THE INTERNET - WHAT'S UP ON PLANET BONK
Some of you may remember the kid with the name to end all names who decided it would be a good idea to record a song every day for the whole of 2009. Well guess what? Lawrence Bonk has made it well over halfway to writing, recording and performing a whole 365 songs in 365 days. After the initial zaniness of the concept wore off I'd kind of stopped checking in on Lawrence for a while until he emailed out of the blue. It turns out he's going strong and has even ended up being courted by a bunch of mainstream press. Since we got on his case only 16 days into the year we feel close to the man and his project and decided it would be good to have a little catch up chat and see how it's all panning out on planet Bonk.
Vice: Congratulations Lawrence! You have made it over halfway. What has changed since the last time we spoke?
Lawrence Bonk: Well, actually, since last we spoke I was "politely" asked by my roommates to not make as much music. I moved out a few days later. I can understand their point but, also, fuck 'em. It's not like I was banging on bongo drums at four in the morning with a joint hanging out of my mouth, chanting lines from The Satanic Verses. Now I live with more understanding folks, and a totally non-understanding cat. He's a major dick. He just ate the AC adapter to my favorite keyboard. So there will be none of that for a while.
Aside from moving in with an electronic equipment-eating cat, what else is up?
I've just been making music and trying to make money. I took a weekend job at the UN. You wouldn't think it, but it's kind of a major dump inside.
Which has been your favourite ditty of the project so far, or are they all like little baby Bonks which you couldn't possibly cast the shadow of favoritism upon?
It's hard to say with so many. I set up a sort of "greatest hits" type thing on the side of the blog so new listeners aren't so easily overwhelmed. It's getting to the point where it's kind of like going to R Stevie Moore's website. Songs hiding all over the damned place. Still, if I had to go with recent ones I'd go with "I Don't Know Myself". I've been jamming that one a lot lately.
Which has gone down best with your followers?
You know, it's interesting. The songs I labor over, spend twelve hours on, and think come out really nicely are never the ones people dig. It's always something I threw together in 45 minutes while hungover with an ice pack on my head that I get the best feedback from. Like this one.
Are you scraping the barrel for inspiration or is it still flowing thick and fast?
Anything and everything inspires songs. At the time of this writing, I just finished this song and I finished that movie Observe and Report. That flick kind of freaked me out so that song popped out. It's weird, anything will set something off: movies or things people say to me...hell, even the American health care "debate" that is going on right now. The songs come out fast. That's never been a problem. I write the songs in a few minutes usually. However, recording has gotten to be a laborious process and it has been getting to me. My equipment set-up is just so archaic, so ridiculously off-putting, that I spend about 85 per cent of my time just trying to make things sound not so shitty. I think my entire set up – instruments and all – costs about as much as a dinner for four at Chick-fil-A. It could be worse, I guess. It could be McDonald's.
Do your followers have a gang name? Like the Another Day On Earthettes? Or the Bonkites?
I think they call themselves "Earthers." They're obsessed with finding out where I was born and always harangue me about producing my birth certificate. They kind of creep me out.
Wow. We'll let you keep your mystique. How many Earthers are you are averaging these days?
I no longer look at my site stats because it makes me antsy and nervous. If I could gauge from the amount of people that have joined the mailing list then I'd say around 1,000. About the same amount of people in 1993 that would buy a Sarah Records 7" upon release. Actually, they are probably the exact same 1,000 people.
You have a fancy new Tumblr blog. I really don't get that site, it's kind of a freak Twitter/Blogger hybrid.
Me neither. I only picked it when I started because they only allow you to post one song a day. I thought that was a sign from the e-Gods. I like it tons better than Twitter but I'm also on that. I get to hear all about random meals pseudo-acquaintances just ate. Apparently the hamburger at Corner Bistro is very good.
On the donations button on your site it says you spend the donations on strings and spaghetti. Which spaghetti dishes fuel Another Day On Earth?
I spend more on spaghetti than strings, actually. I make my famous "pasta al whatever," which is pasta topped with whatever is in my fridge that is remotely edible. Sometimes it's amazing. Other times, not so much. Note to readers: salsa may seem like an adequate substitute for tomato sauce, but it is not. Don't fool yourself. Besides that, I cook whatever my favorite Internet chef tells me to cook.
People have started making videos to go with the tunes. How did that come about?
It's all part of my master plan to maximize my internet presence in this global web 2.0 economy. Next stop is a social network where people can discuss what they just ate for dinner, set to my music. It's going to make three random tech dudes a lot of money. Not really. I think I just got a couple randomly and decided to start the other site once I had received, like, four. That's actually slowed down recently; if anyone wants to make one or five, be my guest. As far as my favorite, I've always had a soft spot for this one, which was made by Lucy Goubert.
Do you think now that you have done things for the "mainstream media" you'll forget about us? We go back so far!
Not at all. The BBC 6 thing came about when Tom Robinson sent me an email and asked me for some MP3s, so I sent them along. Although, it may have been a robot Tom Robinson. He made no slurs against Ray Davies.
The pictures that accompany the songs are consistently great. Where are you finding them?
The pictures come from nearly a lifetime of internet trolling. I remember being 12 years old and sneaking on America Online after my folks went to bed using my 2400-band modem. I think I happened on a few off-color photos of Morrissey and I've been looking to better them since.
Okey-dokey, I guess we'll catch up again in six months. Bye!