WITH HIS FIRST SOLO PROJECT

 

TOUCHING DOWN AT THE END OF THE SUMMER,

SPENCER DRAEGER TALKS

LATENT FEARS,

HALLUCINOGENIC JAUNTS

AND THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS (FORGIVE THE CLICHÉS)

OF A MODERN-DAY ARTIST.

 

 

 

 

interview and portraits by Beata Kanter


Beata Kanter: Do you dream? Do you remember your dreams? Are they in color or black and white?

 

Spencer Draeger: I don’t dream in black and white. I dream in color. I don’t usually remember my dreams unless I wake up right in the middle of one. But sometimes, throughout the day I recall elements of the dream. It’s not a visual recollection, more of a feeling.

 

BK: Do you ever have nightmares?

 

SD: Once in a while.

 

"…I believe that we all look for fear. Subconsciously we desire it. We bring fear on. And it finds us in our nightmares."

 

 

BK: Where are you from originally?

 

SD: San Francisco. I moved to New York 6 years ago.

 

BK: What were you like as a kid?

 

SD: My parents divorced when I was 10 and I spent a lot of time moving around between my mom’s and dad’s growing up. With all the moves and switching of schools, commutes back and forth, I became pretty independent. In retrospect, it feels like a blessing in disguise. I guess I learned no one is perfect and that you have to create your own happiness. But that being said, it was really difficult and I built up some angst along with a tendency to poke the bear. Like any adolescent, I got into my share of trouble.


SPENCER DRAEGER 1/3


BK: Did you follow a traditional path as a young adult?

 

SD: In a way. I dropped out of college after two and a half years.

 

I’ve always felt like college is the modern-day religion. You buy-in to go to heaven, or in this case to get a great job. But millennials don’t have the same setup. Nowadays if you want to have security you can’t work for someone else. You must create your own path. Your own worth.

 

"I realized early on, if you really love doing something, and I mean you really love it, you wake up every day and you want to pursue it, you should go do that."

 

Figure out how to sustain yourself. Get a part time job, do something that allows you to live your life. But never turn away from something you love doing.

 

BK: That’s very romantic but… far easier said than done.

 

SD: Nothing is easy. As an artist, I spend half my day thinking I’m terrible, and the next half of the day realizing I’m not. It’s a vicious cycle of self-doubt. But I would rather go through that constant headache than succumb to stagnation. Being numb is far worse than feeling pain. We all have different thresholds for putting up with shit to get what we want.

 

BK: Why did you move to New York?

 

SD: I need a fire under my ass. I need reality. I’m a big dreamer but because I don’t have stability I’m constantly trying to stay alive. I feed off that struggle. It fuels my passion for music. I need to be in a city, I need to be around the grime, I need the hardships of it all. It keeps me motivated.

 

BK: What was it like when you first got here?

 

SD: Brutal, but it was so exciting. Still is exciting. That’s the beauty of this place.  I still think about those first two weeks in New York, trying to figure everything out. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those times and relive them.


 

SPENCER DRAEGER 2/3


BK: You’ve been getting great work as a model over the past few years. A Persol billboard in Times Square, the face of John Varvatos… how did you break in? 

 

SD: I never wanted to be a model when I was younger. I thought people wouldn’t take me seriously as a musician. When you are young you are insecure about everything, you don’t want to be labeled. When you get older you don’t give a shit.

 

BK: Objectify away.

 

SD: Exactly. My girlfriend got me into modeling. I’d been working these graveyard shifts watching the sun rise 4 times a week bartending, and I was burnt out. She pulled me on a job and I couldn’t really find a reason not to give in. I kind of owe it to her for getting over my self-consciousness and just saying, yes, I’ll be your dog.

 

BK: Sounds like you got lucky in love.

 

What’s your favorite vice?

 

SD: I like a little bit of everything. I’ve always had a little affinity for hallucinogenic drugs. It can be bitter sweet but it does help dispel some of the mystery that we all harness in ourselves. The mystery of who we are. Sometimes these ‘journeys’, sorry for the cliché, come with a cost of fear or paranoia, but ultimately, they unveil a little incite of what we may be lacking. I think every day we are getting to know ourselves a little better and despite the occasional freak out moments, I’ve always appreciated something that can provide that kind of experience. Everybody needs a little reset once in a while.

 

BK: How do you feel when you come down?

 

 SD: A bit clearer. When you take hallucinogenic drugs, you get into this mindset of being a child again. Children are incredibly perceptive, creative and imaginative. They think about things differently. Hallucinogenic drugs are one of the only things that allow me to get back to that. It’s like the child button. Take drugs, be a child. It’s great.

 


 

SPENCER DRAEGER 3/3


BK: What goes through your mind before a show?

 

SD: I get excited. I always get excited before a show. There’s never a time when I just casually walk on stage. I always feel something, every time. Even when there’s five people in the room. Playing live is a cathartic experience.

 

BK: What are you afraid of?

 

SD: I guess one of my biggest fears is not reaching my goals. I want to be respected. I want validation.

 

BK: Validation? What does that even mean?

 

SD: I don’t know. It means something different to everyone. I know too many people with way too much money who are bored and depressed. I’m starting to realize, man, maybe I have it better than they do. Maybe. I just want to have a glass of wine at the end of the day, and be around my friends and get more and more comfortable each day with what I love to do. That’s the best way to describe it. Nothing is easy, and as my dad always says, life sucks!

