Bonus questions plus an excerpt from my cover feature interview with Zoe Kravitz, Jimmy Giannopoulos and James Levy of ‘Lolawolf‘, in the new issue of Greenroom Magazine.
*click photos to view larger image
written by: Cipriana Quann
via: Greenroom Magazine
Photos: Brad Ogbonna
Some of you have had a past rich in the arts, whether it be music, film, designing etc, and have had the emotional support to pursue your passions. What advice would you give to those pursuing a dream in the arts but without the emotional support from family or friends.
Zoe: Run away…
James: That’s pretty hard…
Zoe: I don’t know, that’s a hard question, I mean I am able to function because I have amazing support from my friends and family, I can’t really imagine doing this without their support.
James: It wasn’t easy for me [turns to Jimmy], was it easy for you? It was not easy, sometimes you just do it…
Zoe: but I don’t know if you can do it without support, I think if your family is not supportive you make your own family, you know this is also my family in a lot of ways.
James: Support from friends too but when you are young and not quite that good yet, you know it’s pretty frustrating moving to New York and playing open mike, being scared, that’s the hard part.
James: You just have to believe
Jimmy: If you love doing it, you just practice it like anything else and then you get better. I mean every time we finish a song after the next time, we think the last song wasn’t as good.
Zoe: Its true, sometimes I think now I don’t like the old EP as much as the new one once you walk away.
Jimmy: It’s more internal and personal, I feel if you don’t have support or something, it depends what kind of person you are I guess, but it’s whatever makes you happy, so you feel good creating something, whether it’s art or whatever. It’s all about how you feel at the end of the day, so if you are doing it and you feel great, it’s kind of logical, you should keep doing what feels good. If you are doing it and you don’t feel right, then…
Zoe: but sometimes you have to feel shitty, right…
Jimmy: Well to feel right, not good but feel right, because if you don’t do something that you are in to, if you’re doing shit, like working at a bar, which I’ve done my whole life, fucking fifteenth days in a row, thirteen hour shifts and you finally get a day off, you feel like fucking shit, you know, you feel like garbage but then if you work four days straight you have an album or something and you feel amazing, so just go off of that, well this feels better, let me work and work on music on my days off.
Zoe: I think it’s weird for this generation though because there’s this thing with instant gratification now. You put a picture on instagram, it’s like how many people liked it immediately, you know what I mean, we’re use to feeling things immediately…
Jimmy: but I feel like we are old enough because we spent the first five years in NY without cell phones…
Zoe: but I’m talking about the people who don’t, it’s like writing a song, the first song might be really bad, the first 10 or 12 songs might be really bad, but you have to go through that and find it. I feel like younger people now forget that, so if you are not famous right away, people aren’t listening to your music right away…you know you gotta go through that.
Jimmy: Yeah, the internet is a cool tool for something like that, to find if you are an artist and you live in some place in Iowa and there is no one in the neighborhood or town that you can click with, you can go on the internet and if you’re fucking anything, you can find a group of people that you belong to and then you feel better
Probably one of the main reasons why I love the internet and social media…
Zoe: Yeah, its weird because it’s a big reason, connecting people, finding your drive…
Jimmy: You can even see that in nerds in culture, whatever nerds mean, like you know when you were a kid if you were a nerd you weren’t fucking cool, just wasn’t the way it was but I feel like the nerds, and me probably being one of them, you find on the internet they all grouped together, people found each other and now they’re better than everybody, they’re smarter, probably more creative and now if you’re a nerd that’s cool. I think the internet is a good thing if you don’t have support from people to find them.
If you could could spend the weekend with anyone (past or present) who would it be and why?
Zoe: Ooh weekend…I immediately get sexual with that, is that ok? [laughs] Well if you are going to spend a whole weekend with someone. I would think of the weekend I spent with Jimi Hendrix in a cabin in upstate New York, now that would be amazing! You’re going to get naked…no? [laughs] Jimi Hendrix would be fun and amazing!
Jimmy: I would say Bob Dylan but he that would be too much in his prime, you wouldn’t get a word out of him.
James: Dylan in ’69′
Jimmy: Like Lennon, ’77′
Jimmy: When he is chill in New York, he’s normal at that point. That would be cool, walking through central park, you could have a real conversation with this guy.
