21 Questions: Adam Murray

Welcome to 21 Questions, a regular feature where goes to the favorite hangout of a notable Phoenician and asks the "big" questions. This week we met up with Modified Arts performance programmer Adam Murray at Lola Coffee on Central and Camelback.

Adam Murray sits comfortably on a sleek couch in the middle of Lola, sipping his iced chai with soy milk. I order my iced coffee and join him. He says he's excited about the upcoming art exhibitions Modified has lined up. I ask what's happening on the music end, and he says he loves Michael Krassner's monthly series, but doesn't have too much planned while the weather's still intolerable. Murray's biggest focus is the desire to "craft an experience" with the musicians performing at Modified that's fitting to the space, and that means working with whatever art is currently filling the gallery, too. We talk more about the morphing of Modified, and then move on to my list of 21 questions.

Name: Adam Murray
Age: 28
Occupation: Audio Engineer/Performance Programmer at Modified Arts

New Times: In one sentence, what do you do all day in your job?
Adam Murray: It's going to change coming up soon. I used to do just freelance audio engineering, meeting with people and figuring out what they needed. Now, I got a job offer doing full time audio and video production for a web site. So, I'm excited to start that.

NT: What's wrong with the world today?

AM: I don't know if it's necessarily wrong, but indifference. People being comfortable with situations and not really challenging themselves.

NT: Who's your favorite local band?
AM: I'm enthralled by Michael Krassner. He's amazing. He doesn't have a band, so a band I love would be Static Announcements. Couple of those guys from Running from Bears who play at Lost Leaf. It's a trio like free form jazz, improvisational jazz with a lot of electronic processing. It's the kind of stuff that, when I listen to them play, it makes me feel stupid. [Laughs] Like, you guys are so good.

NT: What was the last show you attended?
AM: I haven't been to anything since we had a performance at Modified, Mana Quartet. It's a contemporary saxophone quartet. It's very interesting. Lots of contemporary pieces reworked for saxophone.

NT: If you could time travel, where would you go?
AM: This one's a hard one. There's a lot of things I want to see. What enthralls me the most is like 100 years from now. I'm a tech geek, so it's cool for me to think about what technology would be like in 100 years.

NT: What's the worst job you've ever had?
AM: I dropped free newspapers into the quarter machines. It was midnight to 5:30 in the morning. It was so bad. I had to do everything I could to stay awake. If it was the middle of winter, I'd roll down the window to try to stay awake with the cold air in my face. 

NT: How good are you at cooking?
AM: Not at all. Except I am an excellent maker of toast. It's a long story so I won't get into it now, but I make excellent toast and toasted products. English muffins. Stuff like that.

NT: Where do you go to be alone?
AM: Probably into imaginative worlds. I'm a gamer so sometimes the way I turn off my mind is getting into that. 

NT: Who's your all-time favorite fictional character?
AM: Probably the Terminator. I'm a big Arnold fan, and the Terminator is his greatest role. If I could go for a number two, it would be the island from Lost. I consider that a character.

NT: What's the first album you ever bought?
AM: You know, I was trying to remember. I can't remember the first cassette. The first two CDs were Led Zeppelin IV, with "Stairway to Heaven," and Michael Jackson, the one with "Black or White" on it. [Dangerous]

NT: Where is the best view in Phoenix?
AM: I like the view from North Mountain. Especially when you're looking to the north side of it. Sometimes I forget there's stuff on the north side of it, since I'm usually downtown, or in Scottsdale or Tempe.

NT: What's one thing you hate about Arizona?
AM: Love and hate. We [Murray and his wife Kim Larkin] moved here from Pittsburgh, so I kind of hate how opposite it is. But, just the condensed streets, and old architecture. There you have to fight and petition to knock a building down, here you have to fight and petition to keep it standing.

NT: What's your homepage?
AM: Google Chrome picks up the last four sites that I've been to.

NT: Do you give money to panhandlers?
AM: No. I had a bad experience years ago. I used to give money to panhandlers all the time. There was this one guy who had a really convincing story, but then a month later he came up to me with the same story. So I was like: fuck you. I'm not opposed to helping people in need, and I'll donate time and money, but there's other ways to find help than asking for it on the street.

NT: What's your drink?
AM: I like scotch. I'm a big scotch guy. Single malt scotch, I should say.

NT: Who is your mortal enemy?
AM: I don't think I have a mortal enemy. If I had an enemy it wouldn't be a who, but a what. Not enough time in the day. That's what I'm always fighting.

NT: What's the deal with Sheriff Joe?
AM: I don't know. I don't really know too much about him personally, apart from the stuff I see on the news. His mindset is stuck in the old west. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not something I support.

NT: What would you do if you won the lottery?
AM: Invest. In Apple. I'm a big Apple fanboy.

NT: What's hanging above your sofa?
AM: A surround sound speaker setup. It's been that way for a long time.

NT: What's the best love advice you have?
AM: Be honest.

NT: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear got say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
AM: Oh man. It would probably have to be something like, "Aw man, what do you think you're doing here?" Or, "Don't even think about it." Or something like, "See, I do exist."

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski