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On The Beat with Journalism

photo by Jeanette D. Moses

Journalism are an indie rock outfit out of Brooklyn, NY. Their first full-length, Faces, was released last year and was hailed by MTV as “post-punk reaching for something greater”; their follow-up dual release of “The Current” and breakout single “It Just Hits You” garnered them further praise from the likes of Stereogum, who praised their “vibrantly chiming guitar songs that paint bright melodies on a hard-charging alt-rock canvas”. Kegan from the band took the time ahead of their much-anticipated Elsewhere debut on December 4th to chat about getting inspired, New York’s DIY scene, and their soundtrack to walking the city streets.

Did a particular artist or music video inspire the direction you took with the “It Just Hits You” video that you released earlier this year?

The blown-out, voyeuristic way this Fiona Apple video is shot does a great job of conveying the emotions in the lyrics. For our video, we used a homemade fractal filter on the camera to portray the hazy feeling of being kind of permanently self-medicated.

There’s so many music videos where someone is walking around the city because it’s a great, low-budget way to capture tons of unique locations and convey a sense of wandering. But maybe the best one is where Vanessa Carlton is magically doing this while behind an antique piano.

What’s your go-to song or album for walking the streets of NYC?

The Rolling Stones made all these amazing “Promo Videos,” many of them before there were really music videos. The “Tattoo You” era yielded some wild ones but my favorite is probably “Waiting On a Friend” which features Keith walking through a 1981 LES on his way to meet Mick and head to a local dive bar. More than once I’ve found myself putting this on while walking around down there to pay homage.

You seem to be really involved in the local music scene. Have there been any new songs, or newly emerging artists, locally that have really stood out to you recently?

We’re perhaps biased because Dara is a former member of Journalism, but Operator Music Band makes some of the best music videos of any band from around here. In addition to the two amazing videos Dara directed, their latest one is completely animated — a real 420-friendly adventure full of colorful shapes and cartoon versions of the band members.

You’ve also played at and posted about DIY venues and house shows throughout the city. Has there been a band or performance that you saw in a DIY space that really stood out to you?

There’s always some space or another cropping up even as some close down. There’s been a few good shows at an apartment/loft space off the Wilson L train stop. Some of our good friends in the band Suncruiser played their first show there a few months back and I recently saw Felicia Douglass do a great late-night set there.

Is there an artist you turn to for inspiration if and when you find yourselves stuck in a creative rut?

We each have our own inspirations but for me, Drake is a constant one. His ego is so big that his confidence rubs off on me whenever I listen to him. Putting on a solid Drake song (especially “Take Care” era) is a quick cure for self-doubt, creative or otherwise.

Interview by Morgan Lawrence

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