Interview with: Jadwin Fair (Half Japanese)
Location: Via Email
You've recorded with dozens of artists, why is it so important to you to continue doing so?
I enjoy recording, and I've been lucky in that a lot of the musicians I like are also keen on what I do. I have had the opportunity to record with what I feel are the top bands around. Some recent collaborations include CDs with R. Stevie Moore, Teenage Fanclub, and Daniel Johnston. I'm now working on albums with Strobe Talbot, Rob Erickson, The Danielson Famile, Jason Willett, David Fair, Kramer, and Monster Party.
Moe Tucker told us that you were instrumental in her returning to music. What did the work of the Velvet Underground mean to you, as they are a band Half Japanese were often referred to?
My favourite bands when I was a teen were The Stooges, MC5, Captain Beefheart, and the Velvet Underground. The V.U. was such a great band. They had such a wide range in what they did. I was very happy to meet Moe, and later to work with her. Beyond my love of the Velvet Underground I was also a huge fan of Moe's solo work. Moe's first solo album "Playing Possum" is one of my all time favourite records.
Your recording output goes back to the 70's which I find hard to believe. Can you tell us how it all started for you in music?
When I went off to college my brother David and I rented a house with a friend (David Stansky). The house was in a remote location, so it was no problem for us to play loud music.
As well as writing and recording, I believe you have had books published too, along with being featured in art exhibitions. How do you find the time for all this?
Yes, I've had 5 books published. They've all been small editions. This past year I've had exhibitions in Austin, Toronto, and Glasgow. Just last week Daniel Johnston and I had an opening at the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie. One of the reasons I do as much as I do is that it's hard to make a living just off the music. I'm pretty fast at whatever I do. My website has a lot of art on it. Jadfair.com
Another artist you've worked with is Daniel Johnston who also does some great artwork. You two seem like kindred spirits, how did you first get involved with each other?
In 1986 Half Japanese had a tour of the U.S. and Daniel's manager went to a show we did in Austin and gave me one of Daniel's tapes. I loved the tape and started corresponding with Daniel. A year later I was in New York recording with Moe Tucker at Kramer's studio. Daniel was in town and came to see us record. He played on one of the songs on Moe's album. Daniel and I became friends and I invited him to my home to record together. We recorded the album "It's Spooky". Since then we did one more album, and have had 4 art shows together.
Your recording output seems to be getting harder to track down as there are releases on so many labels. Has it been a conscientious decision to not be tied down to one label?
My music goes in a lot of directions. I try to choose labels that seem like a good match for the album. I'm trying to release as much as I can.