20 Questions: Mon Draggor

Photo: cover of Pushing Buttons

Richard Jankovich released an electro-pop gem as the Burnside project in 2003. Now, he has a new name, two new albums he's giving away for free, and 20 questions to answer.

Mon Draggor

Pushing Buttons

Label: Fraga Music
US Release Date: 2015-01-12

By the end of this introduction, you will own two Richard Jankovich albums.

Jankovich has been one of the most fascinating under-the-radar artists to emerge in the last 15 years. Back in 2003, he worked with a variety of collaborators under the name the Burnside Project. Their most notable album, 2003's The Networks, the Circuits, the Streams, the Harmonies, was a small bit of electro-pop wonder, mixing pop culture-heavy lyrics with dynamic digital arrangements with an astute sense of melody. Who loved the Burnside Project? The UK charts did. Queer as Folk did, using single "Que the Pulse to Begin" as its theme song in later years. Hell, even Cameron Crowe did, nominating it for that year's Shortlist Music Prize. There was a profound warmth to Jankovich's music, which helped separate it from a lot of the other electronic acts at the time.

However, nothing Jankovich released since garnered the same kind of critical prominence, and before long, he began doing remixes under the moniker Pocket, adding his own spin to songs by everyone from Beck to Radiohead to Of Montreal. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of his, Jankovich eventually releasing a full-length album under Pocket in 2012 featuring collaborations with the likes of Tanya Donelly and Robyn Hitchcock.

Yet for Mon Draggor, Jankovich's newest collaboration, he decided to do something totally different: he created two albums, one of more "upbeat" songs and the other of more "downbeat" numbers, and put the entire damn thing online for free. Yet that's not even Mon Draggor's greatest accomplishment, either. The best part about these two albums is how, unlike, say, the Foo Fighter's similarly split In Your Honor, Jankovich finds real diversity in these different sides, changing tempos and textures just enough to make each disc a total standalone piece in and of itself, all while crafting what may be his two strongest full-lengths yet of his career.

Artist: Mon Draggor

Album: Pulling Strings

Label: Fraga Music

US Release Date: 2015-01-12


Yep, you can download both albums with no fuss right on his website (or iTunes, if want to tip the guy). To help celebrate the occasion, Jankovich sat down to answer PopMatters' 20 Questions, here revealing a kinship with Tina from Bob's Burgers, a desire to remove '90s nu-metal from our universe, and how he wished he created the 1991 movie Soapdish.

* * *

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

I used to watch two to three movies a week but since having my daughter, my viewing time has been greatly reduced to about 30 minutes a week where my wife and I huddle around a laptop, shushing each other while an episode of Downton Abbey or Nashville flickers on. Still, I've managed to sneak away once or twice for a trip to the cinema and while I've seen most of the Oscar contenders, I can't say that any of them made me cry. However, I will state that, in terms of literature, my monthly bank statement usually draws a tear or two. And even though I didn't watch, I imagine The Interview would make me shed a tear on behalf of quality filmmaking.

2. The fictional character most like you?

Tina from Bob's Burgers. Her monotone expressions of love and being perpetually stuck in those awkward pre-teen years are a match for how I live my life. Though I do not have the same fixation on butts that she has.

3. The greatest album, ever?

There are a few records that I always come back to and that stop me in my tracks. I suppose those are probably my "greatest album ever" picks: the Replacements' Tim, New Order's Lowlife, R.E.M.'s Reckoning, etc. This the foundational stuff, the music of my youth. Today, though, I usually "consume" music by the playlist. Albums are so passé; anyone who would release an 18-song double album today is a lunatic.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?

When I was little, we used to play Star and Hutch. My brother, Dan, was Starsky, my cousin Tim was Hutch, and I was "And". This is a true story.

5. Your ideal brain food?

When I need inspiration or intellectual stimulation, I turn to vapid and disposable headlines on Huffington Post or BuzzFeed. Honestly, putting down the phone and/or laptop and going outside usually does it for me: walking in a park, hanging with my daughter or solitary physical activities. Which reminds me, time to go swimming...

6. You're proud of this accomplishment, but why?

Look, I'm sorry that I went the wrong way. I got so much on my mind it's been a long day. And I'm sorry, ma, that I took the wrong roads but I figured I'd take time to let y'all know. Sell drugs, I did it (but I ain't proud of that); I'm a thug, I admit it (but I ain't proud of that); It's just the way I'm living (but I ain't proud of that, ma, I ain't proud of that).

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