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Three Questions with Mindy Sherman & Brandon Latta

Mindy and Brandon.jpg

in advance of the next installment of manifest at smartbar, we interviewed our headliners, mindy sherman & brandon latta. they appear b2b for this first time this thursday feb 1. 

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one. is there a moment in time (art project, a certain teacher, etc.) when you knew that creating was going to be your life’s work? if so, can you describe that (memory, feeling, thought) for us?

mindy: at roller skating parties in elementary school, i wanted to be the dj. my gym teacher, mary zentner, allowed me to be the dj whenever we skated at school. i would go home at night and wait for the full versions of the songs to play on the radio so i could record them. i knew from this experience that my relationship to reality was more creatively driven.

brandon: i would have to say it was during the late 80’s when i was old enough to comprehend what was going on in movies like flashdance and beat street. the infamous “sidewalk scene” in flashdance, led by that bass guitar from “it's just begun” by the jimmy castor bunch, still gives me goosebumps. in beat street the “battle at the roxy” scene, blessed by arthur baker's “breakers revenge,” motivates me to explore new music and environments to this day. 

two. how does where you are (personally, geographically, historically, etc.) impact the work you create? how does chicago factor into that equation, if at all?

mindy: i adore and cherish my midwestern heritage. things didn’t make sense until i moved to chicago in 2001. i realize now i was meant to be a part of the city that nurtured the creation of house music. i could not contribute to house culture without my upbringing that included a heavy focus on music, math, science and technology. spending time outdoors and working with horses my whole life also influenced me heavily. 

i owe everything i am to the graceful rolling meadows and cyan blue skies of the midwest. it makes my metronome tick.

i am equally grateful to be a part of the chicago creative community. there are top notch innovations happening here, yet we have a ways to go in showcasing our value to politicians and officials as economic powerhouses. this will continue to hinder house and techno both creatively and financially.

brandon: whether we like it or not, being a dj or producer from chicago, or any other major midwestern city, comes with being held to a high standard. it's a gift and a curse because on one end we are expected to do well, and on the other end if we don't do so well the gigs become few and far between. that alone keeps a lot of us on our toes and i am okay with that. 

three. what is the role of the artist in the world today, for you?

mindy: the role of artists is complex. in the purist sense, artists are translators of and commentators on our human experience. artists help us reflect and gain perspective. unfortunately artists’ contributions are grossly undervalued and under supported while artists who are entertainers rather than contributors become rich. an artists’ role should be to experiment and offer meaning through their medium.

brandon: this question can be answered with just one name...jay dee aka j dilla. if you don't know his story, look it up. i will say that i think the responsibility for an artist in today's world, no matter what stage, is to nurture your talent. don't take anything for granted and let your supporters know how much you appreciate them every chance you get.

Manifest Chicago