indie

Interview with Justin Peterson

of Very Near Mint

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We had the pleasure of talking to artist/writer of the indie comic, Very Near Mint - Justin Peterson. In anticipation of the release of the third volume of Very Near Mint, we talk to Justin about his process, Kickstarter, his fascinating day job, and more. This interview was really one of our favorite episodes. Justin has a really distinct view on the comic book industry and what it takes to succeed. You’re going to like this one!

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Unapologetic Super Fan

I’m a 31 year old professional guy who is a unabashed super fan of Adam WarRock. Now if I said that about someone less accessible or more famous like…Two Chainz or Coldplay people I know wouldn’t think twice about it. I’ve talked to Adam on a podcast I was on, I’ve had a conversation or two with him at one of his shows, e-mails back and forth, Twitter, Facebook, etc. He’s my age! Sticking with calling him Adam and not Eugene is even weird! Weirder still I’m potentially financially more well off than him! It’s not the typical fan to artist story.

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Yet, it all started with the music for me. I saw him the first time with MC Lars, Megaran, and MC Chris in Cleveland. I was into the other three a lot prior to going to this show so I was blindsided when I heard him open that night with songs about Ultron and Doctor Who. His was my favorite performance of the night and I was downloading his tracks before I even left the show. Not only was the subject matter exactly the type of media I relate to, the hooks and beats were infectious. After 30, I know a lot of people who stick with what they already musically like and shut themselves off. I, luckily, don’t have that gene because I find new artists that become some of my favorites about every couple of months still. This was one of those experiences.

As much as I like Adam WarRock sounds, I am also just as impressed with his business model. Like myself, he chose something he’s good at because it’s fun and he loves it. The self produced indie model at it’s finest. Yet, he borrowed and tweaked the web comic ethos of giving people free content and making money from them in other ways. Sure, inadvertently, many artists (especially in the indie rap game) find themselves doing this because no one has figured out how to torrent t-shirts yet, but he’s doing it on purpose. WarRock embraces the idea that people are starving for content more than ever and top of mind awareness is hard to come by. By giving out free content, he’s got something to talk about that gets people excited every week and it makes marketing the actual albums easier. With as many free Adam WarRock songs as there are, the full length albums feel like events. When they come out, I’m more than happy to pay because the accumulated content that has been freely given away makes me eager to pay up.

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The variety of the topics covered has done him well to build an audience but I believe that wasn’t the over calculated goal. I don’t know about you but I’m a geek (whatever that means these days). When I’m into something, I’m REALLY into it. I started watching Gravity Falls last summer (more on that later) and I had to get a Dipper hat on Etsy. The new TMNT show got me back in the Turtle Action Figure game again as well as classic collected editions of the comics. I’m the type of guy who nonstop listened to Hans Zimmer Batman scores leading up to the midnight release of The Dark Knight Rises. That all said, if I could rap…I’d do exactly what Adam does – express my passion. That’s what comes through in his songs to me. Passion for pop culture intertwined with his life experiences. For people like me, pop culture and/or geek culture is our culture.

Wrapping this up (no pun intended? well…a bit intended), why can’t I be a REALLY big fan of an artist who is approachable and feels very much at my level? Is hero worship of those who put in a big effort to appear “above it all” really healthy? I think it’s time for a different kind of artist to take over and my choice is Adam WarRock. Connecting directly with fans and being approachable is the basis for a movement being championed by those in the podcast medium like Chris Hardwick, Scott Aukerman, and John Hodgman and I think it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the new paradigm. With all media splintering and niches growing because of he Internet, Adam WarRock is the artist of the future…today. At the beginning for me, though, it was a song about Marvel vs. DC that I instantly related to. What will it be for you?

Adam WarRock Website – http://www.adamwarrock.com

Adam WarRock on Twitter – @eugewarrock

Adam WarRock Albums - http://adamwarrock.bandcamp.com

Eugene and Chris’s Podcast on Gravity Falls & Other Stuff – The Gravity Falls Gossiper