I came to NYC just over 10 years ago. I was drawn to the city from the imagery I was seeing in photographs from the 30/40/50/60’s. I was an intern at Magnum photos when I arrived.
The most overrated, hyped up stuff about our dear Brooklyn and the most endearing attributes that make it so amazing for all the artists who call it home…
I love that any night of the week you can do anything you want really. I like seeing all the new spaces and things happening. I like that a lot of people are here to hustle and make things happen instead of just waiting around.
But I also get tired of the “style over substance" culture and the extreme arrogance that comes with privilege and $$$ regardless of talent (or lack thereof) that seems to run rampant here.
Lonely Life – what’s the best remedy?
God, when you find out tell me. These days I think I prefer to be alone!
Nights spent weeping/days spent sleeping – how the time you spent writing?
I find writing kind of a spontaneous magical process. I’m really at its mercy. I wish I knew some skills for writing when nothing is coming.
Then again, it seems the most honest, simple and connecting stuff just comes in a moment, usually at a time of some emotional turmoil or inner volatility, it seems.
Dreaming about the Things That I Am Not…
My songs seem to be broken down into two themes - heartbreak/loss/longing and singing about my own existential turmoil /concerns over my life, career, purpose etc.
Maybe that’s really just the same theme from different angles. I wrote that song when I was feeling very depressed and confused about what I was doing with my life. Very fun stuff as you can see.
SWIMMING oceans of … - when did you write this verse?
This just came to me while I was fooling around with an old guitar and kick drum in my friend’s basement. One of those spontaneous outpouring things I mentioned above. I think I had just been disappointed by another potential romance (or at least that’s a fair bet).
Strangers, I guess we’re just strangers – a heartbreak hymn - and heartbreaks are ok as long as we get to hear to songs like this…
Thanks. It wasn’t until I was first heartbroken that I actually started listening to the lyrics of songs. I thought “Oh my god! This! I understand this! This is what they are singing about!”
There is some comfort in knowing you're not the only one experiencing that horrible feeling. It makes you feel like maybe you are normal and maybe, just maybe, you will be ok.
Looking for another lover someone to replace another… - one of your fans wrote, “Never ever cheer up Scott Rudd.” Obviously that’s from someone trying to pay you a compliment, but…
I remember the exact moment I wrote that song. I was very upset about some girl and I was playing music with a friend. I sat on the couch and the song just came out fully formed on the spot. There definitely is a lot of truth to that whole being upset is great for creative inspiration idea (“never cheer up”)… maybe not the best for enjoying life though.
Accept me like my mother raised me… how did your mother raise you?
My parents were pretty awesome, but we all blame someone for our issues. Maybe unfairly sometimes - but in the end I guess it’s up to us on how we behave - still working on that.
I am so tired of feeling lost… I am so tired of feeling old… I am so tired of feeling small…
Life brings you down and you write some heartbreaking lyrics like these that sort of speak to everyone who shares the same feelings at some point in their life. But what can you say about your lyrics?
I really struggle with the lyrics the most - that is, I don’t know how to “write” lyrics. Unless they just come to me - they often feel forced and I won’t use them. I have a bunch of half finished songs just waiting for the damn lyrics to come. Maybe I’m too hard on myself, but if anything feels “forced” or “written” lyric-wise, I feel embarrassed to put it down.
I often ride my bike around trying to figure out the final lyrics to a song, and then sometimes I realize that there is nothing more to say so why drag it out? A lot of my new songs are quite short for this reason.
My heart is cold - but we survive that and the best medicine is…
Time probably, and getting / putting yourself out there. It is kinda true - sometimes just getting out and going for a walk and feeling the sun on your face can really help.
We need to distract ourselves from ourselves.
I hope someday we can be friends – what is it like to be your friend…
I only have a few very close friends. I’m pretty black and white with picking my friends and usually know if I’m going to love or hate someone fairly quickly. Unless I really connect with someone who I feel “gets me” and I feel “safe” to be myself around, I tend to keep people at a bit of distance.
I have no tolerance/patience for people who have no sense of humor or are uptight or fake/superficial. I heard someone once describe the “theater of cool” vibe that seems to be going on around here. I like to avoid those people and that “scene.”
My closest friends are very patient with me and understand my sense of humor, and sometimes - I mean often - extreme ways of expressing my viewpoints - thanks friends - the few of you know who you are.
Your photography: decrepit places, haunting faces, black and white stories of humanity stuck in sadness… Where do you find these characters?
The images on my personal website are of my neighbors from several years ago.
When photographing, I really like spending time with people and observing them and waiting for visual /emotional inspiration to strike. I like trying to find a moment of unguardedness or direct honesty/emotion in a subject. I’m not very good at directing or posing people.
What is it you want to say to them through your photography?
Maybe it’s not that deep for me. I just like taking photos that have a “feeling” to them.
Why all the bleakness?
I think I am drawn to photos that have emotion. I often find that bleakness is something people won’t show unless either they are truly comfortable or so far gone they don't care anymore (in which case I don’t feel comfortable photographing them as it feels exploitative and cheap).
So maybe I like capturing this sense of intimacy people only sometimes show to you - I like trying to catch that fleeting moment. I also just like the way the images feel and look.
How did you get started in photography? What’s the lineup: music then photography or photography then music or both simultaneously.
I started playing guitar when I was 14 and would always be in my room playing and singing stuff. I never really took it very seriously. But I found it very therapeutic. Shortly after this time my older brother started making crazy home movie productions and I was conscripted to be the camera man. I became very interested in film making and that was my original degree before I then became more interested in Photography. I started playing music again (and took it more seriously) in 2009 when I was feeling pretty bored, disillusioned and lost. As always, I found music a therapeutic outlet.
Is life in NYC enough to feed your imagination or do you travel or do other projects/activities to sort of collect material for your art?
NYC is my favorite place in the USA, but I love to travel outside North America to foreign places for the sheer experience of meeting new people, seeing new things and the excitement of the unfamiliar.
I almost always travel alone as I find it makes you more open to all of these things. I love touring with music - it is a great way to connect and meet people. It’s the perfect ice-breaker.
I rarely take photos when I travel, just a few snaps here and there or portraits of the people I meet. These days, because photography is my work, I prefer to leave that aspect at home for the most part when traveling.
Other than your website, where else can people view your work and how can they purchase your photography?
I was part of a show many years ago where I sold some framed pieces, but for the most part my website or blogs seem to be the best place to see my personal stuff.
I have also done some album covers and photos for some bands here in NY. Right now it looks like Yoko Ono might be using some of my photos for her new album art, BUT there are some exterior hurdles we are waiting to be cleared, so fingers crossed for that.