interview: catching up with reggie watts & straight line stitch @ ap fest 2012

August 29, 2012

After she enjoyed the Afropunk Fest performances like the rest of us, AP member Olivia Haynes got a chance to catch up with hilarious mad scientist Reggie Watts and Alexis Brown of Metal band Straight Line Stitch.
They told her about what Afropunk means to them and what they have in store for us in coming months. Check it out.

(Straight Line Stitch photo by wagz2it/TimeOut NY)

I) Interview with Reggie Watts

So, you’re performing at the AP Festival, how do you feel on this?
RW: I’m really excited about it. I mean, I was expecting it for quite some time, so I was planning – I was planning on it, I was stoked about it and, yeah, I’m glad I got to do it. I mean, it was kind of what I expected but like, of course, as all things are, different as well.

I know we interviewed you before for Afro-Punk and not only that, you were invited to perform at last year’s festival before it got cancelled by the hurricane.
R/W: Yeah, that’s right. I was really bummed about that. But, I mean, y’know, today more than makes up for it: It’s perfect weather, everything is perfect. Had some sound issues but other than that, it was perfect.

All right. So, how do you like the festival so far? Not just performing but being here?
RW: It’s awesome. I haven’t really had a chance to check out a lot of stuff but I’m gonna try to. It seems cool, everybody, everybody, I mean, even just coming backstage, people are like, “Welcome to Afro-Punk!” Y’know, everybody is so stoked and so happy. The fans are great! I mean, they’re really beautiful. I think it’s succeeding and so, it’s like, it’s crazy it’s succeeding.

All right. And what do you see in Afro-Punk? As in, what does the concept of Afro-Punk really mean to you?
RW: Uh, I guess it, to me, it’s like a network and a consortium[sp? 1:43 mark] comprised of artists of color that are attempting to express themselves in the most natural way possible without being filtered in any way and just presenting their vision of what’s their expression is. I mean, the whole idea of Afro-Punk is, to me, punk really is a weird word because it means so many things. It’s been deluded and washed away but when you put “Afro-Punk” with it, basically it just people breaking boundaries, not really asking permission.

Not adhering to the stereotype.
RW: Yeah, no questions. They’re not asking questions, they’re just performing and doing what they wanna do. That’s rock and roll, that’s my prerogative.

So, what’s next for you, Reggie Watts, after the festival?
RW: I think after the festival I’m going to Denton to do another festival called “Wet Hot Mess” at a water park and I think I’m going to do – I’m doing a festival called “Punked” in Norway and then another one called “Big White Open” in Vianen, Holland and then Brussels for a little bit and then back to the U.S.. I’m just basically traveling all over the place, doing a lot of festivals, a lot of gigs inside the country, outside the country until mid-November when I go back home to Montana for about almost two months so I’m stoked about that.

Any new material?
RW: I mean, no new projects, really. There might be another season of Comedy Bang Bang which would shoot in the spring. I don’t really have any – I mean, I have some projects I’m working with Myers Sound in developing a surround sound performance using state-of-the-art system called the Constellation Sound System so hopefully I’ll be developing a show using that room and it’ll be a new level of immersive performance.

Cool, it was nice speaking with you!


II) Interview with Alexis Brown of Straight Line Stitch

So, what has been happening since the last time we’ve interviewed back in March
AB/SLS:We took a month off to recuperate from our last tour, then we set out for tour again and here are back at it again. The Sh*t of our Lives Tour 2012.

You guys are performing at the Afro-Punk Festival, so how do you feel about performing at the AP Fest?
AB/SLS:We definitely feel privileged and humbled to have played Afro-Punk because you don’t get to play festivals like this everyday. It’s an amazing thing. Definitely a little intimidating

Why intimidated? Afro-Punk is not like, BET Festival so you’re definitely at home with Punk and Metal and things of that nature.
AB/SLS:Like I said, we don’t get to play festivals like this everyday in front of a mass of different cultures. That’s why Afro-Punk is such a beautiful thing…it puts us in front of a broader demographic which, in turn, can be a little scary or intimidating because you’re not sure how that demographic will take to your music.

Great! And, so, how do you guys been liking the festival as a whole so far? Not just performing there but the whole festival itself?
AB/SLS: I enjoyed the festival immensely! Everything from the food trucks, to the different styles of music and especially the fashion. It was an awesome experience for sure and I hope they have us back.

So, what do you see in Afro-Punk, like, what does the concept of Afro-Punk mean to you?
AB/SLS:What a festival like Afro-Punk means to me is the fact that music is universal. It doesn’t have a color and it doesn’t have a gender. It’s about uniting all people, y’know, bring people together.

And, so, what’s next for Straight Line Stitch after the AP Festival?
AB/SLS:The next thing for SLS is recording a record whenever we can break free of the road long enough to do so.

All right, thank you!