Zoe: Jimmy (Hendrix) would probably be like it’s groovy man or Jeff Buckley
Zoe: Fuck yeah!
Jimmy: You know who would be really fucking cool, Arthur Russell when he moved to New York
Zoe: Patti Smith when she moved to New York
James: Her and Buddy Holly
Zoe: That’s really hard
Zoe: The question, we really haven’t given her an answer, we are just kind of naming people [laughs]
James: ok, I say John Lennon
Jimmy: Yeah I would say late, late John Lennon
Zoe: I’m a cross between Jimi and Buckley
James: Thats crazy, Buckley? Who knew.
Zoe: Why is that crazy, well I’m thinking about lying in bed with him for a weekend, and he is going to sing to me plus he was very good looking.
Jimmy: This is a great question
Zoe: OOOOOOOOH, awe shit, Bob Marley! Bob Marley might get it, I mean he could get it…he got it, it’s his.
Jimmy: I’m wonder what Michael Jackson would be like
Zoe: Nooooooooooooooooooooo [laughs]
Jimmy: Like 1984,
James: Around 22 when he is making Thriller.
Jimmy: Yeah when he was making ‘Thriller’, one of the best pop records ever made.
All of the records in the world are wiped out by a strange apocalyptic phenomenon therefore the only records that exist are of those from private collections. Your house is on fire and you can save one record, which one and why?
Zoe: Oh my God! Only one?
James: Is this the desert island question?
Zoe: No this is only one, we usually pick 5…
Zoe: This is upsetting
OK, how about 2 records then…
Zoe: Jesus…it’s hard, because you think of the best album but then you think about what you want to listen to over and over again.
James: The kind of mood that you want
Zoe: Yeah what do want to listen to when there is fire everywhere, people in anarchy, what do you want to dance to [laughs]
James: Good question
Zoe: FUCK, this is hard
James: Shit but we now get two
Jimmy: I know one for sure, and it’s not because I love this guy but if I am putting myself in that mode, I think Brian Eno’s ‘Music for Airports’ is a must!
Zoe: That’s true
Jimmy: You put that on…I feel you would need that in that space
Zoe: It would calm you down
Jimmy: It’s just fucking good! That’s got to be the chill one, then you need something to make you move.
Zoe: I think I would have to bring ‘Sign O’ the Times’…
Jimmy: Could it be greatest hits [laughs]
Zoe: Maybe Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, that would make you happy!
Zoe: Sorry we are taking this way too seriously.
James: I think I would take the Leonard Cohen record because there is all that fire outside, you just want to chill and the words are good.
Zoe: Otis Redding
James: Imagine all you had left was your friend’s bad band, like the record you never listened to, that would be interesting…
Zoe: I rather not listen to anything…OR what about D’Angelo, ‘Voodoo’ but then you just wanna procreate all the time, you might need that if the world is going to end.
Jimmy: I feel like if this was ‘High Fidelity’ we would be able to answer you really easily.
Zoe: Yeah because you would be reading out of a script. I would be John Cusack, he would have a list ready to go. Such a good movie. We should watch that. Oh sorry, wait, did we answer the question…
Jimmy: I know what I would pick for sure, I would pick Eno
James: I’ll take Motown’s greatest hits and Leonard Cohen
Zoe: ooh thats a really good choice.
What is the most valuable experience you have learned from the music industry?
Zoe: I don’t even think about the music industry anymore, I don’t know how much of a music industry there is anymore
Jimmy: I think the most valuable lesson is that it doesn’t really exist…
Zoe: Yeah it doesn’t exist…because like labels use to own everything, and the only way you were going to make it, and someone’s going to discover you and let you in the club, but it’s not like that anymore. It’s amazing, there is no fucking industry, you can get your shit out there if you want to.
James: or not…
Zoe: I don’t know, it’s not real which is awesome.
Jimmy: Yeah when you were younger, you would have to go to the record store and buy the records that were there, that was it and your friends would give you a mix tape, that was your world, that’s it. It just depends where you fall on the fucking globe, that is your soundtrack but now you can get anything, anytime from your pocket, so the industry just doesn’t exist how it use to, very abstract…
So the industry is like the Matrix…
Jimmy: Someone could put a YouTube video up and the have a fucking career.
