This week, local lit and music triannual Yeti magazine releases its fourth issue, a labor of love from Portland's Mike McGonigal (an occasional WW contributor). It includes an exclusive interview of Destroyer's Dan Bejar conducted by an 8-year-old fan, an uncomfortable chat between Kevin Sampsell and Home Land author Sam Lipsyte, an interview with the elusive Soulless American, and a host of other grand obscurities. Last week, WW gave Mr. McGonigal yet another reason to procrastinate on his duties as arbiter of the underground—a quick chat with us.
WW: When you began Yeti, did you have a specific ideal in mind for the magazine? Has it shifted over four issues?
Mike McGonigal: When I started Yeti, it had been like five years since I stopped doing my old zine Chemical Imbalance. I spent years as a low-level freelancer, and then I was a music editor at Amazon.com, getting paid well but increasingly being told what to cover and how. So while it seemed marginally insane to have a hobby that kept me hunched over a computer doing something so similar to what I did for a living, Yeti was a real release, getting back to simply writing and editing for the joy of it. I guess Yeti is an all-interest magazine for people with marginal interests.
OK, so tell me about Dan Bejar and his 8-year-old interviewer, Joshua. Is this for real?
That kid is brilliant, and Destroyer really is his favorite band. Joshua, he just naturally looks a lot like a mini-Bejar, it's weird. This is not a case of a child being forced into something against their will, or the equivalent of those parents who give their toddlers mohawks and stick their babies in Ramones shirts. Joshua really does love Destroyer. It's a weird interview, but you know, Joshua's dumbest questions are far more interesting than my own best ones, I hate to say.
You seem to be a big fan of artists (writers, musicians, whatever) interviewing each other. How do you feel that affects the dynamic?
I am just trying to present things that, outside of blogs, there really is no other place for these days, unless you happen to be crazy-famous and people will hang on your every word. Artists written about when there's no new thing to hype from them—but also the way we try to approach subjects. Not looking to break the mold entirely, but to certainly fuck with it a little.
Celebrate the launch of
at Halleluwah: A Festival of Enthused Arts, 4 pm Friday, 1 pm Saturday, Sept. 1-2. Disjecta, 230 E Burnside St. $16 per day or $28 both days. See halleluwah.org, as well as Riff City and the (Abridged) Guide, pages 39 and 51.