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Poketo Interviews Neko Case

Dreams really do come true! This doesn’t happen often, but, we actually got to interview Neko Case! You’ll find questions here, that probably no other blog, except for Poketo would ask… you’ll see.

This interview is in conjunction with THE COUGAR-RAMA MUSCLE CAR-‘SPLOSION Fundraiser to benefit 826 National, Neko Case is raffling off her beloved 1967 Mercury Cougar to benefit 826 National. We love 826National and have supported their free tutoring and literacy programs for kids over the past years. Their focus on creative writing and arts in education is something we believe in. Raising money for 826 National will help kids expand their minds! Lets get straight to the interview and hear why Neko is urging us to get in the car!

Neko Car

What are your most memorable moments with your car that you would like to share with us?
It’s a 1967 actually, I bought it years ago in Denver. It’s my dream car!  Its name is “Angie Dickinson”. It’s what Police Woman would drive off-duty. My favorite memory with it is definitely shooting the cover photo for “Middle Cyclone”. I held a sword like a mega-dork, but somehow it balanced out cause theres nothing that car doesn’t look cool doing. It’s a star, I just rode it’s coat tails!

Why are deciding to auction off your car?
It doesn’t get the attention it deserves because I’m on the road all the time. I didn’t want to sell it because I’m so attached to it. But, I had to admit it was lonely, so I decided it needed a good cause. It’s a very giving car!  Who doesn’t love 826!? And for those who don’t know who have YET to start loving them, we need to get the word out. Angie thought it was a great idea.

What inspired you to collaborate with 826National for this auction?
I’m a BIG fan of what they do, and the way they do it. I WAS that kid who NEEDED 826 when I was in school, and even though I missed the boat I’m so excited to help get kids reading, writing and creating. Books saved my life. I want them to know how amazing their lovely brains are!

What is a childhood memory you have of learning to read and write? Was there any particular piece of writing you were proud of when you were a child?
Well, I won a regional poetry contest when I was in 7th grade. I got to read my poem at the zoo. It was the only thing I had ever won and the ONLY encouragement I had EVER had about writing. It came as a complete shock to me, I was so invisible in the school system as most kids AND teachers were. I really hope this changes, good teachers should be treated like rock stars.

What do you hope for this auction to do?
Get people excited about 826 and raise awareness of how unique and kid-friendly the program is.

What will your next mode of transportation be after you sell this car?
Well, I live in a snowy, mountain-place so I now have a used 4 wheel drive truck. Functional AND manly!

piano

Is the way you approach songwriting the same way you create your art(drawing)?  Is there a difference between the two?
No, they are the same, it’s all about chasing ideas, and then when you catch up to them you PUSH them in every direction until it clicks. Sometimes it’s painful, but it’s ALWAYS rewarding.

If you were to teach a workshop for 826National, what would your workshop be about?
It would be about how even tiny things are “art” and how those things should be valued and how they make us individuals.

neko licorice

Based on your life experiences, what would you want young, aspiring writers/ artists to be aware of that you wished someone had told you when you were young?
There is NO place reading and writing can’t take you. They are like a platinum card with no limit!  And no matter how uncool or small we feel sometimes, our ideas are POWERFUL and important.

Is there anything valuable humans can learn from animals?
What ISN’T there to learn!? I am most impressed with their ways of communicating. The subtleties, their patience. I always think about dogs and horses when I think about this. They could be wild yes, but even with their intensely complicated and specific social systems amongst their own kind, they are still willing to listen to us and hear what we want from them. They are willing to learn our language. If we take the time to learn theirs as well both are rewarded with friendship and loyalty.  It staggers me, I think it may be the most beautiful thing there is.

Had you always been an environmentalist?
Yes, I’ve always felt protective of nature, including the nature of humans!

What are some little changes you’ve made in your day-to-day that are eco-friendly?
I recycle like mad!  I like to make “new” things out of used things and I try hard to buy local and organic food, which is sometimes hard on the road, but it works most of the time. I grow my own food from organic and heirloom seed. NO GMOS! I don’t use any chemicals in anything if I can help it. Cleaners, laundry, paint etc. Too many poisons! As far as body and face products, I make my own. I got sick of ingredients I couldn’t identify, I mean, if I won’t eat poison, why would I put in on my face or rinse it down into my water system? My farm is organic and has been for a couple hundred years, I get pretty anal about keeping it that way, but I’m stoked about it.

music

What is the creative process like as a solo artist versus being in a band (The New Pornographers) where your ideas aren’t solely coming from you, but from everyone?  Are there pros and cons of being in both?
The two bands have always existed together, both started at the same time so I can’t imagine one without the other. I feel exposed to double the ideas and influences which can be overwhelming, but only in the way of walking into a giant toy store for a kid, you get the “where do I start!?”  panic, which is thrilling. Sometimes scheduling can be a challenge, but it always works out and both bands respect each other’s time.

If you were trying to describe your music to a deaf person, what would it look like?  (Showing your music videos do not count!)
If you could watch a bird fly in slow motion and then flip a switch that made the air become visible, and you could see that the air was helping the bird up and along, and that it was so glad to be of service. Symbiotic joy.

What do you think your music will sound like or be about in 10 years.
I have NO clue, but I can’t wait to find out!

Surely there must be at least one or two songs out there on the radio you found yourself bobbing your head to…
I don’t ever listen to radio, I really don’t have a clue.

Neko Poketo

This question doesn’t mean to be gratuitous, but, why do you love Poketo!? You once wrote us telling us that our shirts saved you while on tour… tell us more!!
The softest, most handsome, non-sweatshop,well made shirts with excellent customer service!  You guys have it goin’ on!  xoxoxoxo

Thanks Neko! We love you. YOU have it goin’ on!
More about 826National and this fundraiser. Or call 415-730-7526 to enter.
More on Neko Case.
All photographs via Jason Creps Photography.

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