Zoe: It is like the Matrix…yeah that’s your answer [laughs]
First memory of music or something musically that made a major impact when you were younger? (excerpt from magazine)
James: The first thing I got into was Prince; Cream, that’s when I started liking music.
Zoe: It’s weird for me because I grew up around music a lot, so I feel like I have these memories of being very young with my Mom. She always had music on, a lot of Bob Marley, Van Morrison, but I didn’t appreciate it until later, it was ingrained into my head and I knew all the music but I didn’t really appreciate it, and then I went through this phase where I was like 13 or 14 living in Miami, and the music scenes not great there, so it was a lot of like what was on the radio and then I remember moving to NY when I was 15, I discovered The Beatles, Nirvana and Prince. I remember listening to ‘Nevermind’ and my mind being blown and living in a city where you can put on headphones and walk around all day, you discover new music that way.
James: Like The Beatles
Zoe: I remember coming home after I went to Virgin and brought ‘Abby Road’ and my Dad was like, “THANK GOD, I was worried for awhile” [laughs]. I remember putting that on and ‘Abby Road’ just blowing my mind.
James: How about Motown?
Zoe: Yeah! Like Sly Stone too, who was a big deal for me. Oh and Prince, ‘Sign O’ the Times’.
Jimmy: First music memories I have are being in my Dad’s car and hearing Lionel Richie and Bruce Springsteen and my Dad s being like “Jimmy this is Lionel Richie” [Laughs as he impersonates in a deep voice] and I was like “what the fuck is this”, I mean I was really, really young. I remember another huge memory walking down the street on the sidewalks of Chicago and hearing The Beastie Boys and remember hearing it in my cousin’s room when their first record came out., like in ’86′, I was so young and I was like “what is this”. Then also my cousin dubbing a tape from me and putting Skid Row on the tape and stuff like that, it was crazy.
Zoe: [singing] “Remember yesterday”
Jimmy: [laughing] Yeah, I knew about grunge but I was still pretty young and then I was thirteen I actually met Eddie Vedder and then became friends with him as a kid and he invited me to Pearl Jam shows. He took me to all these places, I went to Australia, I got to go to all these cool shows.
Zoe: So fucking cool, I mean he told me this story but really casually six months ago…
James: He was like your big brother
Zoe: I was like you were friends with Eddie Vedder and traveled the world with him
Jimmy: I remember taking the Greyhound to Seattle when I was seventeen when I was like I want to come to Seattle and he (Vedder) was like come! It took me 2 and half days to get there, I walk backstage and I smell like shit and I’m like “I’m fucking here” and he was like “oh whats up” and I said “I took a Greyhound here”.
I remember being backstage and was like “Jakob Dylan can I bum one of those cigarettes” and he gave me this look and was like “…ok” [laughs] and I thought this is cool, and I got to meet Iggy Pop and all those people backstage. It got to the point where I would see who is opening and go to that show because I was lucky enough to call and get tickets and go back and meet the fucking opener but I would barely even talk to them, I would just kind of stare at them. It was weird, just kind of drinking and hanging out.
With Eddie though, there was no crazy shit going on, I was pushed away from it. I remember when I was twenty and I was like “there are so many fucking hot girls here” and he said “be a gentleman”.
Zoe: That’s why you are such a gentleman
Jimmy: Those words were so important to me because I expected to hear something else. Like my friends were like “yeah you should fuck her”, you know, we were punks and Eddie was said “no, you have to be cool”, you remember that and then you become that person and you say that to your friends.
Zoe: He tells me to be a gentleman all the time [laughs]
With ‘A Road Within’ what do you think the audience will take away from your role, especially regarding body image?
Zoe: Its a very serious thing. I took the role because it was a fantastic role and fantastic script, but I have gone through my own issues with eating disorders and body image and I kind of wanted to turn that into art, like if you have some demons inside of you it’s really good to exercise them that way, and try to turn them around. It was scary for me, because I feel I have come really far with my own self-acceptance and to go back in like that, it was really vulnerable going back down the rabbit hole you never know if you are going to come back out…