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John Maus is an experimental pop musician currently residing in Minnesota. His music, which recalls an eighties pop sensibility that should be familiar to WERS listeners and modern day indie kids alike, is deeply rooted in a set of profound thoughts and emotions. Maus is currently studying philosophy. The interview referenced in the letter below can be found here. I wrote Maus a letter because the philosophy and questions he asks in this article and others very closely reflect ones that I’d been asking myself for a year before I encountered his music. For more, visit the fan website Mausspace.
Dear John Maus,
I have just finished reading your interview with Pitchfork from last week. I’m not really the type to write fan letters – it’s sort of been societally bred out by all the stalker letters that got sent around in the latter half of the 20th century, I suppose – but nonetheless I felt like if there was ever the person to write to, you’re it.
I am around the age you were when you composed “Fish with Broken Dreams,” and have spent the last three years experimenting with music. I guess there are a lot of artists who started around this age. Your description of the song “Mental Breakdown” resonated with the feelings that I’ve really been butting up against for the past few months. There’s a vastness to philosophy and music that you talked about – so many variations but no guarantees that there’s a real solution. It’s been making things difficult for me.
How do you cope with it? Oftentimes the ideas in my head actually end up preventing me from working on the thing itself. I find myself struck by these grand amazing ideas that I can’t even begin to think of how to put into art; overcoming human separation, the feeling of a warm early evening in late summer, the complex influences and problems in contemporary society and all of the mental barriers that stand in people’s way of actually doing something about it.
I suppose I sound a little crazy. But that’s the sort of stuff that floats through my mind and inspires me. It’s the ambition to chase those sorts of things I hear in your music and speech, and it’s what gives me a little hope that maybe some day I too will be able to do something about it. I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of the whole 80s synth-pop sound. The sound is viscerally linked with really retarded children’s movies and bad music that my parents listened to when I was five. But your ideas – those are really energizing.
I heard from your publicist that you aren’t doing interviews with the press for the time being, but if at any point you’d be willing to chat philosophy with me, I’d very much like to hear more of your thoughts.
Keep on doing things,
Check out John Maus performing “Hey Moon!” live at The Grosvenor in London of 2010 right here and tune in to the Left End to hear music like this and more on WERS!