Brandon Stosuy is Editor in Chief at The Creative Independent and a Music Curator at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles. He was formerly Director of Editorial Operations at Pitchfork. He co-founded and co-curates the annual Basilica Soundscape festival in Hudson, N.Y. and the ongoing Tinnitus music series in NYC. For the past several years he and the artist Matthew Barney have collaborated on a series of live events, objects, and publications. They launched a Trump Countdown clock in June 2017 across from the United Nations, and ADAC, their most recent book-length project, was published in by Dashwood Books. Stosuy has collaborated on exhibitions and books with the German artist Kai Althoff, including the collection, Mirror Me published by Primary Information. He curated 7 Inches For Planned Parenthood with the National’s Matt Berninger and others and has booked an annual DJ event with Björk for the last decade in unusual spaces like bookstores and parking garages. His anthology, Up is Up, But So Is Down: New York’s Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992, was published by NYU Press in 2006. His first children's book, Music Is, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2016. He has a second children's book, We Are Music, forthcoming, also on Simon & Schuster, in 2018. He manages the musicians Diamanda Galas, Zola Jesus, and Wax Idols and collaborates with the electronic artist Jlin on all her shows in the US and Asia.
What do you do best?
I like to bring people together. I don’t know if this is what I do best—I think it’s other people that decide what we do best—but I find it interesting to collaborate, and to try to create projects and situations that wouldn’t otherwise happen. I like listening to what other people have to say. I like changing and adapting.
What makes you the best version of yourself?
Maybe knowing that I’m not the best, and working hard each day to get better. I’ve had a job since I picked blueberries on a farm at 13. I used to work the graveyard shift at a gas station. I’d go to sleep for four hours and then wake up and go to my job at a greenhouse. My work has gotten more satisfying as I’ve gotten older, but I still treat it the same way as I always have. I don’t like to coast or waste time or check Facebook. In a way, I pretend I’m still getting paid by the amount of blueberries I pick. In that scenario, if you stop, you’re not earning anything. I feel best when I end the day exhausted.
What are your aspirations?
I have a lot of projects, but I spend most of my time working on The Creative Independent, a site I co-founded and launched with Kickstarter in September 2016. We post one interview, or other editorial piece a day, but TCI’s not a typical editorial site—we’re a resource for creative people. Our goal, as we put it in our mission, is to “educate, inspire, and grow the community of people who create or dream of creating.” We’re currently a staff of five and work out of the Kickstarter office in Greenpoint. (I walk to work.)
Kickstarter is a Public Benefit Corporation, which means the company puts the public good over the traditional corporate goal of maximizing profit for shareholders, and part of its PBC charter is to “create tools and resources that help people bring their creative projects to life, and that connect people around creative projects and the creative process.” That’s exactly what we’re trying to do. We’ve recently been focusing on practical Guides (“How to start a Podcast,” “How to be included on Wikipedia,” “An Artist’s Guide to Financial Planning,” “Practical advice for new musicians,” etc.), a series called Ask TCI where people come to us with questions about the creative process and being a creative person (e.g. “What if my passion doesn’t pay the bills?”), a collaboration with Are.na about finding ways to use the internet more mindfully and creatively, and an ongoing podcast, that we prefer to call a "transmission".
These are all in service of our goal and mission. So, I guess my aspiration would be to inspire as many people as possible with TCI. We try to illustrate that even successful people struggle with the creative process. We want to show that it’s okay to fail. We want to inspire people to keep trying.
My kids. This is a shared success with my wife, the architect Jane Lea.
Most Challenging Moment?
There are challenges each day. I don’t dwell on them, so it’s hard for me to name one. It’s best to just keep going.
A friend of mine once told me that if you have any sort of power, you should try to disperse it. I don’t know if that’s a motto, but I believe that, and I try to practice it.
I grew up in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and have a soft spot for sandy forests and small towns. I ultimately prefer cities, though. I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and our house has trees in the front and in the back, which allows for a mix of my favorite kinds of spaces. (If you peek through the tree in the front, you can see the Empire State Building, or you can just focus on the shadows the branches cast on the walls of our bedroom.) I go with my family to a cabin in Northern interior Maine every summer. It’s one of those places where cell phones don’t work. I love it there, too. Favorite cities outside of New York: Tokyo and Barcelona.
The first cup of coffee in the morning.