Me: What does it mean to be a fan of something?
Risa: Do we want just the general “to like something so much that you want to dive into every aspect of it,” or do we want the philosophical version, which is basically identifying with certain aspects of a pop culture reference or something that you find in the entertainment industry that ends up becoming something that influences anything from how you dress to how you speak… to even potentially learning a certain language because you want to understand everything about that particular thing that you are into. So… basically it boils down to liking something so much that it influences your life.
Have you been part of a fan community? How so? Please describe.
Let’s see… Well, yes, I am part of a fandom community. In what way, well… I’ve gone to thirteen to fifteen concerts for this particular band that I love because it is them and I’ve loved them since high school. My style of dress kind of comes from this culture that I consider myself a part of—the emo culture—so even though I can’t full-on dress like it now, it still influences my hairstyle to randomly be wearing one earring because it works and it’s something I identify with. [I’ve driven] three hours down the shore because I want to go to a convention and sing songs in Japanese because I still remember them. Actually that just reminded me of the fact that I legit need to start practicing some stuff for AnimeNEXT because I actually want to enter the legit karaoke contest this year and… I actually enjoy it.
How often and how long do you participate in these fan communities/fandom spaces?
These days, with work, I feel like I’m rarely “in it,” unless I find a particular event that I absolutely have to go to, and when I do, it’s probably once every couple months. Especially when it comes to concerts, it has to be once every couple months otherwise it’s like, (drags nails across table). So yeah, a little concert withdrawal here. “Oh look. Motion City Soundtrack is playing at Starland. We are buying tickets to that!” So it’s like, I feel like I have to indulge every so often just to remind myself there’s more to life than just me working like an actual adult, and that I’m not actually an adult all the time.
Is it like an escape?
Oh, definitely. Not even just an escape, but more so a reminder of who I consider myself to be outside of what society deems is acceptable to be as an adult.
Please describe a typical interaction or experience within these spaces.
(laughs) Typical interaction would be bumping into somebody who’s dancing as much as you are in the middle of a crowd and saying, “Hi. Oh my god, you’re wearing the same shirt as me. That is amazing.” Or, [at a convention], “Oh my god, you’re [cosplaying] this character that I like. I love you. Take a picture with me.” Also typical is if you’re smack in the middle of a mosh pit and you either slide across because the floor is slippery with beer—which I have done, in these shoes, no less (laughs). Yeah, there was one instance [where] I was at Irving Plaza, and I’m wearing a dress, I’m wearing these shoes, and I’m about to go in a mosh pit and next thing I know, I’m literally standing there, sliding across the mosh pit, directly across, and praying so much that I don’t fall on my butt or slip, and dress goes up, and I go on floor (laughs). So you have to find moments where you’ll start singing with people because they’re singing just as much as you are, or even just randomly having a conversation with somebody because they happen to like the same thing that you’re into. So like, I’ve had instances where I’ve randomly made friends with people even just for five minutes just because you’re talking about Mayday Parade, or talking about Sailor Moon, because not everybody appreciates the classics anymore. Having those moments where it’s like, at this point you’re more of an older fan, so you may not identify with all the newer stuff that comes out, but you still feel like you’re part of the culture because you remember the older stuff that comes out. You have moments where you can connect with somebody because of that.
Describe your ‘history’ with a fandom. What made you join? What made you stay?
For one, what made me join was a song that came on repeatedly on Pandora, then I went and looked up the band and, sure enough, they were playing a show in Jersey, and I was like, “Okay, this is my birthday present, let me go,” and it was the greatest thing I could’ve ever discovered. What made me stay was constantly going after that feeling. I’ve never been anywhere else where you just feel the sheer energy of “happy,” and you have that moment where everybody is screaming to this one song that everybody knows the words to… and you all have this moment of… I guess a “one brain, one heart” kind of thing, because you’re all just in that moment, feeding off of that energy of “happy.” So, it’s like, every time I go to a show, or go to an emo night, I’m constantly reminded of that feeling and constantly get that feeling back and recapture it for as long as I can keep it in between the times I go to shows. For me, as an empath, the best thing I can do sometimes, especially if I’m feeling low—go to a show. I feel like I’m literally absorbing all of this great energy, and in some ways it keeps my battery going for at least a couple months, especially if it’s someone I really really love. Green Day. They tour every couple of years, but I’ve never come out of a show not happy. You’re seeing the people that make the music that you grew up identifying with or became involved with because you identify with it for so long, and seeing them live and enjoying themselves too, you’re just like… “Holy shit. This is…” The best way I can put it is “This is what happy feels like. True true happy,” and you want to keep that as long as possible. Sometimes it’s easier said than [done], but there’s no other feeling like being in the middle of a live show with a band that knows how to work a crowd. I’ve never had anything [else] like it. You can always tell a band who loves doing what they do versus a band doing it for whatever reason they’re doing it because the ones who love it, you feel it when they’re singing and playing their songs and interacting with the crowd. The ones who are kind of like, “I like it, but”—they’re less into it as you are. You can always feel the difference, it’s ridiculous.
