We love Monster Children Magazine. They were a huge inspiration for us when we first started. When we found out they were in our birth city (Denton, TX), we hit up MC Editor-in-Chief Jason Crombie for an interview. He barely talked about Terry Richardson.
What does it mean to be an editor at monster children? We’ve been thinking about this because being an editor at our magazine means everything between being the last person to look at it [the magazine], to cleaning up everyone’s shit after the party.
Jason: Yeah [laughs] I have to do a lot of that, we just had our last launch party for issue 47 we had a party in New York and yeah I was there paying the bartender off and setting up all the magazine stuff. We are only a quarterly magazine so it’s not like we need a huge staff of people to start with that sort of thing. In terms of curating the issue it’s me and Campbell, the art director, we curate and argue about it together, if there’s something he disagrees about I’ll kinda have to sway him, fight him for it, stuff like that.
My biggest job is really writing what goes in the magazine, there is a bit of delegating to freelancers and stuff like that but for the most part, it is just writing. Is that a good answer?
Well whatever you think is the best answer!
Jason: I’m not sure if it was! But that’s pretty much it, I do everything, I go get the coffee sometimes. I just moved to Sydney from New York, so I was basically the NY office. We have one in LA and we have one here in Sydney, but the NY office was really just a desk with me, that was it. This [in Sydney] is the big office so there are like 20 people here. It’s nice to be in a big room with everyone working towards a goal. Before I would just wake up around 10 am and start working at lunch time when LA wakes up. It’s kinda difficult to remain motivated, it’s pretty easy to just fuck around and not get the job done; it’s good to be here.
Are you going to make another issue of Wooooo Magazine? We actually just bought an issue, the James Franco one.
Jason: Did you buy an issue?!
Yeah I did!
Jason: Hang on! I see it! It’s on the way to Dallas!
We read this article about how you threw all your Wooooo’s away in a dumpster in New York!
Jason: Where did you read that?
I’m not sure I don’t remember!
Jason: Well there are about 20 in a box somewhere, it was so shitty though.
That’s the way we feel about our first issues.
Jason: I feel like regardless of what I do about two months later I hate it. I totally overprinted the first issues of Wooooo and I had this storage unit in NY that basically just had thousands of issues of the magazine because I didn’t want to throw them out. It was like I had an apartment for all these fucking magazines so in the end I just put them all in a dumpster. But I still have a couple hundred of each, it’s a total piece of shit.
What is your work style?
Jason: I don’t know I’m a terrible procrastinator, I always leave things to the last minute and then I sort of get stuff done in a fiery bust, at the very last second. Unfortunately that’s probably my work style. I wish I could start a bit earlier and not drag my feet as much. I’m sure I would produce better work if I didn’t leave everything to the last minute. So that’s not really a work ethic is it? That’s just a problem.
I’ve struggled with procrastination all my life and I’ve read so much about it and tried to understand why I do it but I can’t figure it out. But I think my best writing has been in times when I haven’t been drinking for a couple months, and it’s just the more clear-headed I am the better. That makes me sound like an alcoholic but those times when I’ve gone a whole stretch without drinking, the writing I do during those times is the stuff I prefer.
The idea of Hunter Thompson, Hemmingway or Fitzgerald drunk out of their minds at the typewriter. It’s like you’re not going to do anything good you’re drunk! Nothing good happens when you’re drunk. I think sometimes when I smoke pot and write a bunch of stuff and the next day when I’m straight I’ll read over it, there are normally a few gems in there. Sill for the most part, it will just be gibberish that I thought was hilarious because I was stoned.
It seems like you have a really strong voice, do you think that it took you some time to gain that or has it always been natural to you?
Jason: I think that my earlier attempts were sort of a little bit trying too hard to be funny or to have a distinct voice. But my tip is to anyone who wants to have an original voice and one that’s sounds genuine and authentic, just write how you talk. It’s all you have to do. If you can write a sentence and that’s something you actually say than it’s always gonna sound genuine. You can always tell when people are putting it on a little bit. You can read something and know this person is trying to sound cool or smart or funny. I guess with writing you use words that you wouldn’t always say. But if you can, write the way you talk.
just write how you talk. It’s all you have to do. If you can write a sentence and that’s something you actually say than it’s always gonna sound genuine. You can always tell when people are putting it on a little bit.
Have you ever felt like you were a workaholic
Jason: Never! Never in my life have I felt like a workaholic. I wish!
I always want to be working, writing and designing, but then at the same time I need to get out of my house to meet people to write about, I’m interested in how other people negotiate that balance.
Jason: I don’t know how I do that, I don’t know if it’s a conscious thing? It’s just life isn’t it.
What have you created that you are proud of? Why?
Jason: I can’t think of anything I’m particularly proud of; there must be something. Honestly I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that I’m a fraud. I think for me, every time I get away with it. This interview with you guys is a proud moment for me. You thinking I’m a great writer that you want to interview. A proud moment for me is when I started working for this magazine [Monster Children] and I didn’t have to bartend anymore, “I’ve fooled these guys into giving me a job.”
Does it ever get easier?
Jason: No. I don’t know why I feel that way. I don’t have any sort of formal education. I didn’t go to school for writing or journalism. So, I really did sneak in through the back door.
Have you ever completely ‘fucked’ an interview up?
Jason: What have I done? Terry Richardson hung up on me once. It was ten minutes into the interview and he was having a very bad day apparently. I got on the phone with him and said some pretty dumb stuff. He said “I’m not in the mood for this” and hung up. What else did I do? One time I had an interview with someone. For some reason this person didn’t understand that an interview with a tape recorder on the table in front of them meant I was going to write down everything they said. They said one thing that in my mind was pretty harmless, but he got really, really mad. Couldn’t believe that I had written down the things that he said. It was really weird. I can honestly say that I’ve never missed an interview with someone before they blew up. I’ve been very fortunate with the people I’ve interviewed. I just sort of got people out of pure luck. Then come to find, a year later, they’re gigantic and won’t give me the time of day. But yea, I’ve fucked up.
If we send you a copy of our magazine will you hide it somewhere in the Monster Children office?
Jason: I won’t hide it! I’ll show it to everyone.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to make it in the industry or writing in general? The Do’s and Don’ts of getting your shit together?
Jason: It was an accident, and I didn’t even start doing it for the writing. It became fun and I enjoyed doing it and that started to resonate to others. It sort of got me to where I am now. I think you can be ‘under’ ambitious and you can be ‘over’ ambitious. No one likes someone who pushes their foot in the door. I got really lucky, I can’t really think. You know, just be yourself. Be genuine. If you write like you talk and you don’t try to sound like other people overtime you’ll develop your own voice. It’s authentic and it’s YOU. I think that’s really important. We don’t need and more cooky and crazy writers. Also, if you’re enjoying what you’re doing it’ll come along.