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Sonic Heart Attack

SAIC students Jesse Knowles and Kira Mardikes speak with Brandon Goei.

By Arts & Culture, Uncategorized 4

KM: The new CMA album is devoted to a friend of ours, Megan, whose heart stopped beating for a few seconds. It’s an amazing story.

JK: Most of what I write has to do with absorbing everything around me in some unconscious way. And I don’t really know what it all means until later on when I’ll just be sitting there and it’ll just flow right out of me, usually in the morning after I’ve been up all night.

BG: What kind of equipment do you use?

JK: In terms of recording equipment, I tend to lean on a Sony PCM-D50. We switch between different recording techniques, especially on the latest album. Some of the songs are shitty recordings just to be shitty. Others are shitty performances that are done up to try and sound like good recordings. Regardless, I offer the FLAC versions on our website. It ends up being a semi-serious critique of the music industry.

BG: How often do you perform these pieces?

JK: We don’t really perform CMA stuff. I used to collaborate with a friend of mine in Portland for a project called Lancet Fluke. The first time we performed, he did his whole part via Skype and it worked really well, but we haven’t performed together since. I played a few more gigs under the same name, but just as a solo gig.

BG: Who’s the most critical of your work?

KM: My mom. It’s mostly on account of the name. She’s a jazz fan, so we got a long formal email from my mother about what was offensive about the name “Charles Mingus Anilingus” and why we should change it. I think the people who are the most negative about the music are the ones who take it too seriously.

Jesse Knowles, image courtesy of the artist.

JK: My dad’s not really into it either. He’s into more conventional rock music, and he’ll mention to me that I need to resolve this or that. But I don’t really end up paying attention to any criticism I get, good or bad. I mean, it’s not that I make an effort to block it out, but I don’t really let it affect my music directly. If it does, it’s just because everything gets absorbed into that unconscious process behind my songwriting.

BG: Let’s talk about your newest CMA release.

KM: It’s called Megan McGill’s Heart Failure and, like we mentioned before, it’s dedicated to our friend Megan, and mixes both real and fictional elements of a traumatic episode in her life.

BG: So what’s her story exactly?

JK: She overdosed on a bad prescription of anti-depressants and her heart stopped beating for a few seconds, and when she came to, she was overwhelmed by the feeling that she wasn’t herself anymore. She became keenly aware that there were other forces inside her body: a person named Lavender and a cat named Petri. She goes by MLP now because she acts as the conjunction of these other identities.

KM: There are all kinds of different episodes in the album that cover the mystical parts of the death and rebirth that she went through, but in a non-linear narrative. Megan’s a free spirit and a wanderer around the Portland area, who’s willing to collaborate and create art with anyone, so I also think it’s important in the context of SAIC. There are lots of people here that start to dig themselves niches and get stuck in tunnel realities; it’s much more beneficial to be more explorative and then wander around.

Jesse & Kira’s Projects:

Other associated acts:

(This article has been revised to reflect the following corrections: The name of CMA’s newest release was stated as “Megan McGill’s Heart Attack,” when it is actually “Megan McGill’s Heart Failure; when addressing the subject of MLP, the word “personas” was used where the term “identities” is correct and more accurate; the spelling of MLP’s cat identity was revised from “Petrie” to “Petri”.)

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