You mentioned anime before. Is there a similar kind of feeling in that fandom, or is it kind of a different vibe?
That is more of a different vibe because, for me, that was more, “Oh, I didn’t realize there were other people who like this, too.” I grew up loving Studio Ghibli movies—I love the artwork in them. It’s one of the things that always influenced my art style, even if it was subtle. But, when I first started watching stuff, I didn’t know if other people were into it, and sometimes I felt like I was getting made fun of for it. But then as I started going to high school, [I realized] it’s okay to identify with this—it’s okay to be a nerd, essentially. Because, let’s face it, our school is literally just nerds, even if they’re in the closet or if they refuse to identify as such. Even if you really think about it, every single one of us—we were smart, but not all of us outwardly showed that we were smart. For example, I would have to say [an old classmate]. We all had our moments where we had a class that we excelled in, but with [that classmate], you’d hear some of the stuff that he did and you’d be like, “What…?” Whereas finding anime and stuff—it was an easy identifier of, like, “Okay, these are my people,” and it made it easier for me to feel like I’m part of a group. Well, that and drama club.
“Easily Identifiable Nerds.” (laughs) Let’s see… If you knew then what you know now as a fan in this community, would your fan experience be different? Would you join it again?
I’d probably be a lot more broke because I’d be going to shows a lot more often (laughs). And then, with anime… I’d probably actually cosplay, or would’ve actually cosplayed more, because I have the knowhow of crafting some pretty good stuff, between being a stagehand, and all the crafting classes I took as a design major, so if I could apply that then, I’d probably have a lot more confidence when it came to cosplay, so I’d probably actually have done it at cons and been comfortable doing it. Sometimes, the way I am now with conventions, I will cosplay to an extent. I have characters I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve never felt like I had the time to fully commit to it. If I knew to actually just do the characters, then I feel like I’d be a lot more comfortable doing it now. For AnimeNEXT, I wanted to do this one character because her clothing style is similar to mine anyway. The only thing I couldn’t find was the wig, because… similar haircut, straight black hair… I didn’t want to dye my hair black. [As for if I would join them again,] I probably would’ve been a lot more into emo culture and the music that I like. Heck, I probably would’ve tried being in a band. Always wanted to be a frontwoman—secret dream of mine. My clothes—I would probably be slightly more edgy. I think in recent years, I feel like I’ve evolved [in style] a little bit because of work, but actually I’m a little more [evolved] because I dye my hair funny colors now. Couldn’t do that before. I probably would have a lot more piercings—nose stud, going up the entire ear… And I’d probably have a tattoo already. So I think I’d be a little more hardcore about it, knowing what I know now versus then about how it makes me feel. I don’t like the fact that I work a 9-5 job. I feel it’s very “typical” and I don’t like being “typical.” Between being a theatre person and being an artist in general, I just don’t like typical societal stuff. My sister still swears I’m a hipster, but I’ve never thought of myself that way, even though I think some of my behaviors lean toward that, but not entirely. Like, the snobbery of being like, “I knew them first way back when, before they were mainstream”—I love stuff like that. I mean, I’m friends on Facebook with two people who are in bands that are still starting out, and I kinda like knowing that “I knew them when…” My friend Tom is in this band called Deviant Youth—I auditioned to be their singer, and now they’re actually doing more shows, and I’m just like, “Yes!” I love knowing that kind of thing, but I’m not full-on hipster that’s like “avocado toast and all that.” Granted, I still want to live in Brooklyn, but that’s just because I want to live in Brooklyn (laughs).
How important are your fandoms to you? Why are they important? I think you’ve kind of touched on it (laughs), but if you want to expand on it.
