After going on US tour this summer, Logan Lynn, the winner of last year’s Queer Video Music Award, has announced in August that he would be taking an extended break from the music industry and leave “Beat The World Records”, a label founded and led by the Dandy Warhols. Instead he released his fourth record “I Killed Tomorrow Yesterday”, the follow-up to “From Pillar To Post” independently in August, donating 100% of his profits to Portland’s Q Center where he is currently working. What led the songwriter to all these decisions and how they influenced his life he explains in an interview I did with him via email during the last two weeks. I also posted “Smoke Rings”, another track from “I Killed Tomorrow Yesterday” right below this introduction – the track is the perfect background music for the following text. A second free song from the album called “Things Are Looking Up” can be found in one of October’s Music Tickers.
What interests me first of all is the question if you’d consider your new album “I Killed Tomorrow Yesterday” a “conceptual album”. To me especially compared to the stuff you’ve done before it seems very consistent, as if the decision to do this kind of eighties-pop-influenced dance music may have been a very conscious decision.
Yes, both the producer Bryan Cecil and I wanted to make a dance record. We had worked together on my cover of “The Last High” by The Dandy Warhols from January of this year. The idea of doing some vintage disco dancepop take on that song was deliberate and we wrote “I Killed Tomorrow Yesterday” at the same time so we were already planted in 80’s dance party mode. Obviously I’m a child of the 80’s and 90’s and that comes out in what I listen to and what I create. Bryan wanted it to be authentic, like a time machine and I wanted it to sound like what I grew up imagining my records would sound like someday.
We ended up doing exactly that so it seemed like a perfect time to step away for awhile. The record is about me being totally disillusioned and leaving. Not sure if life imitated art or vice versa…but I’m much, MUCH happier ever since I did the whole career suicide bit in August. The overall concept was to have a big, spectacular going away party. “Fall Into New Arms” was chosen as the last track just in case it was literally the last song I ever put out. I’m not saying that it will be…but I could live with that.
What exactly does „career suicide“ mean? What happend in August?
I spent the last 3 years signed to The Dandy Warhols owned and operated “Beat The World” records label and it ended up not really going as anyone had hoped. Here is a quote from Dandy frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor if you want his take on the whole thing:
“We’re terrible at business, terrible. We don’t know what we’re doing. It’s like trying to have children run a household. We need to hook up with some indie label. The new stuff is sounding good. It’s a little less dirty so far.”
So…yeah. That pretty much sums it up. I love the Warhols and everybody had really great intentions going in but the label fizzled and my last record fell victim to that. No radio, no real distribution, no licensing, no PR. Without those things in place artists fail and, well…that’s what I did.
Being determined to fulfill my obligations to them and everyone I had working for me, I embarked on a US tour over the Summer and paid for everything out of pocket myself. By July I had reached a breaking point with waiting for things to get better and, in the meantime, had written a record about being disillusioned and not really wanting what I thought I had wanted for so long…so I started poking holes in the boat to sink it and began lining up a new life for myself in the non-profit world. By August I was done. You can read more about that here if you like. The Portland gay paper interviewed me shortly after I announced that I was going to call it quits for awhile (instead of continuing to tour, etc.). Here’s that link: http://blogout.justout.com/?p=20855
My new record is a charity for Q Center and I’ve thrown myself into working full time for their organization in the months since. My unhappiness went away almost as soon as I announced how unhappy I was. I just needed to take control of my life, my future, my career…instead of letting other people dictate it all for me.
I must say that it impresses me how openly you talk about all this. I mean it’s sort of a taboo in the cultural field to talk about failing, even if it is just a commercial problem. I guess it’s because a lot of people still like to think that if you aren’t successful it is because you “haven’t earned” it, because you haven’t really put your shoulder to the wheel or aren’t creative enough or stuff like that…
Yeah, tell me about it. You wouldn’t believe how very unpopular my decision to strip away the facade has been. I kinda feel like I’m one of those rat magicians that goes on TV and exposes how all their tricks are performed, but I couldn’t deal with everybody thinking everything was awesome when it wasn’t. It made me feel fucking gross. I’ve always been honest in my songs. Regretfully so, at times … so the whole pop thing started to feel weird. Like … people got weird in 2007 and the longer I was away from the world the weirder they got. This summer’s tour was the turning point. I just couldn’t deal with being on the road. It got really lonely and I just wasn’t enjoying it. I got to a point where I was just sick of people screwing me over, using me, talking about my body in gay magazines … just all of that started to creep me out in a way where I really felt like I had no future.
I’m about 10 weeks into my “break” (which isn’t a break at all, but more of a full time gear shift) and suddenly feel like that’s all been fixed. A little bit of purpose goes a long way. I’m around nice people every day now. Nobody’s trying to fuck me over. Nobody’s judging me for what I look like. Nobody’s trying to market me to anyone. I’m just alive. I go to work. I help people. It’s great.
In retrospect I would take a stage name but when that 1st record was being recorded I was 17 so … nothing that has happened since was expected. It was all just one freak occurrence after another. Now that things have slowed down I’m realizing how completely isolated I was before. Like, for years and years.
Do you see a way for you to work in that business again in a more healthy way?
I am already working in the business in a healthier way. I love writing songs, I love sharing songs, I love interacting with my fans and folks in my networks, I love making videos … I just didn’t like the pressure that came along with my former situation. Having broken that, all appears to be well again. My plan is to enjoy the break, catch my breath, and play things by ear. For now, I am perfectly happy working for equal rights for the LGBTQ community full time at Q Center. It’s enough for me.
Will there still be videos for songs on “I Killed Tomorrow Yesterday”?
There are definitely going to be videos. The first is for “Quickly As We Pass” and is being directed by Jeffrey McHale (who directed my “Bottom Your Way To The Top” video from 2009). It comes out the beginning of December (just before the CD is released on 12/28). I believe we are going to make videos for “Velocity” and “Smoke Rings” as well over the course of 2011.
Logan Lynn’s album “I Killed Tomorrow Yesterday” can be downloaded via Itunes. The physical release is slated for December 28th.