and so I wanted a secret box and so my parents built me a secret box which is kind of a cool thing for a parent to do yeah I could have kept anything in there but as it happens I just kept notebooks I also have a lot of hand-drawn comics from elementary school oh really yeah so you still have that box you have your secret box and there's still comics in it and they're still writing in it there's still yeah a lot of the notebooks from that time yeah I'm not sure how far back they go it seems like some of those early ones disappeared I think you like burned them or something at some point I never burned him I thought about burning him okay I have gotten rid of some notebooks like I'll go through them and I will copy what I think is good out of them and then share them because most of it's trash and I don't know you know I just worry about people stumbling on my trash you know yeah it's I'm nervous to keep notebook like new notebooks around because the new stuff that I write is often just as trashy the old stuff do you feel like you have to write like a certain amount before you get to like something that you feel good about yeah definitely like well just because I feel like there's like inspiration mmm and that's like that's a great thing when you can get it but then like you need to do this work in between just to kind of keep the antennas up and so I feel like that ends up being you writing a lot of garbage in the meantime like kind of keeping the keeping the muscles going yeah and really I should be spending more time doing lyrics cuz I don't I don't spend enough time working on lyrics it's really hard for me lyrics are the hardest yeah well it's hard to find time you know what I mean like not only to write and practice and rehearse you know it's kinda like it's kind of a thing of like if you want to get there's some David Lynch quote about like if you want to get one good hour of painting you should schedule like for yeah because it's gonna take you three hours before you get to a point where you're in the zone enough you know yet or something like that unless it's just like I mean sometimes with writing I feel like it kind of just comes but that's that lucky like inspiration moment yeah yeah that's great when you can get it but like writing is also you know harder because for me like when I have some free time and I feel like my creative mind wants to work mm-hmm if I pick up a guitar I might not write anything good right but I can just play some chords and I'll feel good and like whatever doesn't have that like immediate dopamine type payoff okay yeah it's just like oh I'm writing like if I could write it in a way that was more immediately like emotional mmm more like direct then maybe I wouldn't feel that way and you know that is something to practice writing in a way that's more direct but yeah it's just not what I'm used to like grabbing for yeah yeah I feel like writing lyrics can just straight-up be scary sometimes because you have to go and I feel like you have to go into a different to world yeah maybe that's maybe that goes back to that thing of like if there's somebody around I can't do it because I know that that mental world is so easily shattered that like if the wrong thing hits your brain at the wrong time yeah it's just you like it's a waste and it's such a commitment to like get into that frame of mind you know yeah yeah and you know the the thing about lyrics is like people can tear it apart in a really objective way you know to mean like you're using the language that we all use to speak to one another and like if if I write a series of chords and some items up to me and says that chord doesn't fit there I can be like you know screw you yeah it does cuz yeah it's music and it's a different language and the rules are not based on the same right stuff right but like someone comes up to you and read your lyrics and says like that's not a word you know or something sure to that effect sir you're immediately more insecure about it yeah does that happen to you I don't know not that I can think of not specific examples but okay I've been like I've never felt like as good at lyrics I guess in turr writing do you do that to yourself yeah like you come up to yourself and you got like yeah that's not a word yeah or or like that's corny or that's cliche right I wish I could delete the part of my brain that says that's cliched because you know I know like or at least just actually flip it off mmm for a moment and then come back to it that's tricky too like the difference between writing brain and editing brain yeah I don't know how to make that happen yeah it's tough hopefully some day lyrics can feel like an instrument that'd be great yeah that would be good so you started writing oh man when did you start writing lyrics like pretty early yeah like I started playing guitar I was probably writing lyrics before I started playing guitar really his I didn't have a guitar but I had paper and seemed like the thing that was available Wow so you've very deliberately wanted to start writing songs yeah Wow when did that how did that happen I don't know you know it's it's funny because like I was never I was never like really into music as a kid um - fine I was interesting kid though well like up until I was in the fourth grade like music or maybe in the third grade third grade I got into my brother started listening to music he's oh wait here's older than me yeah there was a a Christian ska band called five iron frenzy yeah I got like really into yeah um and I can still I can still rock out to their stuff because they're awesome but and then Oh weird al' yankovic my uncle got some Weird Al Yankovic CDs like particularly running with scissors oh yes still classic he's amazing honestly he's yeah he is amazing yeah up until that point like I had been I had had a relationship to like sound but not to music sure I had a good memory for sound like I would memorize television commercials