Killing it at Life part 4: Eric Alba

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There are some people who I admire from afar through the veil of social media. I watch these lives unfold in status updates, photos, events, one-liners, songs posted. There are project references, hard decisions referenced, dance parties, loves, likes, encounters. I eagerly await these updates, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I’ve worked with these people on projects, I know these people in person, but mostly I see them and their exploits online, and from here, it looks like they are Killing it at Life. So I reached out, to find out how they do it. I asked some questions, then some follow-ups. Here’s interview number two:

Eric Alba, you are killing it at life. Let’s talk about it.

Li88y
What’s your favorite thing about being alive?

Eric
My favorite part of being alive are those “holy moments” that only come around every so often. I was in Mexico earlier this year, and one night I just laid on the beach, totally alone, and I just stared up at the stars. I have no idea how long I laid there. Time seemed to stop, and for a brief window everything was right in the world. I’m always looking for moments like that. Oh and Cuddling. I’m all about cuddling.

Li88y
“Holy moments” in cuddle form? Would you travel to space if you could? To the depths of the ocean?

Eric
Haha. Holy cuddling, Batman! I’m a teddy bear, cuddling is what I was made for. I’d choose space over the ocean, for sure. I’m totally down with either, but I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of space. AND maybe I could do some zero gravity cuddling. Now that would be something.

Li88y
What’s your favorite record right now?

Eric
There’s Nothing Wrong With Love by Built to Spill. I’m heavy into a 90’s binge right now. 90’s binges are pretty frequent for me.

Li88y
I came of age in the 90’s and it was such a great time for music. Is 90’s music like a nostalgia thing for you? Or is it like you’re discovering stuff you haven’t heard before? What was the first album you fell in love with?

Eric
A little bit of both. I was born in ’87 so I was super young for a lot of that great early 90’s music that I listen to all the time now. I’ve spent the past 15 years discovering music of that time period. Every now and then I still stumble onto something that I missed and it usually blows me away. Nevermind by Nirvana, Metallica’s Black album and Dookie by Green Day were probably the three albums that first really got me into music when I was like 10 or 11. Before that it was mostly just whatever my parents listened to: Cuban music (I’m Cuban, B!), pop music and disco. My parents are super cool (Seriously, I love them).

Li88y
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Eric
Shower. Extremely hot shower. I’m a night person so I don’t usually wake up in the morning, but if I absolutely have to, the only way to wake up from my coma is to flash boil myself.

Li88y
The last thing you do before going to bed?

Eric
I usually fall asleep to music or a movie. Seu Jorge’s Life Aquatic studio sessions is GREAT to fall asleep to. Hot damn I love that album. Bowie in Portuguese? Be still, my beating heart.

Li88y
Bowie in Portuguese? Please elaborate. Lately I’ve been watching Star Trek on my phone right before bed, but it backfires and I end up watching Star Trek all night.

Eric
Oh yeah! Seu Jorge is the tits. Have you seen Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic? Seu Jorge is the guy who’s always playing guitar and singing. I’m telling you, if you haven’t heard him, you should check it out (That’s a great movie as well). The Life Aquatic studio sessions is all Bowie covers and one original song. It’s solid. Some music isn’t good for falling asleep, because I end up trying to listen to the lyrics and then I just end up staying awake. But Seu Jorge singing in Portuguese puts me right out.

Li88y
Do you pray?

Eric
I don’t really pray anymore. I did when I was little. I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school for a long time when I was young. When I was old enough to start forming my own opinions, I decided it was silly to talk to some mysterious “God” figure and ask him/her/it for stuff. Praying seems to me like making a wish. I used to love the idea of wishes. Wishbones, shooting stars, wishing wells… the idea always seemed so quaint and positive. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to stop wishing for things. If you want something, figure out how to get it.

Li88y
Do you think that which a person wants is always attainable? I feel like sometimes it becomes necessary to adjust my expectations. And then I wonder, in retrospect, if adjusting my expectations was the right thing to do, or if I should have just put my shoulder back to the wheel.

Eric
There are tons of things that people want that aren’t attainable and we all need to adjust our expectations from time to time, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t fight, tooth and nail, to get the things that we want. It’s different for everyone, I guess, and there will always be times we look back and think maybe we should have kept pushing and not settled, but hey, at the end of the day, you live and learn.

Li88y
How do you like to get intoxicated?

Eric
Honestly, give me a joint and I’m all set. I am always down for a drink, but if you gave me the choice between a drink and a joint, 99.9% of the time, I’m going to choose getting stoned over getting drunk. Weed is great. No hangover, no blacking out and no bad decisions (except for the occasional ridiculous food purchase). Legalize it.

I’m also a big fan of consciousness expansion. I’m always happy to go on an adventure of the mind. I think it’s good for humans to explore the funky depths of their brains and see life through a different lens from time to time. Moderation though. Everything in moderation. Good rule for life right there. Trip responsibly.

