photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
the psychology of a CREATIVE ARTIST is such a COMPELLING topic. of course all of them are different and have their own processes and neuroses, but there is this sense of magic that they can create something from seemingly nothing. its almost ALCHEMICAL.
KEVIN BARNES of PHANTASMAGORIC INDIE ROCK band OF MONTREAL as evidenced in the documentary THE PAST IS A GROTESQUE ANIMAL (POLYVINYL, 2014) is of the more SELFISH, JUVENILE sort. the project is in essence his baby, but in order for it to meet his EXPANSIVE visions in a live setting, he relies upon (more like exploits) his numerous collaborators he has gathered over time. its an odd dynamic, especially for a person as UNSYMPATHETIC and CALLOUS to the needs of others as BARNES. for him it is literally all about the art and not the community. he is of the moment and in the moment with sense of CHILDLIKE AMORALITY that makes him an UNRELIABLE partner. the needs of his child are second to his emotional whims.
i dont know. this is a hard documentary to stomach since you very much seen the extreme CLAUSTROPHOBIC nature of being a member of his band or even his ex-wife. more than that you see what little effect such has on him other than as gristle for the next OF MONTREAL album. even in retrospect he honestly doesnt care. its not that he is MEAN-SPIRITED, its more like he's a SOCIOPATH or an EMOTIONAL VAMPIRE, feeding off the creative life source of others. i have to stop and remind myself at times just how IMAGINATIVE some of those records are, specifically the landmark album HISSING FAUNA, ARE YOU THE DESTROYER? (POLYVINYL, 2007). im aware that some musicians are bastards, as that concept was part of the second show i ever did with DEER GOD RADIO. the show was called GOOD MUSIC BY BAD PEOPLE.
i know JOSH HOMME (QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, KYUSS) has talked in interviews about how members of a band have to accepting of their position in the band for it to work, a bassist cant secretly pine to be the guitarist. so there is a sense that this BARNES ship and that there is no opportunity for advancement within OF MONTREAL. maybe some of these former members had UNREALISTIC expectations, but watching a documentary about how their dreams and aspirations are shot down with no sense of feeling or humanity is hard to consume. at least for me.
makes me question why they even made this documentary. if it was to show what an IMMATURE, POMPOUS ass BARNES is, then congratulations. maybe it was to show the music succeeding in spite of being sourced from this sorry MAN-CHILD. i honestly dont know what the point was or who this film was made for. which is why i find it so interesting in spite of such.