and recite them to my parents really like a pretty young age really like like you'd sing him like not not like the songs in commercials but like the dialogue of what yeah like I watched a lot of TV when I was a kid and like I would like learn I would just pick up all the words in a commercial and then when the commercial was on I would like recite it to my parents as it was going on or the same thing with like I learn you know I'd become very familiar with an episode of like Rugrats or something and then be able to recite the dialogue from it so I hadn't like a relationship to sound huh but like music and words in words and and like I would try to like imitate like explosion sounds and like sound effects but yeah it was never musical like I never it was like not until the Weird Al Yankovic five iron frenzy third grade where I got into like music music and then we got satellite TV in fourth grade and that was that was a game changer there is a channel called MuchMusic USA which is now a fuse is it still fuse fuse around yes it is still around it was much music was Canadian originally I think so or maybe not cuz it was much music USA well maybe yeah maybe it's like the USA outlet of it whatever but I remember they'd play like mostly at the time it seemed like mostly pop punk like the bands that stuck out were like blink 182 some 41 you know bands like that there's a those are the two that I can still get into from that period nice there was a lot of ones that I don't like anymore but what about what about like uh was brand new around that time brand new was like later that was like six seventh grade oh okay so specifically fourth grade you were listening to blink 182 and some party one yeah on MuchMusic and then eventually like okay I mean there was a bunch of bands like they had they would play older stuff but yeah I remember I think it was early in fifth grade I asked my mom and dad for it gets hard for my birthday and they got me this like really cheap Spanish nylon guitar oh it's like a $30.00 guitar but it was an acoustic yeah like a classical nylon string oh okay really cheap one huh so like for the first while I guess I would actually sit in front of the music video channel and like just kind of play the guitar like try to play along with things awesome and I particularly remember this one I I heard the song like this unbelievable song and I learned the riff for it because it was a really cool guitar riff and I remember coming up to my mom and being like mom I heard this great band there they'll called a nerve era and I played her the smells like teen spirit riff and I had misread it and she said no that's their called Nirvana and the lead singer killed himself she's she did she was like kind of nervous about me listening to Nirvana because they're a scary band for parents I think I wonder if that affected you like I mean yeah I don't know but it's I have like a crystal clear memory of that particular night Wow but yeah Nirvana became a big band I mean you were around by the time we got oh yeah absolutely they were big deal to me to like remember laying in bed listening to them like late at night they were like our bands for a while they were which makes sense really mm-hmm to veera their view right yeah that's great what riff from that did you learn Danny you learned the intro yeah but not the power core is just like a OneNote version oh that's pretty cool on your nylon mm-hmm I'm your ku stick guitar yeah that's so great so that was really fifth grade when did you get your first electric that was like that was the summer after fifth grade because I remember I had played your dad's Epiphone Les Paul Junior I mention the silver one yeah he's like he's our only 100 bucks and which is kind of insane yeah that's a cheap guitar and he said yeah check out musicians friend magazine and so like I checked out musicians friend magazine found the ad I think my parents helped me pay for it I can't remember I had some savings but they definitely helped and so I ordered one of those and it showed up one day in the summer and that's my first electric and I played that for like like 10 years or something yeah you still played a little bit yeah it still comes comes out of the case nice and you I remember you talking about at some point you were playing guitar for like hours a day what would that have been like right away or when you got your electric yeah that was pretty much like right away but the electric definitely like kicked it up yeah yeah cuz it was easier to play right interaction sure I could plug it into my brothers and I actually like my brother had an electric before I did it was like this Squire strat and he had like an amp for it and he would let me play it sometimes when he wasn't using it and he never really learned guitar but like so for me like I started sort of before I had my guitar on his guitar I kind of forget about that but yeah so I used his amp with with my new guitar and then I had distortion and that was Oh a game changer amp Distortion yeah yeah like the button mm-hmm yeah huh why why guitar cuz you guys have a piano mm-hmm why do you well maybe the question is obvious yeah well I don't know I don't know when we got the piano because my that was my grandparents piano and they had it in Underwood for a long time then when they moved to Bismarck we got it but the piano had always kind of been just like furniture I mean I mess around with it at my grandparents house cuz it was potable when it was there I remember I liked hitting the lowest note because it sounded cool but like I think it was just yeah because like because blink-182 and some 41 were using guitars yeah which is why I was like oh maybe that is obvious like it's just like culture has just been fanatic about guitars since the 60s so we're right earlier than that really which I don't know why but they are they're cool they are cool it you know it's interesting I heard some like NPR thing I think it