bN: Okay. So, let’s take a break from the Art. And talk about some of your music-related stuff. How did your project “Worried Noodles” come about?
DS: I was invited in 2003 to make a record cover. Oh, wait. It was a tee shirt by Tomlab (label) from Germany. But I didn’t like any of their bands at the time. But then I did Deerhoof. And then he suggested, “Maybe we should do an album?” So, they proposed a conceptual album where I did an artwork but there was no actual record inside the sleeve.
bN: So, it was more like an edition of art.
DS: But then we decided it wasn’t enough. So, I wrote a book of song lyrics. And the songs were never intended to be performed, but inevitably the label were saying we should put those bits together and get loads of bands to write songs for them. I was like, “Do you think people would actually do that?” I called in a few favors and kinda knew David Byrne and Aidan Moffat from Arab Strap. The record label really chose the bands after that. It’s very much a pop album. If it was an album where I chose the artists, it would be more of a rock album. They took care of it and I just got sent a few mp3’s every few weeks. It was weird that these artists were pretending to be me. The project became interesting and weird. I’d like to do it again. But it was nice that it just kind of happened. The success really wasn’t down to me.
bN: Worried Noodles 2? The first one which was 600 copies has sold out.
DS: Subsequently I’ve gotten to know some of these bands and got turned onto some new music. I’ve kept in touch with Deerhoof and Scout Niblett. I really like Scout Niblett. But I probably won’t do another one. It might be contrived.
bN: And then you put on live shows for it right?
DS: Yeah, they were really good. London, New York and Berlin.
bN: What is Glasgow like? And the art school? I never got to visit when I studied in London.
DS: The standard tuition in London is better. But the art school here is overrated. It’s definitely a great city to study in. But not all the students have a great time at the art school.
bN: I think I have a better time camping. If art school can be conducted while camping it might be more productive. Althought, you can’t compete with nature really.
DS: We’re kind of camping now aren’t we? We’re outside on the concrete.
bN: What is your political camp? (Did you like that smooth transition?)
DS: I vote for the Scottish Green Party. I feel that the Green Party is one of the few parties that are ideologically motivated. Their motivation isn’t to gain power but to effect change. I think that’s a noble attitude toward political action.
bN: Have you helped them campaign?
DS: Yes. I’ve made tee shirts for them with supports for the arts.
bN: Did the Occupy movement help them gain any traction?
DS: Nope. Nobody gave a shit really.
bN: Where do you DJ?
DS: I Dj’ed an R. Stevie Moore show. I helped put it on and DJ’ed it really badly…
bN: He’s amazing. We have his tape at home. It has like 60 songs on it. What’s your signature track when you DJ?
DS: “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” by Tiny Tim. Which is ironic because when it comes on… (long pause) people just kind of stop and look at me.
bN: So, is rock still your favorite kinda music now?
DS: (Starts to do an Otto the Busdriver impersonation) Rock. Yeah dude, totally Rock.
bN: Like who? That’s kind of a broad.. word?
DS: I’ve been listening to Neil Young.
bN: He’s playing here in August.
DS: It’s a bit of a schlep for me… (laughs). He is the godfather of grunge but people forget that. I put it on really, really loud in my art studio until my neighbor comes by and is like, “Duuuuuuude, duuuuuuude! Turn it dooooooown.” I also really like Sleep.
bN: I’m excited to see Blasted Canyons for your opening this Friday.
DS: Oh, yeah. Do you know them? I got in touch with John Dwyer and he recommended them. They’re not playing in the UK, so I selfishly booked them to play for me while I’m here in San Francisco.
bN: I do know them but haven’t seen them since one of their first shows. I heard it’s gotten super psych rock. What’s your favorite piece in your BA show?
DS: This one. (Points to his sculpture letters). Because it’s the newest.
bN: It’s so new, it’s still wet. It could say, “Don’t Touch This.”
DS: My mom used to say (in a high pitched Church Lady voice), “Don’t look with your fingers.”
bN: A-ha! So, you get it from your mother!
DS: Yeah. Go on… I just like arranging the pieces in a new exhibition. Installing it the third time might be a chore after this. I think it’s cool that they (YBCA) have bands at the opening. Normally, it’s kind of a real serious thing. And also, also… family members from Southern California whom I’ve never met are coming. They went to the same highschool as Alex. (Alex has been sitting with us the whole time stretching the clay for David, reminding him who his favorite band is like Sleep, and recommending people just steal one letter to form new phrases like, “Look at His”).
bN: Yeah, it’s just a different vibe at Yerba Buena. And SF really… I’ve booked some crazy performances here!
DS: Were you fired?
bN: No, I moved to New York.
DS: But if you stayed would you get fired?
bN: Nah. It was chill here. Although, apparently some artwork I had up in my cubicle was getting more attention than the Terry Richardson photos downstairs at one point.
DS: Do you like this? (Points to the sculpture he’s been making).
bN: It’s funny because it’s small and it’s grey. If it’s on the floor out in the Sculpture Court it might just blend in.
DS: Well, it might get stolen too. They say stealing is the highest form of flattery!
bN: I think the highest form of flattery is making someone a gift.
DS: I think maybe if someone imitates your art it’s a form of flattery. And if they steal it, it’s even better. (Really pushing this).
bN: I think people who steal are just being dicks. And people who imitate and don’t make it better are just still learning or retarded. But the guy who had his thugs steal the Munch painting with AK-47’s is kinda cool because he can’t sell it. So, in that case, it wasn’t greed, he gets to just enjoy it. But that’s kinda greedy. But maybe there are a few fakes floating around.
DS: I just don’t think you get what I’m saying and I’m right.
bN: Um, let’s look at your show!
DS: Okay. And I think I’m gonna paint these letters black. It’s the cheap version of the cast bronze piece I made.
bN: It’s the I-will-be-flattered-and-not-bummed-if-someone-stole-this version…
DS: Talk to the weiner. (One of the pieces of sculpture is just a long gray roll and he keeps picking it up and putting it down like a microphone or Oscar or something).
We go in for a walking tour while he explains what’s inside the crates or what will be in a drawer or on a plinth. I was psyched to see that the big gallery has walls up in their massive space to define the works a bit more and a huge staircase-like plinth for all his big black boot sculptures. I don’t get a clear answer as to, “Why big black boots?” David does as David likes and there’s no big explanation or defending the work. It just is enjoyable, fun, and freaky. For example, we enter a room of 200 little black metal ants, a wiry hairball, and then another area projecting an animation of a dude sleeping. Why not? A black sun wall-painting and new posters he’s made for the show are always a plus. And the posters in the window gallery are actually FOR SALE!!! As I circle out of the galleries, David asks what he should make for the entrance overhang into the main gallery. I tell him it’s gay pride weekend and he should make a big giant tea bag.
“Brain Activity” Opening Night Party this Friday at YBCA starts at 8pm. $12 advance tix
, $15 door.