Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mini-Interview Thursday: Pea Hix

I'd like to proudly present Mini-Interview Thursday Special Guest Pea Hix! The man is a humble guy that knows his stuff, takes it seriously and can back it up! Some may know Pea as the Keyboard player and part mastermind of the Lo-fi (up till recently) Musical act Optiganally Yours. They have released two albums to date: 'Exclusively Talentmaker!' and 'Spotlight On' as well as appearances on several compilations including 'Better than the Beatles - A Tribute to the Shaggs' and 'Powerpuff Girls 'Heroes & Villains'. Keeping with a somewhat simple and stylized approach the group consists of only 2 members: Pea and Rob Crow (Pinback, HeavyVegetable, Other Men, GoblinCock, Thingy & More). Oh, and the live shows simply amazing! With backstage players and multiple costume changes you will be thrown into a whirlwind of emotions. I think I almost cryed during a live performance of my favorite song 'The Oar' once but then realized I was looking at half naked men wearing capes and plastic viking helmets. Read on and please check out Pea and his hella interesting interests.

Mike Sutfin: Two part question: Can you please explain what first attracted you to the optigan as a musical instrument? How many of these wondrous machines do you own?

Pea Hix: i've always been into obsolete and also-ran technologies. the nice thing about musical instruments is that, unlike some other types of technology, they never really become "obsolete" completely, because there's always some sort of unique character to an instrument that just can't be replicated in any other way, and if it's a sonic color that you need to use, then it's not obsolete. i've always felt that the character of a musical instrument is most importantly defined by what it *can't* do, rather than what it *can* do. that's why so many modern synthesizers are really boring- they all do everything, to the point where it's difficult to distinguish one from another. but something like an optigan is so limited, yet theoretically had huge potential to provide an *unlimited* variety of sounds. that, in fact, is how it was marketed. to me, it's far more interesting to work within a set of limitations rather than having an infinite number of possibilities available. to me, having too many options tends to stifle my creativity- i spend too much time trying to choose what i want to do, and second-guessing whether or not i should have done something else, rather than just getting on with it and making the most of a limited set of options. because, you know, there's always an infinite range of possibilities even within the narrowest of confines. but back to your original question, it's not just the fact that the optigan is a very limited instrument that attracted me, it's of course the actual sound of it as well, which i find very haunting and mysterious. and to me, mystery is the most important element of any kind of art.

PH: as to how many optigans i own, the answer is... who knows? it all depends on whether the gutted ones count, etc, but the last time i tried to nail it down, it was something like 12?

MS: You are an accomplished man of the outdoors. You recently hiked entire Pacific Crest Trail (A trail reaching from the Mexico border all the way to Canada). I won't ask you to reiterate your experience since you already documented your journey in a detailed Trail Journal. I'm just wondering how you came to decide to take on such a huge challenge? Was it at all scary to just say to yourself Ok, I'm gonna hike 2663 miles?

PH:i've always been into hiking, but have only taken up backpacking in recent years. i don't believe in astrology at all, but for what it's worth, i definitely identify as a classic gemini, in the sense that i tend to be an all-or-nothing type person. so, going on a weekend backpacking trip never really appealed to me much- too much hassle for just a short trip. i'd rather just go day-hiking with a bottle of water in my hand. but hiking the pct was a completely different idea. it allowed me to fully give myself over to that world, for a long period of time. long-distance backpacking isn't like normal weekend backpacking. it's a full-time job. your main task is to make lots of miles every day. there's not alot of time for sitting around by lakes, etc. it was a regimen that really made sense to me. i'm not sure if i would describe the idea of hiking the pct as "scary," more that it was just daunting. and it must be said that i, like most folks, didn't just wake up one day and decide to hike the pct. over the course of 3 years, there were several shorter hikes leading up to it, which gave me the skills and confidence i needed to tackle the big trail. you really don't get an appreciation for just how epic this challenge is until you get, say, a little past the halfway point. at that point, you feel like you've been out there forever, and that you still have forever to go. that's when most folks end up quitting- it really hits them that this is a BIG thing. and the psychological challenge is much greater than the physical challenge.

