No Fly List: Notes from Sub Pop’s Airport Store (August 2015).
People Who (Will Soon) Work Here: Sub Pop Airport Store Edition
The airport store has taken on some new employees recently, and following in the footsteps of Sub Pop’s “People Who Work Here” column, I figured I’d check-in with the newest and most-likely-least-jaded hire (because he won’t start until later this month), Benjamin O’Connor. I assumed Ben was Canadian when I first met him, because he loves hockey and is overly polite, but he is in fact an American from Vancouver, Washington, who has spent the last two years living in Kiel, Germany, and teaching English through the Fullbright program. Let’s meet Ben!
(Pictured: New airport store employee Ben O’Connor in a past interview.)
Please state your name for the record.
Are you excited to work at the Sub Pop airport store?
Yes, it’s exciting to get to be in maybe the most international place in a city, and to talk about music all day.
What do you think you can bring to the Sub Pop team?
Hopefully some puns.
You were in Germany for the last two years. Did you see any concerts over there?
Hospitality came to Kiel, where I lived. I got to see Alvvays in Hamburg. I saw Cloud Nothings and Youth Lagoon in Berlin. I also saw a German metal band called Kadaver.
Who are some of your favorite Sub Pop artists?
I’m a big fan of Father John Misty, Beach House, and Washed Out, but my favorite all-time is Wolf Parade.
Who are some of your favorite Germans?
Like German bands?
Just overall. Who are some Germans we should know about? You know, besides Angela Merkel.
Everyone should probably know Helene Fischer. Germans have this thing called Schlager music, which is like, really heavy beats with accordion, and Fischer is the Britney Spears of Schlager music. She has a variety show and is really popular.
What’s her biggest hit?
Probably this one song called “Atemlos,” or “Breathless.”
Is David Hasselhoff still the most beloved American in Germany?
No, I think if you asked most Germans, they would say they’ve gotten over the Hoff. They really like Maroon 5 now.
I took you to Capitol Hill Block Party last month, as part of your re-introduction to American culture. What were some of your favorite things about it?
I was happy to see Father John Misty, I missed him when he came through Berlin this year. I’d wanted to see DIIV and Lower Dens for a long time. I hadn’t seen Chastity Belt in over two years, so it was really neat to see them play for a hometown crowd. Summer Cannibals put on a great show.
You’re about to start work in a sleek retail shop. Tell me, what’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever purchased?
I bought an inflatable Stanley Cup.
How expensive was it?
If you didn’t get your dream job at the airport store, what other profession would you most want to pursue?
Professional baseball player.
What would be your walk-up song to home plate?
“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” by Father John Misty. That intro is so good.
What’s your favorite song to sing karaoke?
I feel pretty confident singing “Runaround Sue.” I also like songs by British singers where I can do accents.
What’s your favorite song ever?
“This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by the Talking Heads.
Do you remember the first CD you ever bought?
Ricky Martin’s self-titled album.
What about the second CD?
The ‘Bailamos’ single by Enrique Iglesias.
We were all livin’ la vida loca back in 1999. Are there any shows in Seattle you’re looking forward to this year?
Mac DeMarco is coming in October.
You lived in Kiel, which is close to Hamburg, where the Beatles first started playing shows. Are there any Beatles tourist traps over there?
Yeah, it’s pretty weird. Hamburg has this section called the Reeperbahn, where prostitution is legal. And so in the middle of this raunchy area with strip clubs and cheap bars, there are some metallic cut-out statues that are supposed to be the Beatles. [I looked this up, and it’s a real place called the Bealtes-platz. -ed.]
That about wraps things up. How did this interview go? Where do you rank it amongst your other interviews?
I’ve been interviewed a couple of times, actually. I got on a sports radio station when I was like fourteen and did a dumb Sean Connery impersonation. Last year I was interviewed in the local newspaper in Kiel about being a Fullbright student. But I don’t know if I can rank them. It’s just an honor when someone is curious enough about you to ask you questions.