Tell us where you got the name Neon Pajamas from
My buddy Alex has a dad who couldn’t pronounce my last name (Niespodziany) so he called me Neon Pajamas instead. He even used it as a curse word on the golf course, which is a pretty high honor. It’s been a thing since late middle school, and I’ve been using it as a username ever since.
When did you first begin finding your creative talents?
I’m still seeking those, but it’s been a life-long search. I was always writing ghost stories and attempting fantastical drawings as a child. I wrote for my high school and college papers, and majored in Journalism in college, but I didn’t really start taking it seriously until I was in my bedroom in Ecuador for two years without internet.
What made you get involved with the Peace Corps?
I fell in love with traveling in college. I spent a summer in Guadalajara, Mexico and a semester in Barcelona, Spain. When I came back from Spain, I spent my senior year of college applying for the Peace Corps, even helping with a medical mission out in Haiti. It’s a really lengthy application process, but I’m so glad I took the time to have that experience. It resulted in me living on the coast of Ecuador for two years and learning a great deal about the world around me as well as the world inside my head.
While in Ecuador for the Peace Corps you had been checking out Mishka. What eventually made you want to write/work with them?
Yeah, the Main Attrakionz album 808s and Dark Grapes II put me on to Mishka. From there, I was checking their blog routinely. At some point in 2012, they posted about needing contributing writers. My first article was a review of a Lil B album and it was the first of many. We got a new editor, who didn’t want any more critical reviews, instead wanted us to write about whatever we pleased. This led me to cover music videos and movies and comic books, etc. When he left to work for Beats By Dre, he recommended that I run the record label and the blog. That was back at the end of 2014 and here I am.
How did you link up with the guys at TheseDays?
Through various outlets. I think I met Westley and Brent through visiting Hurt Everybody’s old studio, then I met Eric…..I have no recollection, but he was the one who first had the idea of TheseDays. Him and I met a few times to discuss ideas, and he was doing the same with Jake and Brent and Pat and Nader (who is in Portland now). We eventually all met up and starting building the basis of TheseDays. Over a year later and it’s grown into a well-known Chicago platform.
Why do you think writing is so important?
In regards to music writing (or writing about any multimedia, for that matter), I think it’s important to direct attention to art and creativity and imagination. Too many people have zombie 9-5s and binge watch Netflix while browsing social media apps. I try to outweigh the numbing qualities of America by honing in on the beauty that impresses me every day.
For me personally, it’s therapeutic. Most of my friends don’t like me rambling about the music I love, so I find that a Word .doc is my best friend sometimes. Outside of music writing, personal/creative writing is something I’ve been doing in journals for years. It wasn’t until this year that I started editing entries and posting stories as an attempt to try to kill my music blogger title and transform into an author. Easier said than done, as poetry doesn’t seem to pay the bills.
Recently you were tweeting on how “If you consider yourself a music writer/blogger/journalist/whatever, seek out new content and publicize unheard sounds.”What blogs do you think do a good job of seeking new content?
Great question. Not many, unfortunately. OakCellarDoor used to, but they just went under. There’s an Italian blog known as Rappamelo that always posts unbiased, often unheard music. 1833.fm does a great job of not worrying about the numbers. Earmilk is dope for this as well.
This week you have a new project you are dropping called “Drawing A Blank”. Talk to us a bit about this project
This project has been long overdue, so I’m thrilled to finally release it. I reached out to a bounty of artists and told them they have one page (or one spread) to create whatever they please, be it a poem, or a short story, or a drawing, or a photograph, or a crossword puzzle. We ended up with 26 artists over 40 pages. It’s being assembled like a limited run zine, but I’ve been calling it an anthology because it sounds more fulfilling.