Aaron Chats with TPM
For Reading is Fundamental Week, who better to give TPM an interview than that the man behind this…
Remember reading comics is still reading!
So, Aaron, why don’t you start by telling the reader who you are?
Hi reader, my name is Aaron Brassea. I do a daily journal comic called My Life in Scribbles and have a graphic novel out called The Ballad of YFB. I also do comics for chainsawcomics.com, where I’ve been the editor in chief for about 10 years now. I do music too.
Good stuff. Let’s start with YFB. I presume it means “Your Favorite Band”
Sadly, it took me awhile to get that.
That’s ok, I didn’t necessarily expect people to get it without knowing the back story.
Anyway, I read it, I dug it… but I find you to be a little bit twisted now that I’ve read it.
Ummm… Grant Morrison?
Haha. Well… what exactly inspired YFB?
I sometimes describe it as Josie and the Pussycats meets Terminator, but the story is a modern retelling of the legend of John Henry. But with a band and a robot.
I can see that.
Yeah, when I told my sister that it was a like light bulb turned on, and it all made sense.
So, I also have a copy of your first compendium of My Life in Scribbles. How has the webcomic been doing.
It has it’s ups and downs, but I think it’s been getting better. The next book collecting 2011 should be more interesting than the 2010 one, as the strips get a little more focused on the pregnancy and taking care of Cora.
I do think the comic seems to have hit it’s stride.
As a comic guy, what inspires you?
In terms of what? Writing? Art?
I guess even then it varies between comics. For My Life in Scribbles I’m pretty influenced by James Kochalka, who is widely credited as having invented journal comics. The art for Scribbles mostly comes out of convenience. I had done a few comics in that style before I started doing journal comics (they’re included in the bonus material in Volume 1). When I started thinking about doing a daily comic I knew I’d have to make sure it didn’t take too much time, or I’d get burnt out pretty quickly. I think this style is just detailed enough to get the point across, while still letting me finish a comic in about a half hour.
For YFB, the plot is based on the upcoming tow knee chavez album, Your Favorite Band. We had the idea to do a story about a band and base it on John Henry, so Nathan and I worked out the plot for the album, and
then I adapted it for the comic.
So… on that note, who is tow knee chavez?
That’s a band I’m in with Nathan Stryker.
Just the two of you?
Yeah, we had four members when we were in college, but kind of dropped the other two and decided to just keep it going ourselves. Through the magic of multi-track recording we’re able to play all the instruments ourselves, with occasional back up vocals from our wives.
Nice. You have a few other music projects, too… a few of which we’ve had
on the site. Can you give us a brief overview?
Sure. The Nemesis is my solo stuff. There’s a pretty broad range of styles with that, from punk to electronic. I’ve released two albums so far as The Nemesis and am working on finishing off a couple more.
Then there’s the Hitmaker Algorithm, which actually started as a character in The Ballad of YFB. The early Hitmaker Algorithm stuff was 100% electronic, even the vocals. The newer stuff I record live vocals but use vocoder effects to make it sound more robot-y. I’m working on an album of classic punk covers.
I’ve got another two person band, The Bad Felt. I do all the music and Bren Collins does the vocals. We cover songs from Sesame Street in kind of a darker style, influenced by Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Swans, and Wovenhand.
Creepy. The more I get to know you, the more worried I become about
that comic you drew where you shot me.
Watch your back, man!
Haha. So, this is Reading is Fundamental week on TPM. What do you
suggest our readers read?
Oh man, I read so much it’s hard to narrow it down! I’m reading World War Z by Max Brooks right and and am enjoying it. Before that I read the Dirk Gently books by Douglas Adams (author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Two of my favorite authors are Neil Gaiman and Frank Portman (from Mr. T Experience).
For comics, some of my all time favorites are Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Cages by Dave McKean, Blankets by Craig Thompson, Scott Pilgrim, and most of the work by Andi Watson, James Kochalka, Kyle Baker, and the
various Hopeless Savage miniseries.
Nice! Great suggestions. Well, we’ll touch base again soon. But for now, we both have families to tend to. Any parting words?
Parting words… be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes!