As we sit and continue to converse, this strikes me as an apt metaphor; the thoughts come rapidly. Just as the in/mail box fills up daily with more than the ear can handle, the writer’s mind fills with thoughts and ideas sometimes too numerous to parse during the journey from brain to mouth. Hogan talks in spurts and flutters, filling the air with as much of his mind that his vocal cords can possibly allow.
It’s a good thing too many of those ideas aren’t wasted on the air in front of my humble ears; he has column inches to fill. And Marc is good at filling them, even if he likes to downplay the role his almost encyclopedic knowledge of music plays in his writing. On his Pitchfork gig: “I totally lucked out and snuck in right before it seemed like you needed to have other qualifications other than just being lucky.”
That “luck” (writing insightfully) has led his work to be splattered in nearly every corner of the web. From Spin and Pitchfork to
Hogan is the true Des Moines transplant. He grew up in Northern California, went to school just outside of Chicago at Northwestern, and eventually settled in Brooklyn. So how does someone so seemingly ensconced in big city life end up in cowtown USA? “[My wife and I] would keep coming back and visiting Des Moines every year because her parents are here,” says Hogan, “At a certain point it was like ‘you know what? I think I wouldn’t mind being able to walk down the block to Vaudeville Mews.”
By the time he decided to move, summer of 2009, The Mews had booked quite a few shows featuring some of Hogan’s favorites; unique acts likeJonathan Richman and Jens Lekman. “[In New York] I kind of lived in the far reaches of Brooklyn, so I could ride the subway for a long time, and then when the show’s over, I’d have this really long wait to get home or spend a ton of money for a taxi,” says Hogan, “or, if I moved [to Des Moines] I could just walk down the street.”
After making himself comfortable in Des Moines, he found the community happily supporting not only the national acts he enjoyed, but an entire swath of local artists enthusiastic about what they were creating. “It seems like everybody’s working together toward the same goal…It has this ‘we’re all in this together’ kind of feeling,” says Hogan. “It just seems like everybody’s being sincere and everybody’s real comfortable coming together and being themselves.”
It’s a scene Hogan has started weaving himself into more and more. For the past few years, he’s sat in on 80/35 booking committee meetings. “My contribution feels like it’s not much more than sitting there, drinking beer…and offering my opinion,” he says.
He’s also started DJing under the pseudonym DJ Hogstyle (or “spinning records amateurishly,” as he calls it), joining with Pavement’
For now, Marc Hogan is happy to be where he’s landed. “Iowa is a state of towns and scenes, and Des Moines seems to be the biggest town,” he says. “It’s sort of like you’ve got a hub here…but it seems like we’re all really just into coming together and being ourselves.”