Easy Lover, a pop duo, that echoes of Phil Spector, R&B, and Brian Wilson, released a three song EP in July. The textured effort, which demonstrated emphasis on mood and space (as all good output should), also included remixes of lead single, “End of the Season,” which were tweaked by Rewards (ex-Chairlift), Elan Polushko (Rong Music) and Gavin Russom (DFA Records). As we near the end of summer season, Ghettoblaster caught up with Kali Holloway (ex-The Affair and, half of the duo), to discuss her favorite season in New York City, getting hugged in Midtown, and her favorite NYC stomping grounds. Here’s what she told us…
What’s your town’s nickname?
The Big Apple; The Town So Nice, They Named it Twice; The City that Never Sleeps; Gotham City…and on and on like that.
What’s your nickname for your town?
The Money Pit (I mean that in a tough love kind of way).
Why do you live there?
I think, because, when I was growing up in a town that felt like one big suburb, I couldn’t wait to go someplace that felt the opposite. And there are other reasons: because if I want milk at 3 a.m., there’s a place that sells it and I don’t even have to drive there; because there are so many people that are so different from each other sharing five boroughs; because even though I don’t take as much advantage of it as I should, there’s always something to do.
Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?
I grew up in Atlanta, went to college Ohio and lived briefly in San Francisco. I think what brought me here is the stuff I just described and the people I know and love. What keeps me here is also all that stuff, and the fact that my relationship with the city changes all the time. In a good way.
What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?
It’s a tie: Once, I watched this really out-of-it rat walking down Wall Street, in the middle of rush hour foot traffic, totally in step with everyone like he was just dead tired and heading to an office job he hated. And then maybe my favorite was having a complete stranger come up and hug me – very sweetly and innocently, I swear – and hold me this one time when I was (apparently) visibly upset in Midtown.
What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
Hands down – the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. I’ve taken everyone who has ever visited me from out of town there and no one has ever not loved it. The first time I went there, the space show – that’s what they’re called, “space shows” – was so lovely, I very nearly cried. I still do, kinda. Also – freeze dried astronaut ice cream!
What is your favorite local event?
I’m pretty sure I could just say “summer in NYC” and mean it.
What is the best time of year to be there?
Ironically – in light of that last answer – weather-wise, the nicest time is spring or autumn, and those both last like, two weeks. The rest of the time, the weather kind of gets a thumbs down. Really cold winters, super hot summers. No one – no one – lives in New York City for the weather.
Who is your favorite local celebrity?
It’s either Dr. Zizmor or that guy who drives around Williamsburg blaring oldies and singing at the top of his lungs or the people who are always defacing ads at the Clinton-Washington stop or this one kid who gets on the F train and vogues for like, three stops, and then gets off.
Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
This is too hard. There’s like, three bars on my block alone. (I exaggerate, but only by one.) I’d say Oak and Iron in Greenpoint makes the best brown derby and the Calyer has the best bartender who can take any idea you have and make it into a drink, poof!, like that. Hotel Delmano and Rye both have the best cocktail menus and finger food.
Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
I vote for the real, live, flesh-and-blood jukeboxes at Motor City.
Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play?
Mercury Lounge is very nice. But also, anywhere the sound guy is nice really gets so many stars. Also, can you spare a few drink tickets for the band, please? Come on.
Does where you live influence your music?
Probably. But so does my mood on any given day.
What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
I live in Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, a place where there are a lot of places to see music and I’ve seen too many great, great shows here to even put them in some kind of ranking order. Countless memorable shows, some at venues that don’t even exist anymore. But there’s always new music, and new places to see it.
What is your favorite local band?
Blondie. No, really.
What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
It’s a tie between Soy in the L.E.S., which does homemade Japanese (and no sushi, actually), and the eel avocado bowl is their best dish; and Awash (Ethiopian) in the East Village and their yatakilt alicha.
What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
Honestly, the last few albums I’ve bought that weren’t made of MP3s were records I bought off people selling things on bedspreads on the sidewalk. (And that Foreigner record, among others, was worth EVERY PENNY!)
What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
Videogum. The L Magazine. The New York Times.
What is your favorite local shop?
This new thrift store – that really is thrift, and not “vintage” (which really just means pricey) – that opened around the corner from my house.
If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
I’d divide my time between New York City and either…
3) Berlin, Germany
2) Copenhagen, Denmark
1) Amsterdam, Holland