I mean, I found my friends with one of them, and I found me with the other. I wouldn’t be who I am now if it weren’t for those fandoms. I don’t think I would have as much in common with my friends if I didn’t have those fandoms. Granted, with the anime one, I’m not as into it as I once was, but it’s more so because I don’t really have the time to dedicate to it. I mean, I’m not particularly fond of the shift in art style for some of the newer shows I’ve seen. I feel like it’s too polished, versus old stuff—really really old anime—you can see the pencil strokes and how it’s animated. An old school charm that I like with the older stuff, whereas now, the story elements are still there and the heart is still there, but it’s almost too nice. So it’s a little bit of a turn-off for me, between that and—you see people younger than you who seem like they’re these “experts” (laughs), and you’re just like, “Hon, no, please go sit down.” So at times, you really don’t want to deal with that, either.
You talked about this, as well! Has fandom experience played a part in your identity/how you identify yourself today? How so?
As an angsty teenager, emo culture gave me something that I couldn’t really find anywhere else. It was like I had a voice for the first time ever, and I loved that. It gave me the confidence to be my own person. I look back at pictures from freshman year compared to the things I wore sophomore year, and it’s literally just like, [whispers] “What were you thinking?” I saw this one outfit that was this jean skirt, T-shirt hoodie, and awful hair style, and I’m like, “Why did no one tell me that that didn’t look good?” I’m inwardly cringing because I could tell that I was just wearing jeans because I never could before [due to Catholic school], not because it was in my actual style. Then you see this evolution into my sophomore year, and man, I had a lot of black. I still do. (laughs) Let’s not kid ourselves, (gestures to outfit) this is probably the most colorful outfit I could wear aside for a solid color, but that’s if I’m going for a certain type of theme. But I find that a lot of the stuff that I’m into has empowered me in some way. There’s this one show I really really love on Freeform—The Bold Type. It’s these mid-twenties girls living in New York and they’re doing their best to be their own people working at an awesome place and just… making it. I want that. That is literally me. Tell me your secrets. I want to get there. To me, it’s kind of frustrating that I see this and I’m like… theoretically I know it’s possible, but getting to that point is… It’s like, “Okay, I’ve paid my dues, but get me the dream job now.” There may be some instances [in the show] where it’s a little problematic, but oftentimes it addresses that and then makes it better. It’s my show. Technically speaking, it’s supposed to be an homage but also based off of the inner workings of Cosmo Magazine, so in some ways it reminds me of the fact that I watched The Devil Wears Prada religiously because I watched Stanley Tucci’s character’s job, and I wanted that job. Not so much because of the hours, but because of the photoshoots, being able to say what art goes where… It’s a lot of those things that made me go toward the career path that I’m on now. So, fandoms basically empowered me to follow a path and a passion that I have, even though right now I’m not doing anything acting-wise or singing-wise and it’s killing me. Like… a part of me isn’t being addressed, so it’s like I’m off-balanced. So, yeah. Fandoms have empowered me to say yes to being who I want to be. Plain and simple. (laughs)
Do you create content as a fan? Please describe.
I used to. Oftentimes it would just be drawings that were influenced by something I’d recently watched or if I felt like imitating the art style. I’d try to redraw a page from a manga. I’ve gotten a lot better at it over the years, which I’m really happy about (laughs), but at the same time, I don’t get that time to just sit down and draw the way I used to. I kinda miss it. There was this one drawing I had on DeviantArt of Itachi [from Naruto] that I made through Microsoft Paint. I would love to get my hands on that and redraw it, but I don’t remember the password to my DeviantArt account and it makes me sad.
Oh no… Do you remember the email?
Oh, god, it was a really old email, too. I don’t think I can even get into that email anymore, that’s how old that email was. Yeah, it’s dead. It’s just there now.
There forever. Okay, have you ever had career or professional opportunities open up for you as a result of your fandom experiences?
