A conversation with Jad Fair


    We spoke with Jad Fair about horses, sunflowers, marbles, dogs, whether there are colors on other planets and the experience of recording It’s Spooky with Daniel Johnston in 1989.

    I liked to play marbles with friends. It’s a very simple toy, but I liked it.


    Morgan Enos

    The world is changing at a baffling rate these days, but our relationship with houseplants and animals is almost this constant of the universe. Can you describe some plants or animals you own? What’s your relationship with both?

    Jad Fair

    I have two horses and two dogs. I feed them each morning at 6:15 and in the afternoon at 3. The dogs are a cross between an Australian Shepherd and a poodle. They are very smart dogs.


    I’ve always loved the album you recorded with Daniel Johnston in 1989, It’s Spooky. I heard it at a young and impressionable age, and the very simple formula of the record – two weird guys, making weird songs – stuck with me forever. Can you tell me about your memories of making that album?

    Daniel seldom wanted to do more than two takes of a song. These were songs which we had never done before. I was in charge of recording. On the first take I was concerned about mic placement and recording levels. Luckily we were able to get the songs in two or three takes. I don’t think Daniel was willing to do any more. I’m real pleased with the album. It’s one of my favorite records.


    Let’s zoom out from there. Who do you hope to make music or art with in the future? What do you have the urge to say with your work that you haven’t gotten to in the past?

    I did some art with Gary Taxali. It would be great to work with him again. He’s very talented. NRBQ is my favorite band. I would love to record with them. I’ve done some recording with Terry Adams and Tom Ardolino. It would be a big thrill to record with the full band.



    I’d like you to briefly meditate on three images: horses, lakes and sunflowers. What mental images arise from those objects? Can you connect them with anything in your subconscious?

    My house is right next to a horse stable. I can see the horse arena from my window. It’s good to be so close to horses. I spend a good bit of time with them. I grew up in Michigan and my parents had a cottage on a lake. We would stay there for the month of July. I enjoyed swimming and boats. I have some sunflowers close to my house. The flowers add some color to the yard.


    I was introduced to the computer at a very young age, so I wasn’t much of a toy enthusiast. I had already been swept up in this technological zone that kind of abstracted and widened my thoughts very early on. Can you tell me everything about the first toy you remember owning as a child?

    I liked to play marbles with friends. It’s a very simple toy, but I liked it.

    I am curious about the universe. One thing I’ve wondered is if there are different colors on other planets.


    Can you describe the town you grew up in? Do you still visit? How has your relationship with that town changed over the years?

    I grew up in a very small town in Michigan. Considering the size of the town it’s amazing that I was exposed to the art and music I was. One of my first records was a Sun Ra album. I have family still living there and try to visit them a couple times each year.


    What is your understanding of astronomy? Do you have a curiosity about the heavens, the stars, and the enormity of it all? How so?

    Yes, I am curious about the universe. One thing I’ve wondered is if there are different colors on other planets. We have the colors on Earth because of the sun. Could it be different with a different sun? I love seeing the new photos of the planets.


    Finally, can you tell us what you’ve done so far today, in as much detail as possible?

    Today started like most days. I got up at 6am, fed the horses and dogs at 6:15, had breakfast with Patty at 6:30, cleaned the barn at 7, and started answering email and worked on paper-cuttings.

    Thank you.


    Conversation: 47
    Curated by: Morgan Enos
    Conducted by: Email
    Published: October 19, 2017
    Total questions: 8
    Word count: 676
    Reading time: Two minutes
    Hyperlinks: 8


    Color: Relative
    Sensation: Morning
    Texture: Straw
    Horses: Plentiful
    Curiosity: Universe


    About the subject

    Jad Fair is a singer, musician and graphic artist who leads the band Half Japanese.

    About the curator

    Morgan Enos is a songwriter and journalist originally from California. His curatorial work for North of the Internet aims to strike a deeper place in his conversation subjects — the dreamy subtext to the linear everyday. Morgan also frequently writes power pop records as Other Houses about joy, outer space, frustration, chess and spiritual light. He resides in New York, where he continues to creatively fire on all cylinders.

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