was recently some guy from way back in the day and he was talking about how guitars didn't used to be a cool instrument I was thinking like when was that right yeah guitars have been like the coolest instrument for a long time you know all the instruments are cool but guitar is always gonna be like the coolest for me yeah you can do so much with that yeah and you can like run around you run around and kick things yeah you can kick things and I hope this isn't like really boring it's not you wanna have any that D are you bored no do you feel like people are gonna be bored I don't I don't know I I think yeah I don't know I think I think you could always wonder that you know what I mean like I think that would be like pretty ruinous yeah you know what I mean that's true I just I feel like when I talk to people I bore them like there are there are born stalkers who are Taylor for instance it's one of these people who yeah he's a great storyteller he can like keep anybody's attention when he talks and I've never felt like I had that yeah but if we kind of like only let those people talk the stories get much less like there's much less variance to the stories I think yeah I don't know I don't I don't listen you ever and go like I'm bored you know what I mean yeah yeah but we're friends but I guess you know most people get bored way too easily anyway so yeah yeah no there's honestly there's no way I would rather do podcasts than just talking to people cuz there's not enough of that mm-hm really there's so many podcasts that are like I kind of highly produce now and like I love that but I'm also kind of like can I just listen to some people talk about being alive because that's my favorite part yes it's about me yeah yes two dudes talking they just let the conversation go yeah and it's it's fascinating and to me a big part of doing this is searching for sort of like a collective wisdom mm-hm you know that's my my selfish goal out of all of this is like I want to learn more about how people exist so hearing you say things just all this stuff that's making me connect dots like thinking about you in front of your television watching much music or fuse playing guitar is exactly the same thing Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart did really yeah except they were listening in to 45s and it was like early rock and roll R&B they would listen to him Zappa would sit there with his guitar and figure out how to plan you know what I mean there's always things like that that if you listen close enough like you can find all these connections and that's really fascinating to me it's also like that's the way to do it you know that you have specific instance of like you sitting there listening to songs and figuring them out it's always great to have a teacher but that what you did is way more important because it's you're internalizing something yeah and also I think just judging from the people who have done that and the effect that you can see later on that that it has obviously had you know points to that being the a way to whether you're listening to people in the room or listening to people pre-recorded I I will forever be jealous of your ability like your ear and your ability to like hear people playing chords and then go just like play what they were playing you know without even thinking about it really and I have no doubt that that comes out of that so I don't know I don't I don't care what people are bored cuz it's like I'm learning something from you you know to me good yeah and so I know other people will be you know yeah dude yeah I think I feel like everybody has to learn by ear at some point even if they get lessons and and sometimes I wish I had more theory like I wish I knew my scales and I wish I could find my way around a guitar through a solo without playing bad notes and stuff but um yeah but you can play a ripping solo dude yeah you know the only difference is I fuck up once a while and I don't have the technique to do ya fancy stuff well which is fine you know it it is what it is I'm just saying like but ultimately like you know I played trauma one for a long time that's right yeah I totally forgot about that that started in fourth grade okay and I played until sophomore year and I quit band did that have any connection to like five iron frenzy were you like oh ska no I mean I thought it was cool that I played brass instruments and they played breast instruments but um but that happened and I thought eventually I would be like them you thought you thought you would be in a ska band I'm saying yeah like my parents the reason I started band is because my brother was a trumpet player in Banton like I said he's four years ahead of me some of my parents were like we want you to be in band and I thought about being an orchestra they're like what do you want you to be in band oh I don't know what why that choice was maybe just because if you listen to any Orchestra like below the below the college level they're terrible sure or maybe they wanted to see you like you know in marching bands and stuff yeah yeah possibly possibly that too and so you know they had the day where you try out the instruments and I just thought the trombone was cool because it slides wow I forgot about that day mm-hmm that was a day is that weird it is weird what did you try I tried out a saxophone okay try it out a trumpets I don't think I tried out drums I think my parents didn't want didn't want me to play drums I could be remembering that wrong but you know I don't blame him right drums are a pain in the ass my parents yeah yeah but yeah the trombone is cool because it had the sliding thing and I've actually been thinking about getting my trombone cleaned and like just man starting up again because it's it's a really cool instrument and I would like to relearn it by ear because the academic environment like its kind of killed my love of the instrument yeah why do why did that happen for you why