Brownstein performing with Wild Flag at Coachella, 2012
|Birth name||Carrie Rachel Brownstein|
September 27, 1974 |
Seattle, Washington, US
|Origin||Redmond, Washington, US|
After Sleater-Kinney broke up in 2006 I had very little desire to play music. It took well over three years before picking up a guitar meant anything to me other than an exercise.
Chemistry cannot be manufactured or forced, so Wild Flag was not a sure thing, it was a 'maybe,' a 'possibility.' But after a handful of practice sessions, spread out over a period of months, I think we all realized that we could be greater than the sum of our parts.
With Sleater-Kinney, we did a lot of improvisation in our live shows, and even our process of songwriting involved bringing in disparate parts and putting them together to form something cohesive.
Rihanna has guts and she always seems to be singing from someplace honest, dark and fierce.
I'll admit that I'm not quite certain how to sum up an entire year in music anymore; not when music has become so temporal, so specific and personal, as if we each have our own weather system and what we listen to is our individual forecast.
With Portlandia, I don't think our intention is always to find something funny. Sometimes the humor comes from taking something really seriously. We're okay with making somebody feel uncomfortable or uneasy.
I think hip-hop does a very good job of infusing comedy and humor and wit into music, a lot more than other genres.
For film and television, it's interesting how fans feel that their particular ways of manifesting their affections are the correct ones. It's not just about being a fan, it's about how you perform your fandom. That's always been interesting to me.
I feel like I came in comedy's side door, and still feel very fraudulent in many ways.
I read a lot; fiction and non-fiction are the mediums I find most edifying and inspiring. I watch movies and listen to music and take lots and lots of walks. Nature is a nice reset button for me, it's how I get a lot of thinking done.
I will say, as a woman, when you put a mustache on, you find out a lot of things about yourself.
I wrote so much about fandom and participation for NPR that I eventually realized my most fertile way of participating in music is to actually play it, at least in a way that made the most sense to me.
Music has always been my constant, my salvation. It's cliche to write that, but it's true.
I don't think I would live outside of the Northwest. I think the quality of life in Portland is really good. People move from intense, high-powered jobs, and move to Portland, work half as much and live twice as good.
Rock Band is more like Stairmaster than it is like rock 'n' roll – it's the same steps with different degrees of difficulty.
It was writing about music for NPR – connecting with music fans and experiencing a sense of community – that made me want to write songs again. I began to feel I was in my head too much about music, too analytical.
To really be tortured by a song, it needs to be more than just something you don't like or don't get; it has to make your skin crawl by getting under it. Strangely, that last clause could describe provocative or daring music, as well.
There was a clarity to the Nineties. It was pre-9/11, before that anxiety kicked in that exists right now about the financial crisis or terrorism. We were all just going to move forward into the millennium and everything was always going to get better. Then, whoops, that didn't happen.
I was always drawn to performing. I took improv and acting classes during the summers and was involved in middle and high school plays. But when I discovered indie and punk music in high school, those things sort of took over.
It's hard to beat the visceral high of playing live and creating something spontaneous.
I am a horrible visual artist. I can't fix a car, sew, knit, cook, etc. Statistically, there is more I don't do than do.
With music, I get to a much darker place. Where I'm able to go with 'Portlandia' has a wider range, but also a brighter range.
I'm pretty horrible at relationships and haven't been in many long-term ones. Leaving and moving on – returning to a familiar sense of self-reliance and autonomy – is what I know; that feeling is as comfortable and comforting as it might be for a different kind of person to stay.
The hedonistic lifestyle is difficult to achieve when you're still carrying your own gear. Trust me that you don't feel glamorous with a 60-pound amp in your arms; it's a lot less sexy than toting a vodka gimlet and impossible to do in heels.
I think that half of us feel fraudulent in our lives anyway. There's that strange disconnect of not really knowing what we're doing sometimes, or why it matters. It's our existential crisis.
Over the years, music put a weapon in my hand and words in my mouth, it backed me up and shielded me, it shook me and scared me and showed me the way; music opened me up to living and being and feeling.
With Rock Band, you can play along to Black Sabbath or Nirvana and possibly find new ways of appreciating their artistry by being allowed to perform parallel to it. Rock Band puts you inside the guts of a song.
Well, in some ways I had sort of the opposite experience of other people that are sort of dreaming of being in a rock band. I was dreaming of like corporate lunches and just like, and I'm not really joking. Like the whole idea to me was really appealing.
The game Rock Band has been haunting me like a bad ring tone. It gets stuck in my head and momentarily effaces all that I love about music.
For a while I had somebody that came to clean my house that turned out to be in a band that I really loved.