The Renaissance Man: Jason Baxter
Hometown: Edmonds, Wash.
Pets: Montana the cat
Last Book Read: The Ecstasy of Influence, Jonathan Lethem
Childhood Nickname: “Don’t Go Jason Waterfalls”
“Maximalism,” one of 2011’s buzziest buzzwords, describes an artistic style that strives for meaning by including everything. Jason Baxter may be its living embodiment. He’s a busy guy, but more importantly, the stuff he’s busy with incorporates a spectrum of media, styles and sources into a blueprint for modern culture.
As half of electronic band USF, Baxter makes music at once cerebral and visceral, escapist and immediate, using a digitally enhanced palette of samples, synths and sequencers. USF’s music suitably soundtracks Trip Fantastic, the mind-bending comic book Baxter co-authors. He’s an “extended family member” of Capitol Hill arts collective Cairo, where he advises on underground music compilations, label signings and events. His full-time job as publicist for Sub Pop imprint Hardly Art pays the bills, as does occasional work as a music journalist. In conversation, he talks about “violating boundaries” and “trying to over-stimulate as much as possible.” Together, Baxter’s endeavors embody an aesthetic that’s subversive, smart and surreal.
“Jason reflects a new way of living as an artist within a music community and interacting with music,” says Cairo events curator Ian Judd. “Also he does a really good Beetlejuice impression.”
Baxter will conclude the Trip Fantastic storyline online and in print throughout 2012 and is working on a new USF record and summer tour.
Photography by Kyle Johnson at Melrose Market Studios.