What is your favorite thing to do when you get away from work?
I spend a lot of time seeking out and listening to new music. I’ve always been pretty obsessive about music of all kinds—from punk and metal to electronica to reggae to jazz. As such, the internet has been both an unalloyed joy and an incredible time-suck, as I’m always discovering new artists and even genres. Case in point: Zamrock, which I first heard about five years ago via an mp3 blog that specialized in obscure African music. I’ve done a number of projects in Africa and the Middle East over the years, so it wasn’t much of a leap to decide to try to find some of the guys who made this incredible music back in the 1970s.
What would be your go-to weapon in a zombie attack?
You can’t go wrong with a 12-gauge, right?
Did you always know you wanted to be an artist/writer?
More or less. It was just a question of what sort of writer I’d be. I wrote lots of terrible dystopian short stories when I was younger, followed by a period of minor-key Ray Carver ripoffs, before I found my niche as a journalist. I’m pretty happy with what I’m doing now, though someday maybe I’ll return to the dystopian stuff.
Chris A. Smith is a magazine writer, photographer, and college teacher. He has worked in the Middle East, Africa, the Caucasus, and at home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Something of a music obsessive, he first heard Zamrock via an obscure music blog five years ago and decided to track down those who made it. His website is ca-smith.net.