The Mysterious Indie Peddler, Kim Conlan, Revealed
I've never met the Indie Peddler before, but I've been asked numerous times to find out who the hell she is. With her long red hair and a wide, radiant smile, she welcomed me with a large hug during our interview. "I'm Kim. Thank you for coming." She had an inspiring kind of voice, velvety, her words carefully chosen and enunciated. "It's very weird to be on the other side being interviewed," Conlan admitted. "But at least we aren't focused on who Paris Hilton is dating. It's rotting our minds."
If you haven't checked out Conlan's Facebook, Myspace, or theindiepeddler.blogspot.com, you are definitely missing out. She knows how to captivate her music fans, and she isn't afraid to use her own unique style to do so. "I'm too aware of corporate elements, I just want to write exactly the way I want to write," she declared. On June 17, Conlan is launching 100 copies of her handcrafted journal at Detroit Bar for all to peruse.
She spent a year and a half writing, traveling, designing and creating her first journal, and she claims she couldn't do it without the music in Orange County. Railroad to Alaska, Moonshine and the Drugs, Drums And Color and Stanley Lucas Revolution will all be performing at the event with a $5 cover. If you want to purchase her journal, it will be available for $15 or a $20 package including a cassette featuring local artists like Billy Kernkamp, Pistolero and the New Limb. You won't want to miss it.
OC Weekly (Danielle Bacher): What inspired you to begin writing? Did you go to school for Journalism?
Kim Conlan: I went to school at UC Irvine, and I didn't realize that when I was applying for my major that literary journalism was on the list. The program was brand new and there were only 60 kids in it [at that time]. I had teachers who had written for Rolling Stone and Harper. It was weird to get advice from people with that kind of experience. Writing creative non-fiction like Hunter S. Thompson is a newer style of journalism, and I couldn't picture myself at like a 944 or something like that. I interned at Surfline under Marcus Sanders. He used to send me huge files, like an interview with Kelly Slater that I would have to transcribe for an hour and a half. I realized then that I wanted to switch into the artist community. That's where I felt at home. It felt warm and comfortable. Anything artistic, I'm completely infatuated with. It drew me over and I let the surf industry go.
What made you want to start writing about bands around Orange County?
I wanted to write the way that I envisioned writing: my own way. I figured I would just start my own blog. I've been obsessed with music since I was really young. It's always been part of my life. I lost a little faith in the surf industry. I knew I needed a change, and pushed me into the music scene. I used to go to shows by myself and stand by the wall in the corner and take it all in. I could be quiet, watch and absorb the music.
Do you play any instruments?
I've been singing since I was little. I spent a lot of time in band in high school, and tinker on guitar and piano. Singing is where it's at for me. My dad's side of the family was very musical. I had a vocal coach that was a professional opera singer. I received training that most people would be lucky to get. I'm that weirdo who searches on the computer discovering new music that I could download and play.
What were some shows that caught your attention when you first began exploring concerts?
My roomate and her boyfriend at the time loved underground music. She introduced me to Devendra Banhart and Voxhaul Broadcast. Now, I live at shows. I attend at least four per week. I remember watching the band Crystal Castles at Detroit in April 2008. It blew my mind. It was disgusting how hot and muggy it was in there. They played four songs and everyone jumped on stage. It was crazy; you couldn't even see the band at all. Later on that year, I saw Sage Francis, a white underground hip-hop artist ranting about political problems. I was singing every lyric as he was throwing broccoli into the crowd and wrapping an American Flag around his neck. Then, he grabbed my hand as I was standing front row and center. I thought, "Oh my god, this is so cool."
What prompted your alias "Indie Peddler" and why did you decide to create a homemade book of your work?
It's been almost a year and a half, and I've been writing about bands and continue to live locally. My name doesn't come from listening only to indie music because I like all kinds of music. I don't discriminate by any means. If you catch my attention and having something to say, then I will listen. At the same time, everyone has his or her own taste in music. I didn't want to criticize bands or tell people what music to listen to. Obviously, you can never write entirely objectively, but I wanted to paint a picture of what the music and message sounded like. Thats the idea of Indie Peddler: everyone should have a chance to decide what music they like for themselves rather than being told what to like.
How long did it take you to write/make your journal?
If you went to a concert and didn't like the music, would you write a negative review?
Do you feel any pressure from musicians (many of whom are good friends of yours) to write a certain way about them?
You wrote a piece on the Costa Mesa-based rock band the Growlers touring around the country. What was that experience like?
Would you ever consider paid writing for a publication?
How excited are you for the journal release party at Detroit Bar with all your favorite musicians?
What's your future goal? Is there a Volume II in store for us?