Last week, Pitchfork editorial director, and all-around nice goth guy Brandon Stosuy coyly announced via social media that he would be writing and releasing a children’s book entitled “Music Is”. The “announcement” was posted with an image of the cover illustrated by Portland Monthly Art Director Amy Martin, and little other info. Or, to be more specific, “more info soon.” In an attempt to fast-track a bit of said info, I sent along a few questions to Brandon to help uncover the mystery of his impending delve into the world of toddler authorship.
Can you tell us the story / concept of the book?
It’s a board book for kids ages 1 to 5, or thereabouts—slightly older kids would probably be into it, too. The basic idea is to teach children about different styles, approaches, and forms of music. In the process, they’ll be learning about opposites as well. I want this to be the first in a series of this sort—where you teach kids a basic concept using music as the core teaching method. My 5 year-old son, Henry, just started taking drum lessons, and I was struck by how much of it’s related to counting and numbers. And both kids have learned a lot about language by asking about words that show up in lyrics, and figuring out how to spell them. So, yeah, teaching kids about numbers and patterns and language and the like through music.
Is it completed or still in the works?
My text is complete, but Amy Martin, who’s illustrating it, is still working on some of the drawings. Her drawings are detailed and amazing and they take time. The stuff she’s done so far is really beautiful. The book’s a collaboration.
I was struck by the variety of styles and sounds and how they reacted so joyously to all of it.
Is it based off of anything specific?
I got the idea for it from watching my sons Henry and Jake dance. We used to have a radio in the living room. Sometimes they’d listen to the stereo and ask for specific bands (Jake: Ramones, Misfits; Henry: Deafheaven, all kinds of hair metal, Selena Gomez), and other times they’ll just hop from genre to genre randomly on the radio. So they’d be listening to Bollywood and blue grass and classical and grindcore and pop… I was struck by the variety of styles and sounds and how they reacted so joyously to all of it. So I started writing down different words related to what they were listening to, and it went from there.
When is it due to come out?
The plan is for it to come out next October.