Interview with List of Likes
I actually played a show with List of Likes a few months ago. I’m not sure if it’s music oriented or leans more towards performance art, but it definitely is an entertaining spectacle. I think the list of the instruments they play kind of tells you what they’re about, cool kidz.
Jackie Suskin: Vocals, Banjo, Cheese Grater
Douglas Ferguson: Acoustic Guitar, Triwave Picogenerator, Piano, Frying Pan
QRD – How do you turn music mode on & off in your relationship with each other? Or do you find yourself pretty constantly collaborating on music even if it’s songs about cooking?
Jackie & Douglas – Our music is mostly made up of an improvisational evocation of wonky energies & willy-nilly honky-tonk, we’re always making it. Jackie has no interior monologue, all constant yowls & groan-yips, she’s always shaking her body around, & Douglas can’t help but dance-tap in those fancy black boots, so it all adds up.
QRD – How has your music changed by having someone you’re romantically involved with working with you?
Jackie & Douglas – It’s gotten thicker & louder, full of rambles & different pitches. So many tracks & pedals. Mainly it’s turned into a slam-jam of one crazy monster stitched into the mouth, hands, & ears of another.
QRD – How do you keep things professional rather than getting personal in the band? Like not letting being upset that someone’s not doing their house chores spill into band practice?
Jackie & Douglas – Oh no no no, say yes to the personal, let the vulnerability out & bang bam you’ll zing out a teeth-gnash of honest gifts that everyone can relate to (maybe). Either that or we make people uncomfortable, wriggle around in our tension, which is at least entertaining.
QRD – Do you think working musically together increases the strength of your relationship?
Jackie & Douglas – Without the music there would be a big mess in the kitchen, a lot of wax in our ears, a butter-faced alien race blooming in the basement, & a house full of dogs, ferrets, & red wine.
QRD – Do you think the music ever suffers because of your relationship?
Jackie & Douglas – Bring on the suffering, it makes everything grow better. & no. & yes.
QRD – Being in a romantic couple, do you try to curb lyrical content to or away from things in your relationship?
Jackie & Douglas – We both like fake bacon. We both like the way it sounds while cooking. We cannot escape this fact or others like it, nor would we want to.
QRD – A lot of families kind of look down on musicians as immature, do you find that going out with another musician has eased relationships with your parents or in-laws?
Jackie & Douglas – No. “Jackie, who’s this big bearded Shaman you’ve brought home, giving the gift of Omnicord & a hermitage in the woods of Tennessee?” “Douglas, who’s this neon-weave-headed lady you’ve brought home, with crazy creatures inked all over her arms, eating all our cheese & vegetables?” & they definitely wouldn’t understand if we told them we are fighting Satan’s Cavemen joined by the forces of Jackie’s sixteen year old cousin wearing silver high-tops & a homemade Darwin mask.
QRD – Which came first the musical collaboration or the relationship & do you feel that at this point that you could have one without the other?
Jackie & Douglas – The sounds of the bacon will continue, there will still be cavemen to fight & tight-pants dances to do. Love or not, Jackie will still need to list her likes & Douglas will still crave crystal power & the avenging of unruly demons.
QRD – How do things work with band members besides the two of you to get the same level of connectivity while playing your music?
Jackie & Douglas – Loads of groupies, homemade beet soup, assorted costumes, colorful lights, & howls of honesty.
QRD – Do you find music related gifts to be romantic or more like giving someone an appliance?
Jackie & Douglas – Jackie would be a fool if she didn’t burst open for a Graham Parsons cover & Douglas would be an idiot if he didn’t melt silly over a recording of a squeaky rocking chair accompanied by a little ditty about avocados.
QRD – The musician life style has an inherent lack of financial security & healthcare. Do you find yourself thinking, “How can we start a family & continue our musical careers?”
Jackie & Douglas – We don’t need money, only electric power, lots of chipotle, & TREX.
QRD – Do you ever switch off instruments to give each other ideas?
Jackie & Douglas – Douglas puts pennies on the banjo, I pluck on a few hairs from Satan’s beard, & whoever has the longest fingernails gets to grate the Parmesan & record its voice.
QRD – A lot of people say they feel most spiritually connected to another person is when they’re on stage & the set is working. Is this what you find & how does this energy flow into your romantic relationship?
Jackie & Douglas – We’ve never had a working set. Jackie screams/howls out lists & Douglas slips into the land of the ancient Mayan-esque Hillbilly, all the while the evil around us gets scared into laughter & ends up dressed in some Sunday-best, ribbons in hair, nails painted pink.
QRD – Some couples start to get seen as a unit with one member as dominant. Do you ever want to get one of you more recognition?
Jackie & Douglas – Jackie wants to be a hermit one day, so it all works out. Besides, everyone knows when you’re half Serbian-Croatian & Jewish you have invisibility powers, so Douglas will always get the spotlight.
QRD – Do you feel a need to have separate projects where you just work on your own?
Jackie & Douglas – Jackie speaks Spanish so naturally there are way more groupies, gods, & animals she can connect with. Douglas knits sweaters for earthworms & makes bubblegum sculptures while listening to Bob Dylan. Naturally we produce different beasts.
QRD – Musicians often run into fans with crushes, is there a secret to recognizing when something is getting inappropriate instead of being band promoting?
Jackie & Douglas – We love groupies. Any press is good press. Besides, the more people the more sounds to capture & use as ammunition.
QRD – Any advice for other musician couples?
Jackie & Douglas – Don’t live together. Go on vision quests alone. Have different hairstyles so people can tell you apart. Don’t pretend that tour is a honeymoon. Don’t deny your connections to magical forces outside the confines of love. Don’t shy away from matching spandex or wacky hats of various styles.