There was one instance where, for one year of Warped Tour, I was actually able to be a roadie helping out with this charity called Feed Our Children Now. It gave me an opportunity to be behind the scenes of how Warped Tour for that day was set up, to be behind the counter as people bring in their canned foods to try and get a skip the line pass. It gave me insight for one of the things I always wanted to do—to be a roadie for the whole tour. Granted, it’s over now. It’s kinda sad, but it gave me a sense of community. I guess [that] would be the best word for it, because you’re part of something that’s bigger than yourself and you got to do that because you went to a show that you went to for six years straight. That’s one career opportunity. Then the other [was] through theatre. A friend of mine put me in contact with a friend of a friend. She does a one-woman-show that tours around college campuses, and there was one instance where she was actually in the St. Luke’s Theatre in New York. I started doing poster work for her about a year or so ago. When she went to New York, she asked if I wanted to do the marquee and to have a revamp of the poster so that their particular purpose was for mailing and stuff. So, one of my dreams is, to this day still, to have a theatre poster in Times Square. That August, I was able to say that I created an Off-Broadway poster. I got to taste a little bit of my dream, and I still want more. It was that moment when I was just like, “Oh my god, I actually did this.” I’ve had friends who were like, “I’ve passed by that theatre and didn’t realize it was your work.” Between that and my final semester, being able to do the poster for The Yellow Wallpaper, that was also a fun moment because that was on the JumboTron at Kean [as you enter the University], and it’s just like… that’s mine. I had my friend take a picture of me with it at one point, because I’m just like, “Oh my god, I did that. I don’t care if other people got to do that. I did, too.” I think my favorite part was [that] I did it because I begged the director to let me do it (laughs), and I put it together and she loved it. It was funny because it was a couple months to a year that people were like, “Wait, that was yours? Oh my god, it was amazing, that was yours?” and I’m just like, “Yeah…” So I was walking around set taking pictures (laughs). Like, nothing makes me happier than making a theatre poster. It’s a different kind of “happy” than when I go to a show, because that “happy” is more of a sense of pride and knowing you had a hand in letting people know about this amazing show that was going on. I posted pictures for The Yellow Wallpaper and people loved them. I didn’t realize I actually have a decent eye for photography. Even then, that ended up leading to my first freelance job out of school—doing a poster for a show in Flemington, and I ended up going there as a stagehand, too. It kind of fell into place, and I love doing it. It was an hour ride west, on 78, but I loved going just because I knew it was me going to work on something that was special to somebody else, and being able to be like, “Here’s your poster, hope your show goes well,” is a feeling that I absolutely love. A friend of mine who works at APA [Academy for Performing Arts] ended up reaching out to me to do his fall production when he did Rumors. He gave me the script, let me go however I wanted to go, and then curtailed me back to keep his standard. That was up for a little while, too. So, having a love of something that just allows you creative opportunities—it’s a different type of “happy.” You feel so connected to this community because you’re able to give them something that’s yours, but at the same time, every poster has a little piece of me in it, and you’re often taught in design that you’re not supposed to “put a little you” in your work because if they don’t like it, you get heartbroken. Even if they didn’t like it, there was still that pride of, “I’ve made a theatre poster, and people saw it and people loved it.” I want to keep feeling that if I can. And it makes me sad right now because I feel like I’m not connected to that. I haven’t had any theatre work in a while and I kind of feel disconnected from the community because of it. Granted, I’m on forums and chats, but it’s not the same as someone actually reaching out to you and asking you for their help so that they can make their show the best show it can be. I really miss that.
Regarding the forums and chats you mentioned, how do you participate in those? Is that part of your “fandom experience”?
I would say so because it’s connecting to someone that you don’t ordinarily connect with, but it’s not always part of the pleasant part of the experience. Sometimes you see someone make a stupid post about something and it drags the rest of it down. For me, I’ll participate sometimes, more so if I’m looking for a job or if I want to help somebody out and do some stage work, but not in the sense of, like, towards anime communities, or even… Even with the emo culture—it’s a little problematic sometimes. You always have that one person who ruins it for everybody else. For me, personally, A) I don’t want to ever be that person, and B) I don’t have time to be dealing with that person who’s basically making it so I can’t enjoy the thing that I love, so I’m just like, “Aaaaaaand goodbye.” Or you have somebody who decides to invalidate your being a part of this fandom community, because you may be more casual about it than hardcore. You can’t judge somebody in terms of how they express them being a fan and think they’re gonna keep being a fan of that [after that judgment]. The one thing I don’t like about some of the events that I’ve gone to is that people can get really drunk and really stupid. I’ve seen fights almost break out because of it [at Emo Nights] just because people were drunk and stupid. So that’s a turn-off for me. The last event I went to was kind of disorganized and the venue wasn’t the greatest, so I like the music, but I couldn’t truly enjoy it because people don’t know what it means to be in personal space, and by the time it’s 1 AM, they’re drunk as all hell and they don’t care. So, I don’t mind being a sardine in a can so long as all the other sardines are being okay or aware that they’re also in a can, so they’re not acting like they have all the room in the world to do stuff. It’s the most annoying thing, where you’re dancing and you feel like someone’s trying to touch you or bump into you on purpose.
Have you ever discovered new interests because of your fandom experiences?