Li88y
Speaking of tripping in the 90’s, Dave and I used to always listen to Syd Barrett on the way up, and Cocteau Twins on the way down. How do you feel about street drugs v pharmaceuticals?

Eric
Pharmaceuticals are way too addictive. I know myself well enough to steer clear these days. I feel that way about most drugs. I’ve always been the kind of person who would try most things once, but now I just like to trip on special occasions and in magical places. And I don’t even consider weed a drug anymore.

Li88y
Do you think you could live someplace other than NYC? Where or why not?

Eric
I moved around so many times when I was younger that I’m pretty confident I could live in any city. I’ve lived in NYC for just shy of 8 years now and that’s the longest I’ve lived any one place. Been out in Bushwick for 3 years now and it’s starting to feel like home. I think I’ll be here a while.

But if I had to leave… I think I’d live in Seattle or Austin. I fell in love with Seattle the few times I went out to the Northwest. Great vibe. Great air. The Northwest is great. So much great music came out of that area and I’d love to check it out for a while. Oh and Austin is just Austin. I had a ton of fun in Austin and I know a bunch of good people down there. I went to high school in Texas and a bunch of my friends ended up in Austin, so I wouldn’t mind being reunited with some old friends. It’s also another great music town, and I think I’d be pretty happy drinking in dive bars and listening to my friend’s bands play shows.

Li88y
I think that lifestyle is possible in NYC too, it’s just harder to make it happen. That used to be my life in NYC, pre-baby, and now that he’s three, I feel like I can get that stuff back a little. I absolutely cannot wait until he’s old enough that I can take him to music shows and plays.

Eric
Totally! That’s why I’ll be here for a while. Even though it’s easy to get caught up in work and life and forget that this city has all of those things and more, I feel like the city always finds ways of reminding me how amazing it is here. It’s a pretty cool place to call home.

Li88y
Do you feel like you’re killing it? ‘Cause it’s looking great from the outside.

Eric
I’m glad things look good from the outside! I don’t want to say, “hey, look at me, I’m killing it!” But hey, I enjoy my life. I’ve been blessed with a lot of great opportunities in my life and I’m generally pretty happy about things. I’ve always tried to be a positive and hopeful person, and I think I got a lot of it from reading a ton of Kurt Vonnegut. He was my favorite author through high school and college and I still go back and read his books when I need some life inspiration. I love his hopefulness, even when faced with the crushing immensity of the meaninglessness of life. And his sense of humor through it all was always so comforting. Here’s a quote from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater that I think really hits the nail on the head and is the best advice anyone could ever give anyone: “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

Li88y
I’ve got this opinion that you’re killing it through what I know of you from social media and a little bit in life and from projects you do. How connected does the offline you feel to the you who is online?

Eric
The Eric that people know through social media is a pretty good representation of the real me. There are definitely a lot of things that I don’t share on the internet and I think that is a good thing. I’m all for sharing things but I do think some people go overboard with it. I treat social media like a sounding board. I put stuff out there because I want to see what comes back to me. It gives an outside perspective to whatever I may be thinking or doing. I post songs I dig to see who out there digs the same stuff as I do. I post videos of all kinds of silly nonsense to see who else thinks these things are funny or interesting. I also love posting whatever silly crap pops into my head.

Li88y
Sending out that you might receive is a really beautiful idea. It’s almost like a practical, DIY continuation of your childhood wishes. Does that idea drive you in your offline life as well?

Eric
I’d like to think so. I try to be easy going and send out as much good juju as I can, and most of the time I’ve found that life seems to bounce a lot of good stuff back. It’s like my own, less commercial, version of The Secret.

Eric
I always wonder what people who I haven’t seen in ages think about me, based on the stuff I post on Facebook or Instagram. What does someone who I haven’t seen in 15 years think about me when they have only seen me through assorted pictures and posts. They could think I’m a total asshole and stop following me, or they could think I’m killing it. Either way, I’m here doing my thing. And I love when I reconnect with old friends through social media because of something I posted or something someone else posted. Then I try to see those people in real life and connect the dots between the posts and the person.

Li88y
Projects? Links? Follows?

Eric
No projects in the works at the moment. Mostly just working hard and trying to save up some money for my next vacation. But here’s a few links to things I really enjoy.

http://www.avclub.com/articles/15-things-kurt-vonnegut-said-better-than-anyone-el,1858/

This is a great article that does a good job of summing up why Kurt Vonnegut was the fucking man.

http://www.tohkay.com/

Toh Kay is the solo project of Tomas Kalnoky, the lead singer of one of my favorite ska bands. He basically does acoustic versions of ska songs and I think it’s fucking magic.

http://www.explosm.net/comics/3179/

Cyanide and Happiness is my favorite web comic. Just keep clicking random and enjoy.

http://www.tomscott.com/weather/starwars/

This one is just genius.

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