 

 

 

 

 

for more on the artist, follow him on instagram @draegerdraeger , and keep an eye out for his upcoming solo project @dragermusic

WITH HIS FIRST SOLO PROJECT

 

TOUCHING DOWN AT THE END OF THE SUMMER,

SPENCER DRAEGER TALKS

LATENT FEARS,

HALLUCINOGENIC JAUNTS

AND THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS (FORGIVE THE CLICHÉS)

OF A MODERN-DAY ARTIST.

 

 

 

 

interview and portraits by Beata Kanter


Beata Kanter: Do you dream? Do you remember your dreams? Are they in color or black and white?

 

Spencer Draeger: I don’t dream in black and white. I dream in color. I don’t usually remember my dreams unless I wake up right in the middle of one. But sometimes, throughout the day I recall elements of the dream. It’s not a visual recollection, more of a feeling.

 

BK: Do you ever have nightmares?

 

SD: Once in a while.

 

"…I believe that we all look for fear. Subconsciously we desire it. We bring fear on. And it finds us in our nightmares."

 

 

BK: Where are you from originally?

 

SD: San Francisco. I moved to New York 6 years ago.

 

BK: What were you like as a kid?

 

SD: My parents divorced when I was 10 and I spent a lot of time moving around between my mom’s and dad’s growing up. With all the moves and switching of schools, commutes back and forth, I became pretty independent. In retrospect, it feels like a blessing in disguise. I guess I learned no one is perfect and that you have to create your own happiness. But that being said, it was really difficult and I built up some angst along with a tendency to poke the bear. Like any adolescent, I got into my share of trouble.


SPENCER DRAEGER 1/3


BK: Did you follow a traditional path as a young adult?

 

SD: In a way. I dropped out of college after two and a half years.

 

I’ve always felt like college is the modern-day religion. You buy-in to go to heaven, or in this case to get a great job. But millennials don’t have the same setup. Nowadays if you want to have security you can’t work for someone else. You must create your own path. Your own worth.

 

"I realized early on, if you really love doing something, and I mean you really love it, you wake up every day and you want to pursue it, you should go do that."

 

Figure out how to sustain yourself. Get a part time job, do something that allows you to live your life. But never turn away from something you love doing.

 

BK: That’s very romantic but… far easier said than done.

 

SD: Nothing is easy. As an artist, I spend half my day thinking I’m terrible, and the next half of the day realizing I’m not. It’s a vicious cycle of self-doubt. But I would rather go through that constant headache than succumb to stagnation. Being numb is far worse than feeling pain. We all have different thresholds for putting up with shit to get what we want.

 

BK: Why did you move to New York?

 

SD: I need a fire under my ass. I need reality. I’m a big dreamer but because I don’t have stability I’m constantly trying to stay alive. I feed off that struggle. It fuels my passion for music. I need to be in a city, I need to be around the grime, I need the hardships of it all. It keeps me motivated.

 

BK: What was it like when you first got here?

 

SD: Brutal, but it was so exciting. Still is exciting. That’s the beauty of this place.  I still think about those first two weeks in New York, trying to figure everything out. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those times and relive them.


 

SPENCER DRAEGER 2/3


BK: You’ve been getting great work as a model over the past few years. A Persol billboard in Times Square, the face of John Varvatos… how did you break in? 

 

SD: I never wanted to be a model when I was younger. I thought people wouldn’t take me seriously as a musician. When you are young you are insecure about everything, you don’t want to be labeled. When you get older you don’t give a shit.

 

BK: Objectify away.

 

SD: Exactly. My girlfriend got me into modeling. I’d been working these graveyard shifts watching the sun rise 4 times a week bartending, and I was burnt out. She pulled me on a job and I couldn’t really find a reason not to give in. I kind of owe it to her for getting over my self-consciousness and just saying, yes, I’ll be your dog.

 

BK: Sounds like you got lucky in love.

 

What’s your favorite vice?

 

SD: I like a little bit of everything. I’ve always had a little affinity for hallucinogenic drugs. It can be bitter sweet but it does help dispel some of the mystery that we all harness in ourselves. The mystery of who we are. Sometimes these ‘journeys’, sorry for the cliché, come with a cost of fear or paranoia, but ultimately, they unveil a little incite of what we may be lacking. I think every day we are getting to know ourselves a little better and despite the occasional freak out moments, I’ve always appreciated something that can provide that kind of experience. Everybody needs a little reset once in a while.

 

BK: How do you feel when you come down?

 

 SD: A bit clearer. When you take hallucinogenic drugs, you get into this mindset of being a child again. Children are incredibly perceptive, creative and imaginative. They think about things differently. Hallucinogenic drugs are one of the only things that allow me to get back to that. It’s like the child button. Take drugs, be a child. It’s great.

 


 

SPENCER DRAEGER 3/3


BK: What goes through your mind before a show?

 

SD: I get excited. I always get excited before a show. There’s never a time when I just casually walk on stage. I always feel something, every time. Even when there’s five people in the room. Playing live is a cathartic experience.

 

BK: What are you afraid of?

 

SD: I guess one of my biggest fears is not reaching my goals. I want to be respected. I want validation.

 

BK: Validation? What does that even mean?

 

SD: I don’t know. It means something different to everyone. I know too many people with way too much money who are bored and depressed. I’m starting to realize, man, maybe I have it better than they do. Maybe. I just want to have a glass of wine at the end of the day, and be around my friends and get more and more comfortable each day with what I love to do. That’s the best way to describe it. Nothing is easy, and as my dad always says, life sucks!

 

 

 

 

 

for more on the artist, follow him on instagram @draegerdraeger , and keep an eye out for his upcoming solo project @dragermusic