Interview: Javelin’s George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk

Javelin is a tropical dance party duo spiced with infectious beats from the far reaches of your radio dial based out of Brooklyn. Luckily, the typical “cliches” end there. Cousins George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk have become known as “the guys with the boom boxes,” employing a Flaming Lips meets Talking Heads-like technique that’s allowed them to break down the artist/audience wall at such tour stops as New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Lollapalooza. They’ve also gained a reputation as a thoughtful cultural observers who infuse consciousness into their music.

We caught up with them recently to talk about…. well, everything really. Everything but what you’d hear in a typical rock ‘n roll interview.

HeadCount: What was the most interesting non music conversation you’ve had in the last few months and what was it about?

George: I’ve been having a lot of conversations about childbirth in this country and how the medical industry and insurance companies have mutated our perception of the most fundamental and natural human function into something dangerous that usually requires surgical intervention. There’s a bottom-line mentality that has really changed what people (going back a few generations now) think of as a “normal” or “safe” birth.

Tom:  We were sitting around a table at a diner talking about the political climate in America.  For the first time, I could reliably admit to myself how close to our own version of fascism we have come in this country.  When you use media as propaganda to stir-up the masses to essentially violence-inciting levels for political and economic gains, other kinds of violence are never far away.  Of course calling the Right “fascistic” is a bit like calling the Left “Socialistic” — it’s not precisely right — but we are creating our own definition in this country.

What is your favorite non music website and why?

George: I’m a creature of habit. From looking at my browser history, apparently my favorite website is the text-based global flea market that is Craigslist. I like browsing for barns in the real estate section.

Tom:  Gmail

What issue gets you guys most fired up? Anything you bothl feel strongly about? Or anything you disagree about and debate?

George:  Well, it’s certainly not the most important thing in the world, but I’m freaked out by the threat of our open and unregulated internet soon becoming not so open and unregulated.

Tom: Global Health politics tends to threaten my own health when I think about it too hard

What do you think about the recent election?

George: I’m sure every generation thinks that their era is the most frustrating and dismal in terms of its political climate. But damn, this the most frustrating and dismal…Opinion is fact if you can shout it loud enough at your opposing politico on any cable news channel.

Tom:  See my answer to the first question…

What was the last documentary you watched? did it reinforce or change how you felt about the subject?

George: The Business of Being Born (see question #1)

Tom:  Burma VJ is incredibly moving and well done.  It makes you appreciate the power personal media can have on extremely oppressive governments, and it also makes you empathize with those living under such.

Where do you glean most of your news and current events?

George: NPR, I guess.

Tom:  BBC / NPR

What was the first charity you ever gave money to and when did you do it?

George: I think I gave my allowance to Greenpeace when I was little. I’m a fan of Oxfam’s gifts for Christmas (x amount of dollars buys a goat for a family or mosquito netting for a baby, etc…)

Tom:  Mine was environmental too, Save The Bay (in Rhode Island), when I was a kid.

If you were given $1 million dollars tomorrow, on the condition that  you had to spend it only on one cause what would it be?

George: That’s tough, but it’d probably go to sex education somewhere in the world where such resources are unavailable.

Tom:  Water.  Clean water technologies that work anywhere on the globe, regardless of infrastructural/cultural setting.

If you could add an amendment to the constitution would you? and what it would it be?

George: Yes. It would be a multi-pack though. Probably something like: no guns for anybody, free healthcare for all, teachers are to be paid more than baseball players, religion has nothing to do with this government.

Tom:  It would be to right the wrongs an historical oversight– the governing capitol of this country should have been NEW YORK, NY.  Alexander Hamilton gave it away to make Jefferson happy, basically to make Monticello as sweet as possible.  Instead of their unbridled obsession with money, we could have had the best minds of American history working on GOVERNING instead of faking the numbers on the stock market.  But I guess this is more of a Bill and Ted’s type expedition than an actual amendment to our existing Constitution.

Tell your friends!