Q&A: Eric Lee, Metro Pulse Triage artist and member of Vn Trble

So… we've already run one of your art series. What makes this time so different?

I just think the art is—what's that Patrick Swayze song? "Dirty Dancing"?

"She's Like the Wind."

That's just a weird f--kin' song. But it's a lot easier to look at something and feel a certain way than it is for music to make you feel that way.

Being more serious about art has made my music a lot more effed up. It's loosened me up considerably. Once I figured out how to be better at the art-making, I could let go a little bit of control: Know you've made a mistake and can stare at it for five hours and figure out how to fix it. But with music, if it doesn't go as intended and you're quick enough and smart enough, you can turn it into a conscious decision.

You're more prolific as a musician.

Talking about the music I play—people don't know how to listen to that, they don't have to learn how to look at something.

If you're actually hearing something in real time you can't just take a quick glance and walk away from it. The way people hear music is wrong. And they don't see it as an organic physical thing, they see it as prom night, or "I'm gonna get drunk to this."

So despite your history with music, you really feel like more of a visual artist than a musician?

Probably. It probably informs the music I play, there are shapes and clusters of notes and straight lines, big washes.

How do you see making music versus making visual art?

Music seems much more of a communal thing. If you walk around feeling isolated and disconnected at times, there's this really primitive way you can connect with your community and its music. Art is a ridiculously solitary thing.

Why do you always look like you just got out of jail?