’89 domande a Gordon Raphael – Producer
Name? Gordon Raphael (@gordonraphael)
What’s your job? Music ’n art.
What did you study at university? Astronomy, Gnosticism, Stage Design, Film and Psychology.
When did you start your job? Age 6 I won a painting contest, age 13 I joined my first band, Kobyn with Steve Kirk, and at 20 years old I finally produced my first song.
How did you start? Piano Lessons, and listening to rock and roll records. Reading lots of books (biographies, Kurt Vonegut etc).
Your favorite style icon? Johann Sebastian Bach, Diamond Dogs Bowie, and Iggy Pop when he was way way out there.
What drugs have you done? Marijuana, Hashish, Opium, LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Speed, Alcohol, Psilocybin Mushrooms, Cocaine, MDA and Heroin.
If so which one is your favorite? None.
And which one you use more often? I don’t do any drugs since 2004 Marijuana was my most used.
Do you think exist an objective aesthetic value or you think aesthetic value is just subjective? Purely subjective, God yes!
When, in your opinion, can you define a person as an artist? When they create something and smile.
Do you think that a person that doesn’t stand out in the art market is just because he is not worthy? So many legends were unknown in their time.
Do you think that the relationship between art and drugs is just a cliché? A horrible cliche just like love & pain, or love & sadness.
Do you think that only the art market define what can be considered art and what cannot? Art market only defines what can be sold well, but that can change over time too.
What do you do for fun? Watch movies, talk with people, listen to music. I like to kiss, play my Arp Odyssey synthesizer and walk around in cool places like Buenos Aires, East Village NYC and Seattle.
What do you think about Banksy’s experiment to sell his works on the streets for cheap? Do you think that the value of a work, in the eye of an observer, is given from the context in which it was seen? I think Banksy is brave and cool, but i don’t know too much about him.
Have you ever had sex with more than one person? Yes. I didn’t prefer it to sex with one person. I found it too distracting.
What do you think about influencers? Willie Dixon, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Joni Mitchell, Julian Casablancas. Amazing influencers.
You live Berlin, what’s the best place to party in your opinion? My front room, or Weinburg’s Park.
What would you do first if you won the lottery?
By an old Steinway grand piano and a cool house to put it in!
Has it ever happened to you that a rock star was high working with you? Yes for sure. One guy on cocaine that couldn’t sing in tune because of it!
What is the night you spent the most money to have fun? Flying from London to Seattle to see Regina Spektor opening for The Strokes on Room On Fire tour.
What’s the best song you wrote? Robot Pure, from my album I Lick The Moog.
You produced The Strokes debut EP The Modern Age as well as their first two albums Is This It and Room on Fire. Can you tell us about the first time you met them? I saw them play a small show at Luna Lounge, on Ludlow Street in the East Vil- lage NYC. September 2000.
What is your top five songs by The Strokes that you produced? Take It Or Leave It, New York City Cops, Trying Your Luck, Under Control, Reptilia. Amazing songs.
Can you tell us an anecdote behind about them when they worked with you? You have never seen 5 guys in a rock band concentrate so hard and care SO much about every note and part of their songs!
The craziest thing you’ve seen during your work? Two things: Anna Mercedes, my singer in Absinthee singing at Bear Creek Studios on our first album (you can hear it on my website Gordotronic). And Regina Spektor performing Poor Little Rich Boy with her drumstick hitting a chair (right hand), playing piano (left hand) and singing perfectly those words at the same time. WOW! Then there was Kill Kenada getting totally crazy, getting naked and climbing on the ceiling of my studio London. True story.
The most rock and roll thing? Ian Astbury from The Cult singing in my London studio.
Who was the artist you worked with who got stoned much more? ME……
Which of them are you most attached to?Regina, The Strokes, Satellites, Kill Kenada, Anna Mercedes and The Tempers (from Seattle).
And about The Libertines, can you tell us about the first time you met them? Afterparty for The Strokes at Heaven London. Pete Doherty, I thought he was amazing.
What’s the things you liked the most about them? In the days when I met them, they sounded so so cool, and they were powerful and sang perfect, and their songs were ex- citing and fun.
What’s their best song in your opinion? Up The Bracket. I think they sounded cooler and more amazing before they recorded their first album. I loved them so much.
You wrote a twit about a story about Pete and Julian, can you explain us why Julian didn’t like Pete? I don’t know what happened. Julian told me NEVER to bring Pete backstage again, and he looked upset.
Can you tell us about the your best and crazy memories at The Basement Club? My band Black Light playing there, and CNN Europe interviewing me on the club floor in the middle of our soundcheck.
The best band in history in your opinion? GFOTY.