MS: I know you like going to garage sales bright and early seeking out forgotten and discarded Ebay gems. What's the most valuable item you've procured?

PH: hmm... good question. tough to say exactly, because some items strike me as being more exciting/significant than others, regardless of how much actual profit i made. i always think of this one really rare record i bought for .70 and sold for $1900-, but almost never remember this rare speaker i bought for $20- and sold for $3500-. also, there are other scores where i bought a lot of items in one bulk deal, that i tend to think of as one thing, even though there were several distinct items. i bought a closet full of old hi-fi gear for $50 that i made a total of about $8k on. and i bought a large collection of books for $10 that i made about $6k on. i've been doing this for about 10 years, so the list goes on and on and on and on... but i have friends that have made much bigger scores than me. last year a friend of mine bought a coffee table for $100- and sold it for $62k.

MS: Any hopes in terms of a new Optiganally Yours album? ETA?

PH: you know, it's funny. the new OY record, called "OY In Hi-Fi," has been in the works for years. i was just thinking about this, and realized that we started work on this record right around the time that pinback was just starting up. so yeah, it's l-o-n-g overdue. rob always seems to have bigger fish to fry, and i'm a notorious procrastinator. we work on it occasionally, but just haven't managed to hit that pocket of time where we can just crank it out and finish it. BUT (and i've been saying this for awhile), i think we're getting close to hitting that pocket, and when we do, it shouldn't take us much time to finish it up. in the meantime, i've posted various demos and things on the OY myspace page:

Optigonally Yours
Pea's PCT Trail Journal
Optigonally Yours MySpace

Thanks Pea! off to sleep...

Sketchbook Aug. 16th 2007

Did this drawing while waiting to meet some friends in the city today. I had a blast and think I will try to do more sketching when I can. Started out just drawing Valencia St. then Willie Nelson came on the radio and I drew the beardy guy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Meet Van Stone

I've done a few projects for Van Stone over the past couple years. I just do it because I'm afraid if I don't I might get my ass kicked or something.

Debut Album Cover
T-Shirt Design/Turbonegro Gigposter

Colored version of the Logo

Dave Sheridan, Um I mean Randy Van Stone happens to be a man of many charachters...

Newest Video 'Beer Run':

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Monday, August 6, 2007

Viking Mania

Took this pic on the way home from Long Beach. Apparently Viking attire is catching on rapidly.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Stick my blog on your fridge

A new sticker! Heavy doody 2 color on clear vinyl (3"x4.5"). Pavillion Nomme Sansqartier translates to 'Flag of No Quarter' which basically means 'Take No Prisoners'. Pirates would raise this flag, and if you ever saw it flying, you're days were numbered. This design is my take on an old Pirate Jolly Roger. I left all web info off the faceplate so it could stand on it's own like a mighty warrior. Sticker available for $1 in the STORE section of my website.


Usugrow x Nate Van Dyke

These two incredibly talented artists are teaming up and sharing Upper Playground's two-story gallery space located at 252 Fillmore St. San Francisco, CA 94117. Usugrow has traveled from Japan and will be on hand. The opening reception starts at 7 this Thursday [Aug. 2nd 2007].


Nate Van Dyke

CCi 2007 Book Bag


I feel pretty recharged after this years comicon. I saw so many great artworks and met a ton of cool people. Motivation @ level 10. The books I got this year include:
Tim Biskup's Jackson 500 Vol. 3
Brice Timm 2007 Sketchbook
Travis Charest Sketchbook 2007
Sanjulian Sketchbook
Frank Cho Sketchbook 4
Barron Storey 'Life After Black'
Terada 'Zenbu'
Simone Bianchi 'Oinirika'
Enrique Fernandez 'Les Liberateurs'
Black and White Images 'Third Annual' (not pictured).
I also scored a Pushead Damnedron Hand Painted/Stippled figure this year. He's hiding in the picture.