1) What excites you the most about your new album Heart of a Dog?
KA: The fact that it sounds like a band, not a "singer-songwriter" backed by studio musicians. Making the record was a collaborative effort, and I think that comes across clearly. This is not to say that the previous records weren't also collaborative efforts - they were, very much so - but Heart of a Dog sounds like four guys in a room playing, because that's exactly how it got made.
2) What is the significance to the album title, if any?
KA: The album's title is taken from the title of a novella by Mikhail Bulgakov, which contains a passage I really love:
"By kindness. The only method possible in dealing with living creatures. By terror you cannot get anywhere with an animal, no matter what its stage of development. I’ve always asserted this, I assert it today, and I shall go on asserting it. They are wrong thinking that terror will help them."*
*That sums up my general worldview pretty well.
3) In Heart of a Dog I can hear the influences of electrified Bob Dylan and the blues of The Rolling stones. Do you have any musicians that inspire your work but with whom your music shares no resemblance?
KA: Plenty. Mos Def, Thelonious Monk, Slayer, The Runaways. There are too many to name.
4) The past three years you’ve been consistently productive, releasing an album a year. Do you foresee a continuation of this momentum or are you ready for a break?
KA: I think I'll probably slow that pace down a bit over the next few years so I can catch my breath.
On the other hand, given the way I lived for most of my young adulthood, I'm pretty fortunate to be alive. I'm also very lucky to have this job. I'd rather not take either of those things for granted.
5) Name 3 locations in the Portland Area that can be or have been the best inspiration for a song?
KA: I think the city of Portland is inspiring in general, in that than the weather keeps people inside for the majority of the year, which gave me an excuse to hole up and write for weeks at a time without feeling like a recluse.
Aside from Nowhere Nights, my records are largely works of fiction. There hasn't really been a lot of, "Here's a number about the ol' neighborhood," and I'm not sure there ever will be. I'm not typically compelled to write that way.
6) If it was just you and your guitar in what Portland venue would you enjoy playing the most?
KA: I love Mississippi Studios, Doug Fir, and the Aladdin Theater.
7) So what happens to the materials that do find their way into songs? Having a storyteller’s style to your song writing, dose it find its way into different formats like prose and poetry? Or is it the other way around?
KA: Plenty of influences work their way in, sure. But I think that's just the nature of writing; it's difficult not to have the things you take in influence the things you put out. Nobody's writing in a vacuum. The hope is that you're able to find your own voice and filter those influences through that, instead of letting them dictate your voice.
8) In your arsenal of instruments, do you have favorite Guitar? If so, what brand is it? Dose it have a name? What’s the story behind it?
KA: I've got a 1964 Gibson J-45 I play at home; it's never seen the stage. I just bought a Rickenbacker 330 that I like a lot. I don't name my guitars, no. I had another J-45 - one that was given to me by one of my closest friends - that I left at an ex-girlfriend's house while I was on tour and she sold it, so I try not to get too sentimental about instruments.
9) The summer touring season it coming upon us quickly and I see that you’re playing several festivals including Bumbershoot and the Slowroots Music Festival. What it is the music festival you’ve enjoyed playing the most and what festival would you like to play in but haven’t had the chance to yet?
KA: We had fun at SXSW this year, the most fun I've had out there, anyway. Festivals can be tough because there are so many moving parts. I know for people who attend, the festivals are supposed to be an orgy of music and debauchery but, for bands, that's not the case. We played nine times in three days at SXSW this year; it was exhausting.
10) Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?
KA: There's a band from Bellingham, Washington called Federation X;
Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs from Seattle;
70 Proof, also from Seattle;
Then there's Radiohead and The Beatles. I think those last two bands are from Germany.