And producer? Sorry, 3 of them: Martin Rushent for Gentle Giant’s Octopus album; David Bowie for Diamond Dogs and Ken Scott for Aladdin Sane.
And musician? Jimi Hendrix and GFOTY.
What’s your best work? Soviet Kitsch by Regina Spektor, and Is This It by The Strokes.
And the one you are most proud of? Both of those two! And then Room On Fire.
The most appreciated one? Is This It.
Where have you been on vacation when you were young? Deception Pass near Seattle, The Olympic Mountains near Seattle.
Where are you going on vacation now? Mallorca, Crete, Corfu.
What’s the most exciting part of your job? And the most boring one? Exciting: working with music, artists and hyper-charging creativity. Boring: working in some studios that are far away from super-high quality vegan food and excellent espresso!
Have you ever been in love? Yes, ten times so far with people, hundreds of times with paintings, 20 times with books, 40 times with movies and hundreds of times with songs.
What was your job before becoming a producer? Musician, keyboard player, guitarist. I worked in a restaurant in Hollywood making sandwiches, and painted apartments in New York.
Where do you live? West Yorkshire, England.
Which neighbourhood? Near the canal.
Where are you from? Bronx, New York City.
Other cities where you’ve been living and how long? Berlin 14 years, Seattle 17 years, London 5 years and Los Angeles 1 year.
If you can choose a famous person for a night, who would it be? Julian Casablancas.
Which Languages do you speak? West Coast USA English, a bit of German and a bit of Spanish.
Which are your favorite places in your city?
Trades Club and Humblest of Pleasures (vegan cafe).
Favorite movies? A Clockwork Orange, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, Slaughterhouse Five, The Red Shoes (1948), Beauty and The Beast (by Jean Cocteau) Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos Female Trouble all by John Waters and Paris Is Burning.
Favorite songs?All Along The Watchtower (Hendrix version), His Last Voyage by Gentle Giant, Gimme Danger by Iggy & The Stooges, Only A Northern Song by The Beatles, Gimme Shelter by Rolling Stones, Last Time I Saw Richard by (Joni Mitchell), and The Stranger Song by Leonard Cohen.
Favorite bands? GFOTY, Devo, Jethro Tull, The Velvet Underground, The Mothers Of Invention, Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Favorite books? Right Use Of Will by Ceanne DeRohan, Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsburg, Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara, Trout Fishing In America by Richard Brautigan.
Favorite authors? Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brautigan, David Dalton.
The craziest experience you’ve ever had?
A dream where I flew across the stars to the sun next to my Hammond Organ which was playing a song from The Tarot Meditations (The Magus), and I got to hear what an electric organ sounds like flying through space. Then when I landed in the sun, the sun turned into a rose and spit me out, as a seed, back to earth! wow.
What’s your favorite historical character?Charlie Chaplin.
Can you define yourself with an adjective? Psychedlic.
What’s the best band right now in your opinion? GFOTY.
The most overrated? I am a ranter against many bands I don’t like, I don’t need to do it publicly though!
The most underestimated? My music, of course! 🙂
One you don’t like? I don’t like techno music, and I don’t like 99% of all popular music from now or any time period in the last 100 years. Meow.
What were your favorite places/club when you were young? The Vogue in Seattle, Metropolis in Seattle, Pyramid Club in NYC, Danceteria (NYC), The Tunnel (NYC).
Favorite TV series? Time Tunnel, Gilligans Island, Batman (original TV series) The Green Hornet (with Bruce Lee), The Monkees.
If you were an animal which one would you like to be? Dolphin.
Have you ever cheated on your fiancée? Yes.
Have you ever cheated on a friend? Like in a game of cards or chess? No.
Do you have some regrets about things you wanted to do but you didn’t do? If so which ones? There was one girl named Cathy whom I met on a wild beach on the Pacific Ocean, and we kissed right away. She came to my house a month later and she was so cool and beautiful, and for some reason I didn’t express my interest in her, which hurt her feelings and I never saw her again. I didn’t know if my band members would think she was cool or not. So stupid!
Do you have some remorses for something you did but you should have done differently? If so which ones? I have many examples where I was a bad boyfriend, and not able to be honest with my feelings when I could have been. I wish I could have actually spoken up on behalf of my truth, I think i would have caused less misery!
Do you have some dreams that you are trying to realize? If so which ones? Write more songs, play more concerts, make cool videos, Publish my first book (yes i have written and edited it!), Find a compatible girlfriend, promote my music smarter.
What do you think about Donald Trump? I prefer NOT to ever think about him. He seems to represent the way 73 milllion? Americans think about life!
In your opinion which one would be the right man for the White House at the moment? Julian Casablancas.
