Funny Money: an interview with Justin Waters

Justin Waters runs the Atlanta-based below radar record label, Sounds From the Pocket, releasing esoteric noise throughout the 50 states. He’s been making anti-music for over a decade now.

FALSE: Is Sounds From The Pocket a money reference?

Justin Waters: Not necessarily. It’s about micro-cassettes.

FALSE: Why do you like micro-cassettes?

JW: They’re shitty.

FALSE: Would you say your record label lives outside economics?

JW: Yes, because I’m poor. Lots of poor. I don’t work a lot. I work a job where I have more freedom and free time. I don’t have the ambition to work a job I hate.

FALSE: Do you think this country relies too much upon money as freedom?

JW: I think a lot of people think that. To a certain extent, it’s true.

FALSE: So you’re in a band called Mugu Guymen?

JW: The whole band image comes from Nigerian email scammers who prey on wealthy, greedy westerners. It’s amazing those scams worked! Greed blinds! The band pokes fun at rich people.

FALSE: Have you ever eaten money?

JW: Probably a dollar…maybe a five. The taste was dirty.

FALSE: Have you ever burned money?

JW: At least a dollar. We tore a bunch of money up once and put in an aquarium full of rocks. Nothing lived in the aquarium. We also buried a police scanner under the rocks with the antenna sticking up. It’d go off randomly blurting out police banter rarp rarp rarp rarp rarp in the static.

FALSE: Do the police hate poor people?

JW: Probably. They give them more trouble than rich people.

FALSE: Who are the rich people?

JW: Zombies.

FALSE: Why does Atlanta hate poor people?

JW: Poor people cause too much trouble. What can you get from poor people?

FALSE: Does money make people happy?

JW: For a little bit.

FALSE: Do you think money makes people hate more?

JW: Money in general? Poor people hate people who have it. People who have it become selfish. The whole attitude, thinking they deserve it and earned it.

FALSE: Does capitalism suck?

JW: Yes.

FALSE: Have you ever been homeless?

JW: No.

FALSE: Have you known friends who’ve been homeless?

JW: Just a few. I guess they weren’t excited enough about money.

FALSE: Is the reason you live in Stone Mountain because Atlanta’s become too expensive?

JW: Yes. Blame it on the Olympics.

FALSE: Does the Olympics hate poor people?

JW: Poor people can’t afford to see the Olympics.

FALSE: Do you think Rock music is mostly out to make a buck?

JW: Yes. More money, more girls, more stuff.

FALSE: Do girls hate poor guys?

JW: I don’t know about hate…just not interested.

FALSE: Do you think noise music can be exploited as much as Rock music to make money?

JW: Not on that grand of a scale. It doesn’t cater to mainstream values. What people like is security.

FALSE: What are mainstream values?

JW: Whatever people can relate to is a normal mainstream value. People like to think they feel good. They want to be supported and feel like they belong. There are other people with them. They can be part of the rock star experience. Being crazy about a band or a performer. They live vicariously through them. Noise doesn’t cater to the rock-star experience. Noise doesn’t cater to people pleasing. Noise challenges.

FALSE: Why do you have such limited release runs?

JW: Limited audience.

FALSE: What was your most limited run?

JW: Limited number of eight micro-cassettes. I did thirteen cassettes for Fast Fast Cash once. They got their name from a tax refund place sign.

FALSE: Are they poor?

JW: Yea, they’re poor.

JW: Are you interviewing me?

FALSE: Maybe.

FALSE: Why is the economy falling apart?

JW: I think it’s part of a plan.

FALSE: Whose plan?

JW: I don’t know. Someone making a lot of money.

FALSE: Tell me something random about the presidential election and money.

JW: I think it’s pretty fucked up. Winning’s based on how money you have.

FALSE: What’s the most you’ve ever spent on dinner?

JW: Fifty bucks.

FALSE: What’s your most expensive possession?

JW: My IMac computer. Maybe my car, but it’s not worth much anymore.

FALSE: Does your car hate money?

JW: My car needs money.

FALSE: Does money need your car?

JW: Money wants your car! Money wants me to piss money so it’s flushed down the toilet!

FALSE: Is money funny?

JW: At this point, yea, totally! It might as well be Monopoly money in the U.S. It’s not worth anything because nothing backs it up. No gold backs it up. I’m not even sure why gold’s worth anything. The real problem is the common phrase is money is the root of all evil, but I wonder what is the root of money? Cause even on Earth right now, I’m sure there are some societies functioning without money, but they are remote and small. A village of 100 people can manage without money. In Western Society, the cities are so large you have to have money. It creates crap jobs because there’s an expectation from the government for you to make money. If you have three million people in a city, everyone can’t trade chickens for corn or tomatoes for new shoes. That’s why you have television writers and other bullshit unnecessary culture created jobs. I think the only real job relates to food and shelter necessities, everyday needs. How are people going to pay for food and shelter? There are too many people because there is too much time… natural result from us being here. A tribe of Neanderthals had to have sex or they wouldn’t exist. Now there are so many people you have to pay for sex.

FALSE: Say something smart-ass about money?

JW: …did you get that? I didn’t say anything.

FALSE: Is Atlanta a money town?

JW: It wants to be. I think it will fail at being a money town.

FALSE: What’s the worst thing about rich people?

JW: Waste.

FALSE: What’s the worst thing about poor people?

JW: I don’t know. The worst thing about people is greed.

FALSE: Do other things besides money make people greedy?

JW: Not in a money-based society.

FALSE: Why do Rock bands need one million dollar recording contracts?

JW: To support the economy.

FALSE: Why is money a mainstream value?

JW: I think it’s about being middle of the road. Music for money is middle of the road.

FALSE: Who controls mainstream values? Is it the middle class?

JW: I’m not sure what class. I’d say the media. TV, radio…People pay attention to TV and radio.

FALSE: Does TV and radio pay attention to money?

JW: Totally!

FALSE: What economic class do you belong to?

JW: Fairly low…It’s unfair. I didn’t choose to come into this world, so don’t put it on me to function in the fucked-upness that was created before I was born.

FALSE: Do they owe us a living?

JW: Of course they fucking do!