Oftentimes, one band leads to another that leads to another (laughs) that leads to another… I heard Mayday Parade on Pandora. The station that it came on was a Katy Perry radio station. I hearted that song. I started hearing We The Kings on the same station. I looked into both albums. Those two bands did a co-headlining tour in 2012. I went on that tour. I got introduced to Anarbor and The Downtown Fiction. I fell in love with them, too. I went through their stuff and Spotify has it where you can see similar bands, so The Downtown Fiction leads to The Early November, which leads somehow back to Cartel, which—oh, yeah! They’re doing a tour together, so you go see them (laughs). Oftentimes, those who are originally the openers for one show end up being the headliners for the next show you see. Then there are those bands that come on the radio and you’re like, “Oh my god, who are they?” and you’re instantly like, “Oh, I gotta see them now, too.” My bucket list is bands that I want to see. I think I’ve crossed out six. Green Day, Mayday Parade, We The Kings… One of the ones I’ve yet to see literally just was in Jersey last Saturday—Jimmy Eat World. I’ve wanted to see them for years. It’s just one of those things where you start off with one and suddenly you’re seeing the same person at a different show, and then you’re like, “Oh wait, now you’re doing a show, too.” And then you have friends who are also influenced by that music who are in a band now, so you end up going to see them [perform] at a random bar. One thing always leads to another. Even with anime culture—I grew up watching Sailor Moon, DragonBall Z, and Yu Yu Hakusho. Talking to somebody about that led to me starting to watch BLEACH, a vampire anime called [Vampire Knight], a horror anime called Hell Girl which is deeply disturbing but [you] can’t look away. You end up finding these websites that have all these different ones available. You read the summary and watch, then five episodes later, you’re like, “Oh, crap, it’s 2 o’clock in the morning.” So you have those moments [where] one thing always leads to something else. My identity as an emo girl spawned from literally a song that happened to play on Pandora, and I ended up dragging my two best friends to shows (laughs), and with one of them it ended up becoming a tradition every so often to see a show with them.
Do you tell people outside of the fan community that you're in that fan community? Why or why not?
How many band T-shirts do I own? That’s my answer. (laughs) Yes, I tell people. Usually with a band T-shirt I have acquired from a concert, or somehow a song comes up and… I think my favorite instance was in high school… we were in physics… A song comes on the teacher’s Pandora and someone’s like, “Oh, what song is that?” and I literally go “Song. Artist. Album. Year.” And they look at me like, “Woah,” and I’m like, “Yeah, I like Green Day.” (laughs) I played Rock Band obsessively—I had a thing where I had to get five stars on every song in the free play, and then someone else in the house changed my scores… (inhales) Yeah, it was a thing. I played it so much that I went from easy/beginner when I started to medium/hard with perfect scores when I stopped. So that was fun. Oh yeah, my love of Green Day led me to playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band. We have like 5 or 6 of them (laughs). We ended up with the drums and mics and three other guitars (laughs). We literally have the whole band—we’re just missing the turntables for the DJ [from DJ Hero].
Do you tell people inside of the fan community that you're in that fan community? Why or why not?
Yes, because you want to geek out, and sometimes you can just tell that the person you’re sitting next to also likes the same thing. It ended up happening [with the girl] hired as my temp (laughs). I mentioned a show I was going to, and she’s like, “Oh, I really like that band. I’ve seen them, too,” and we ended up going from coworkers to work friends. You can know your people after a while. If you’re in it for x amount of time, you’ll just see somebody and you know. Even first talking to my boyfriend, we clicked over a Linkin Park song. I think it came on in my car and he was like, “I love this song,” and we both ended up jamming out. I did this dating app project where, oftentimes, what you listen to when it comes to music also dictates what things you hold of value. So, in some ways, when you find people that listen to the same music, in your head you equate that to, “Okay, they like and agree with some of the same things I agree with,” so you’re more likely to talk to them versus somebody that likes what you really don’t like. Then you kind of tolerate their presence as opposed to [bonding over the similar interest]. It’s literally an instant bond.
Okay, so that’s all the questions that I had. Is there anything that you want to circle back to or that popped into your head that you want to rant about? Up to you.