What time do you usually go to sleep? Midnight til 2 AM most nights.
What time do you usually wake up? 9 am and stay in bed til 10 am during lockdowns!
What’s your favorite city in the world? Right now its Buenos Aires.
Do you believe in some religions? I believe in God/Goddess, spiritual reality karma, reincarnation, extra sensory perception, intelligent life thats not human, angels, archangels,
pure artistic inspiration and love. I think any religion can work if approached with freedom, willpower and lots of laughter.
Your typical day? Breathe, eat lots of yummy food, drink water, green smoothies, listen to music for hours, talk with people, go for walks, work on music either mixing, writing, producing or daydreaming. Watch a documentary, connect with friends, connect with interesting people on the internet. Space out. Sleep.
Do you have many friends? I have a family of choice that knows me very very well. I have many many friends from my childhood, teens and early life in Seattle music scene, we still talk and care for each other. Im friends with many of my ex-girlfriends, and often there’s still love and caring there, even though we are apart many years. Lots of music friends and bands I worked with that I consider friends. But not SO many really best friends that I share everything with.
What’s the thing you like most? Love and music, food, sex and books.
Your favorite dish? Lots of different Indian and Thai vegan dishes.
Do you have some phobias? Not that I know of, but I have been scared many times in my life!
What car do you own? None.
Last book you read? Basquiat’s Widow by Jennifer Clement.
Favorite fashion brand? Diesel.
The most precious material thing you own? My Arp Odyssey synthesizer, my vintage Neve 1074 preamp, my 1976 Mini-Moog and my Neumann TLM170R microphone.
What do you usually drink at the bar? Mineral water with lemon slice.
What do you usually have for breakfast? Chia Pudding with raspberries, sunflower seeds and bananas, topped with coconut yoghurt.
An advice you can give to someone that want to do your job? Love music, listen to tons of your favorite songs. Meet musicians and go for it.
Best party you’ve been to? I was in a band called Clone in VERY early days in Seattle. Our singer (Upchuck) had a sugar daddy who got him a mansion with a swimming pool (I lived there too). We had a party for press only, with a few of the most flamboyant punk rock- ers in our scene there too. It was so funny and wild and cool.
The best guitar solo? My best guitar solo? umm, A Balanced Excess and View from Blue both from my Sleep On The Radio album.
Best guitar solo other than that? Jimi Hendrix on All Along The Watchtower, and also on Hey Joe.
Can you tell us something about you that nobody knows or very few people know? I have 19 videos I made by myself on Youtube, I have an unreleased documentary I made in Argentina in 2018, and I have 6 of my own albums on Spotify!
What’s your best talent? Loving things, people, music and art.
The way you dress more often? “The same way I always did” a bit weird, slightly cool and colorful.
What are the clothes you can’t stand to see on a man and on a woman? With names of fashion companies on them prominently displayed.
How many times in a week do you go to a restaurant? In real life: 2 times (breakfast and dinner) with a cafe, ice cream place or juice bar in the middle.
Do you often go to the cinema? Not too often, Im not a great lover of modern movies. I love when they play Fantastic Planet in a cinema in Paris. I did love The Joker and Bohemian Rhapsody. I do adore going to the cinema if there is something amazing playing.
What’s your favorite artist? Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Brughel, Carlo Crivelli.
What’s your favorite show business character?Marilyn Monroe.
If you could live in one historical era, which one would you choose? 1970’s.
If you could spend a day with an historical figure who would you choose? Cleopatra.
Who are the people that inspired you the most? Hieronymus Bosch, Steve Kirk, Brian Phraner,
The Beatles, Bowie, Yes and Emerson Lake and Palmer.
And for a relationship? Jesus.
What’s the item of clothing you spent the most money on? A 1960’s pink paisley shirt for £350.
Your ideal holiday? Swimming in the Ionian Sea off of Corfu.
If you can choose an artist to work with which one would it be? GFOTY.
If you have the possibility to speak in world vision for 15 minutes, what would you tell? “Everyone, chill out! Listen to some music and kiss someone special”.
Do you have any political orientation? Freedom and cash for all! Except for mean people.
Can you give us a definition of art? That which human beings make when they have mediums, instruments, paints, brushes, a pen, paper etc. Although it could be said that the world and all the people are God/Goddess’s Art form too!
Tell us a city in the States where you would never live at? Salt Lake City, Utah? Boise, Idaho?
What’s your position about September 11? Do you believe in conspiracy theories? I think it was caused by US foreign policy, secret finance shit, and very possibly done by the US government directly to control people more, start more wars, get more oil etc.
If you could choose a person you know to read this interview, who would it be? Victoria De Venus in Argentina.