INTERVIEW: Justin Kamerer uses words about Art and Music!

Pictured above: The Beard That Grew A Man!

Justin Kamerer makes art things that you wouldn’t believe. Well,  you might believe them if you looked at them, which you absolutely should do. Usually known as Angryblue, Kamerer is an artist who has worked with numerous bands over the years ranging from hometown heroes like Kinghorse, to internationally renowned acts like Black Fucking Sabbath (or Black Sabbath as they’re commonly known). Kamerer is also a musician who started off in The Rainbow Girls, and has worked through a number of projects in the interim years. We sat down to type words at Justin as part of our series that explores the rich artist culture in Louisville.

Never Nervous:  Are you working on any new musical projects of your own?

Justin Kamerer:  I
am! Currently, I’m working with the gentleman/jerks that I previously
wrote with in a band called “Canopic” years ago. We started writing
about a year ago with just 3 of us – Josh Spriggs, Aaron French and
myself. Recently, we’ve been working with Aaron Mette and Roman Grey.

It’s
interesting to work with people I’m comfortable writing with while
trying to work on music I’m unfamiliar with writing. We’re all trying to
avoid that “we’re getting the band back together, dude!” vibe and are
interested in trying to do something we haven’t done before.

That said, with the recent added variables, I’m really excited to see
what happens. We’re currently just jamming and seeing what happens
before we go back and analyze the practices and start harvesting/growing
songs from there.

The project is called “Coffins.” What? There’s
already a successful Japanese band called that? Meh. I’m not going to
tour and compete or cause them any problems. I just want an excuse to
make terrible noise.

NN:  What type of bands do you enjoy to create art for the most or is there a preference at all?

JK:  I
do my favorite work when it’s a band who’s music I know and relate to. I
get pretty excitable on fun projects. I think the Melvins are one of my
favorite bands to do posters for. It gives me an excuse to do something
ridiculous.

However, I do really enjoy a challenge. When i was
mainly focused on merchandising for the music industry as my job, some
of my favorite jobs were for people I would never typically work with
like Genesis. Trying to create something successful for a target
demographic I don’t at all relate to is problem-solving that the
designer side of me loves.

Using the phrase “target demographic”
bums me out – but it’s part of being able to analyze and research things
in a proper way. I get pretty nerdy about researching design.

NN:  Have you had any horror stories dealing with bands? Any treats or nice perks?

JK:  There
are horror stories with any job, I suppose. Offhand, I can’t think of a
specific story that has the cadence of, “you’re not going to believe
this!” It really is like a lot of jobs in the way where there are failed
projects or disappointments or where the client might water something
down so its no fun for anyone involved …but you learn how to juggle it
and control those things with experience so you can get a strong
product that everyone is happy with.

The obvious perk is while i
might have a ridiculous month or week, I get to go, “well, at least it’s
from drawing & designing ugly stuff on my own terms instead of
something else.”

I generally get to see any tour I’m designing
something for. Last year, I went out to FacebookHQ to do an installation
and that was a surreal experience.

NN:  Do you see an intersection between art and music? If so, how would you define that?

JK:  Ultimately,
the music itself is an art. The more opportunities to create something
that is an extension of that specific project/album/tour/basement
recording, the more of an impact that project is going to have.
Sometimes the music is even only a piece of the whole scope of the art
project, like a soundtrack for the visual.

Unfortunately,
sometimes, the art is just a way to market the music. That’s definitely okay too but one would hope that a creator would care about the whole
scope of the project.

For instance, I’ve done music merchandise
and album art for a while now. With Coffins, I just want another excuse
to make something. I’m not going to make any money with it or even make a
blip on a radar in an internet environment where bands are able to
force themselves out of the woodwork with overpopulated fervor of a
caffeinated zombie horde. I want to write music I’m uncomfortable with
making so it forces me to try new things. I want to put out a product
that I as a collector would be interested in because i love the craft of
seeing something become tangible. I just want to make that thing that
made me really excited to pour through album art while listening to
something I picked up at ear-x-tacy and had waited months for.

To be involved in making that sort of thing on any scale is really exciting.

NN:  Specifically, do you think that music influences or informs your art?

JK:  It
does in the way that i cannot function without hearing it at all times.
There’s absolutely no way i could do my job …or any job without
music. I don’t know that what I’m listening to would impact what my
hands are doing, though. I’ve got a sonic a.d.d. so if I’m listening to
something aggressive, i’m not going to change up the art if i change to
something like Portishead or Motown.

Listening to Mr. Bungle or Dillinger Escape Plan isn’t going to make me start doing jabby motions
with the pen. …but now i sort of wish I uncontrollably responded that
way. It would be like some sort of art tourettes if I were to put my
ipod on shuffle. Alternating between classical and trap music would
create a visual nightmare.

…now I’m jealous I don’t suffer from that made-up ailment.

NN:  What music inspires you when you work on art?

JK:  Turbo drone polka. That or music that makes me want to make pizza. I just did a search for ‘racist italian music’ and couldn’t find a sufficient result.

NN:  Are there any local bands that get you going? It doesn’t have to be a current band, you know.

JK:  There
was a lot of stuff from the mid to late 90’s that still get me pumped
up. I recently took a huge box of local albums to the printing shop
after setting up a CD player and turntable. Going through a box of
physical media is such a smarter way of rediscovering music than going
through the mp3s or frequent go-to albums on Spotify.

Louisville Favorites:
Guilt,
Slint, Hedge, Blangk, Shipping News, I still love that Litmus album, The Revenants, Coliseum, Rachels, Breather Resist/Young Widows, Kodan Armada, The Driftin’ Luke/S. Garrison stuff. I love what All Dead are
doing.

One I still think about at least once a year is Chernobyl 2000. Their visuals still pop up every once in a while. Their mystery
was amazing.

I don’t remember if Scott Ritcher was behind the
visuals for that or not, but I can definitely credit some of my
infatuation of design with the releases he was behind. There were some
incredibly beautiful and creative releases in the Louisville scene and
in high school it blew my mind that some local dude was making all of
that stuff.

I don’t really get the opportunity to mention that.

NN:  Have you ever created sequential art? If not, have you ever been interested?

JK:  I
grew up on comic-books and still grab a few trades every couple
of months. I cannot keep up with active titles. I need to be able to
serial read!

Unfortunately, I am TERRIBLE at sequential art.
Drawing the same character in multiple scenarios and backgrounds is like
my personal hell. I’m personally more focused on doing
iconographic-based illustrations or just stupid detailed things.

NN:  Anything you want to plug, music or otherwise?

JK:  Just
the website, I suppose. I’ve got loads of prints and show some of my
progression on various projects in the portfolio. Last October, Last Gasp released a book called ‘Amigos de los Muertos‘ that features art by
me, Jeral Tidwell (another Louisvillian and half of Crackhead Press –
my print shop), Roberto Jaras Lira and David Lozeau. It features day of
the dead themed art and I laid it out to look similar to a bible with
the foil print on faux leather, thin pages with gilded edges and a
ribbon bookmark.

If one were so inclined, they could pick up a copy at http://angryblue.com/!