It’s harder nowadays being somebody that… I work 9-5… I feel like there’s some instances where I have to adult. When you’ve been a part of this community since high school, it’s hard to reconcile the fact that you have certain things that supposedly are childlike, from a societal point of view and that you’re like, “I still want them, though.” Some things are socially acceptable to like, like a band that’s been around for 20+ years, because it spans ages, so it’s not so out of the ordinary to like them so much, versus bands that may have only been together for 5 years. Mayday Parade are on 15 years, now, and… they grew up with you. When I first started listening to We The Kings, the lead singer hadn’t even met his wife yet, and now they have their second kid, and you’re just like… “Whaaaaat?” (laughs) It’s such a weird thing to think, that this person that you idolized as a teen, that as an adult, you would love to have a conversation with [them], but they’re married now, and an adult, too. And then you have friends or people that you know that are in bands now, and they’ve been together maybe 5 years, but they’re just getting their start as an opening act for the last Warped Tour, like… “I’m friends with you on Facebook and you did that. Holy mother of crap, man.” It’s weird when you’re with a band that’s in the scene and you’re growing up with them. You can hear the evolution of their music and see where their influences have changed. You have two ways of dealing with it. You have the one band, where you’re like, “Oh my god, this new album is amazing,” and then you have the other band where you’re like, “Where the fuck did that come from?” I have ragequit on a band because they changed genres. This one band—I saw the 10 year anniversary of their first album, I love them to pieces, I listen to their second album religiously… Their third album was a country album.
I take it you’re not a fan (laughs).
I was literally just like… “What are you doing to my life? Why did you do this to me?” I’m taking it as if they did this to me as a personal affront when they don’t even know my name (laughs). It’s weird to think about how someone you don’t even know has that much influence over you. I went completely nuts because I was able to meet the lead singer of one of my favorite bands. I have a picture with him, too. It was on my Facebook for a while. And I’m thinking… he is wacky as a person, he’d probably be awesome, but I don’t know if I want to know them as a person (laughs). It’s almost as if you keep this illusion in your head so that you’re not shattered by it later. For me, personally, I like meeting bands, but at the same time, I don’t like meeting them meeting them, because then you’re like, “You’re a person. I have to hold you to standards. (laughs) I don’t know how I feel about that.”
You mentioned holding the celebrities you follow to standards. So would you rather see the celebrities that you follow as “perfect” beings that you would maybe not want to meet to keep that “perfect” light, or would you rather see them as a human being and meet them, but have to hold them to those standards?
(laughs) For those that I really really fell in love with and have been following for years, no I do not want to meet them, because you have such an idealized version in your head that when you do realize that they’re just a human, it makes it so that you have to choose whether or not you want to separate the art from the [artist] or deal with the fact that they’re not exactly kosher—if they did something stupid or they’re different from how you thought they were… You have to live with that while still being a fan versus, say, a new band. There was one point in college where I met this one band—by accident, actually—they happened to be at their merch table. I went over and we actually had legit conversation, human-to-human. So at that point, since they’re just starting out, you can see that there’s still a human facade to them, so you don’t have that [idealized] version in your head, yet. So in a way, you root for them because you’re growing up with them and seeing what they become versus them already being a “brand,” in a way. So there’s this wall, and when you take down this wall and realize there’s a person behind, you’re like, “You’re not who I thought you were. Makes me sad.” I mean, it’s not always a sad thing, but it’s not always the easiest when you have something of them in your head already. You can see them at interviews and stuff, but that wall is still there, because there’s part of that interview that’s still scripted. But, at a meet and greet, you’re saying hi and sometimes you can see something or hear something that you don’t want to see or hear, and you’re just like, “Dang…” So, I think, for the ones that you’ve been following for a really long time, you don’t necessarily have to meet them. Unless, for whatever reason, you’re so gung-ho in doing so, then okay. But, for the ones you discovered haphazardly and you’ve been growing up while they’ve been growing, you can keep the person with the art. Like… I love Green Day to bits. I love their music even though there are a couple albums here and there that are not as good as others—but that’s every artist. I’ve grown up listening to them since middle school. I’ve seen them live a couple of times, their shows are amazing. I personally would not want to meet them right now, because I have a version in my head that I want to keep rather than getting to know the person and not liking that they’re not who I [thought they were]. But, Public… I like the fact that I met them during one of their first shows, because you could see where they are now that they have a song that’s really popular, and it’s actually getting a lot of airplay, and it’s like, “Yes, you’re doing it! I love that.” I still have that picture I took with them back when they were playing a college show opening up for The Maine. I’m just like, “I root for you! Keep going!” When they get to that point where they’re more of a celebrity versus band, then you’re like, “You guys are okay. You keep going.” It’s basically like you have those that allow you to hold onto that innocence versus the ones that shape who you are as an adult. That’s my [take] on that.