Sparking Creativity: Idito the Chicken and Moonpie NobotPosted: January 27, 2012
For today’s entry in our ongoing “Sparking Creativity” series, we catch up with quirky Portland based creative duo “Idito the Chicken and Moonpie Nobot.” We’ve featured them and their unique brand of lo-fi musical genius before.
Today, Brandon and Tarehna share their thoughts on the benefit of self-imposed goals, and the joys of creating great things with someone you love.
UPDATE: Their January Album is available for free (or donation!) on Bandcamp. Go get some good tunes.
Your “just do it” attitude towards art is so inspiring. Where did that come from?
My mother is an artist, and when I was younger, we’d go to stores and see something cool and she’d say “we could do that!” I’m basically still doing that.
Brandon: It seems like we have always had it. We’ve always admired artists from different media. For a short period of time Tarehna and I were squatting in an abandoned condo and when we weren’t looking for jobs we were spending all of our time painting and writing and playing music.
Being that poor was horrible, but they were also some of the happiest times of my life. It helped us bond. It’s always been the two of us against the world.
Plus, it just feels cool. When people ask me what I’m up to and I can say that I am working on CD art for someone, and doing a collab with a friend in Canada, and doing monthly music projects with my wife who is working on a novel, and oh yeah, I play bass in local band Zombies Love Gizzards, AND my two boys say they want to start a band with me or put on plays, I feel cool.
But I also feel compelled to create.
Where do you two find creative inspiration?
T: It depends a lot on the project. For crafty and visual art stuff, it’s still a matter of seeing something cool and wanting to recreate it. On that front, I’ve been hitting Pinterest pretty hard lately and creating just a massive reservoir of “I’ve gotta try that!” activities.
For music, I think ideas come more or less out of nowhere for me. Deadlines grease the creativity gears, for sure. My pop culture interests tend to work their way into my lyrics. I’m a huge space nerd, so themes of space and time travel and general futurism feature in a lot of the songs.
B: For me, it’s about seeing what others do and feeling inspired by their work. I also get a rush while creating. I get really amped up and feel just amazing when I have finished something, even when a project turns out badly.
It’s also inspiring to connect and work on a project together. There’s something special that comes from getting on the same wavelength and pushing through to create something.
You mentioned “deadlines.” You often work within a self imposed limitation; one song a day til Christmas, an album recorded in a month, etc. What do boundaries like that do for creativity?
T: Deadlines are magic! I’m quite lazy, so the little challenges we create for ourselves combat my inertia and get me up off my butt and into “do something” mode.
It also takes the pressure off. We don’t have to worry about creating a magnificent piece of art in a small period of time. We just get a draft done and move on because tomorrow we’re going to have to do something else. We know we can come back and polish it later, but the deadline prods us into action.
B: Yes, it’s about getting it done, about having a completed project to look at and say, “Yeah, I did that.”
It’s too easy to talk about all of the things you would like to do. Conversely, it’s also easy to DO a lot of the things you talk about doing, but that will never happen if your deadline is “someday.”
What does creating together contribute to your relationship?
T: It’s integral to our relationship. I’m not even sure that I think of it as a thing that contributes to the relationship. It’s been a part of what we do together since the very beginning.
B: It definitely brings us closer. Creates more connections, shared experiences. We’ve never been the type of couple that does “guys night out” or “girls night out.” We’d rather be with each other.
T: Brandon does. I don’t. I’m very undisciplined, and I hate practice.
B: I used to run scales on my guitar all the time. Mostly, anymore, we just play a lot. The more projects you do and the more opportunity you have to play, paint, etc., the more you will just get better. I’m not against concentrated practice or study time, but it’s not where I am right now, though I have been wanting to work on my acoustic guitar skills lately.
My barre F chord at the first fret is buzzy as all get out.
I assume that you have differences in opinion about a piece or project sometimes. Tell me how those dynamics affect your process and end result.
B: It definitely can make it take longer. Usually the project is the better for it. Sometimes we find out that we had a fundamental difference in approach, or weren’t fully understanding each other. Even if the disagreement gets a little heated, which is hella rare, we get it resolved and move on.
T: We bicker sometimes, but generally the process is quite smooth. We complement each other freakishly well. Each song or project tends to have an unofficial leader, with the other person making suggestions here and there. Also, neither of us has really strong possessive feelings about what we’ve created, so there’s not a lot of emotional investment there for conflict to grow out of.
Any favorite projects together so far?
B: The Christmas project was the most fun for me so far. Just the immediacy of it. Write, record, and release an original Christmas song everyday for two weeks. There were no limitations, other than it be about Christmas, and we tried to get it all done in around 40 minutes. Sometimes it would take 10 minutes and sometimes almost an hour.
We even made little videos for them which you can find here.
T: The Christmas song project, for sure.
Any ideas for projects in the future?
B: Right now the plan is to keep doing Idito The Chicken And Moonpie Nobot. The current plan is to pick a new music project, idea, what have you, every month. So, for December it was the Christmas song project and for January we are each creating drum loops and then exchanging those beats for the other to put electronic music over.
We’ve also started doing monthly Shakespeare readings at our house. We invite a bunch of people over and choose parts and read a Shakespearian play. This month we did Twelfth Night as close to Twelfth Night as we could, which was Epiphany.
T: Well, next month is February Album Writing Month again (http://www.fawm.org). We participated independently last year, but I think the plan this year is to create an album together in 29 days. We’re tossing around putting together a Kickstarter to record a full Christmas album in the summer, and we’re toying with playing live in the near future.