did what like why did the academic environment kill your love of the instrument I'll see you back here next week for more with Robert Cramer including an answer to that question if you want to hear Roberts music just head over to Prairie goth comm there's links and stuff as always on the blog or head over to just Robert Cramer VanCamp calm and hit me up very goth is on Facebook I'm on Twitter and Instagram as at Nora the janitor or just give me a call shoot me a text seven oh one four seven one eight five one eight I love getting feedback it's always really fun to hear from listeners alright let's do this upcoming events and stuff February 13th Oh yadda records all ages Punk extravaganza 7 p.m. let's see it's 8 bucks and who's playing crab legs from Fargo entropy grand forks the contraceptives grand forks spirit of youth grand forks and our IP off Bemidji our IP off and that name is my name is deep like ripoff but it's like you know that hand off are they dead they'd is that band dead it may be I don't know deep ok too deep for me alright in Bismarck at laughing Sun brewery lost horses on February 13th a p.m. also February 13th 8 p.m. ten bucks all ages 1603 main events in Bismarck DJ Lex DJ ignite young thoroughbreds and Mac and February 13th big day for shows what's a mileage CD release show with disappear forever three bucks ten p.m. Grand Forks at at the hub their new album mileage their albums called sunset clause and they have CDs of it and yeah go go pick that up because it's awesome and next week is new direction fest 5 February 19th 20th and the 21st at the new direction in Fargo it's 10 bucks for a daily pass 24 for an advance three-day pass or it's 25 bucks at the door check out this lineup Friday tiny moving parts Kip G unturned Baltic to boardwalk crab legs they nice Saturday afternoon they have a record fair slash punk rock punk rock garage sale along with lost cause infinite me Pierre the jazz committee problem of pain casual past the flask Saturday there's like a late night acoustic show Kyle Colby grazing most / simple and aqua and equation kwa I s kwa I see I am feel like an idiot don't know how to prance that sorry Sunday household swing low Dakota fa high hopes avoid atrocities I wish I could make it to this show kind of bummed that I can't I was thinking about taking taking some time off and just going out there for the whole weekend but had too much to do which is sad but you should go check it out it's kind of funny cuz I feel like a lot of it is like just you know your normal hardcore bands plus a hip-hop which is which is nice and it looks like there's a buttload of people going so I'm sure it's gonna be a blast I'm super bummed actually honestly that I'm not going super bummed but oh well that same day February 19th Friday next Friday at the aquarium there's Bell which rec Meister harmonies still and Verger on Sunday the 21st in Williston at the James Memorial Arts Center we've got the Dreyfus Affair the amber lamps wolves among ruin taco as in talk - oh is it yeah okay that one's that we were doing to say anyway blah blah blah I wish I could go that Wilson is awesome right now I haven't seen any of those bands except the amber lamps but the amber lamps are sick the show is called Great Plains underground presents Wilson music at its finest so rock and roll over that the 24th at side B we got your aqua prom date bummer and I think there's some more Friday February 26 7 p.m. Otis and James and my not we got pocket vinyl they're from New London Connecticut and it's like one dude playing piano and and then another person it's like on stage like painting at the same time I'm gonna be playing the show and vanity plate drell Prospero I don't know who that is I think I think that I don't know if that is somebody on tour or not but and then central and main which I believe this Cody from femininity Florida Sparrow hexagonal sky and then that same night in Minot I'm gonna be jumping over for a second to this service for our brilliant real truth is doing a release party there for his new album star seed we got Dan Christensen Dave Carlson Dakota Fae and I believe all of this and people will be there gents onion and cold sweat Allen is like only five bucks I think there's also yeah it's trivia night they're too cool so it does like a trivia night so yep and that's all I got for February right now I think upcoming albums real truth star seat of course and then Jen Sonia and cold sweat both from Zen people are dropping albums in like mid March so keep an eye out for that also why not Fest is coming up in August they have a submissions thing go to like why not fast tumblr calm or look them up on Facebook submit your band it's the best you should definitely play it and barf cart recordings is putting out a whole bunch of new stuff suspicion is dropping a tape some thumb just dropped some stuff on their Bandcamp and they're doing a tape to I think later later in February so check that out I think it's just barf cart recordings calm or just you know look it up yeah barf cart like you vomit into a shopping cart barf cars recordings get on that check it out if you have an event or a album that's dropping or whatever I'm gonna always just at the end of the show do a big long list I know a lot of people get frustrated with like it's hard to find information about what shows are going on in North Dakota so this is my little like tiny little bit of help towards that just hit me up if you're doing a thing or if you're releasing a thing or it doesn't have to be music - it could be an art gallery it could be blah blah I'll just put it in here at the end if you're interested in sponsoring the show or having an ad write up at top hit me up blah blah capitalism yes capitalism starts the show and then we end the show with a community sorry guys love you anyway thanks for listening I'm Nora the janitor this Prairie goth stick around for the future love you bye I'm living in the world