11 More Things, and an Interview with John (aka Hellasound)

A few weeks ago I posted 11 random things about myself, and last week I posted Ann’s 11 Things as she had tagged me in her post.  But Ann wasn’t the only one to pass along the 11 Things love – I was also tagged by John, aka Hellasound.  This week I have the pleasure of not answering John’s 11 questions to me, but also sharing his interview with me – given in exchange for playing the 11 Things game grin 

John, aka Hellasound, is one of the first people I followed on Twitter “back in the day”.  Not only have we shared occassional banter over the last three years, but I also had a chance to meet John last April when I was in Houston for the MS150.  Sadly, neither of us thought to take a picture.  He is the man behind Hellasound, music made for running.  Click through and have a listen – the high energy tracks are perfect for running.

Interview with Hellasound (aka John)

Hellasound officially started as a company in January 2007, but it was an idea I had brewing for a long, long time — since around 2002…

…I was never a runner — more an on-again-off-again gym rat — but my wife and I started running to get in shape for our wedding. I take music everywhere with me, so running with headphones was obvious and natural. I noticed early on that some songs felt better to run to, so (as a musician) I picked those songs apart and teased out the “why” of what made them work. I found the song’s tempo to be centrally important, but also the driving, forward-motion feel of the chord progressions and rhythms. I started making my own music to run to, just to improve my running. This was when we lived in San Diego. When we moved from San Diego to San Francisco, it felt like the time was right to make a formal, public effort of this “music for running” idea. It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve learned a ton — both about running and music — and I’ve met a lot of great people in the process.

The right music has saved my bacon at a couple of races…

…“What Are You Made Of?!?” is this heavy, thrash metal-style song, and it really kicks you into gear and keeps you there. I have a new running song coming out that I just love, and three that I keep coming back to are our three original releases: How To Turn Around A Bad Day, What Are You Made Of?!?, and As You Wish. They’re all long-format songs — 30 minutes — and I’ve been using the 175BPM versions, which is a faster turnover than the 165BPM I started at.

Other than our own music, some other favorites of mine include the Shins “Australia”, Pinback “From Nothing To Nowhere”, POD “Alive, and Mastodon “The Wolf Is Lose”. But honestly, most of the time I’m running, I’m running to songs of mine that are in the works. I run a lot to each song during the creation and recording process; it helps me develop ideas for song parts, distill ideas, and actually verify that the music feels good—feels right—to run to. 

I’m amazed at how much I love living in Houston…

…I never thought I’d live there, totally wasn’t on our radar at all, but it’s been absolutely wonderful. Nearly year-round, something is growing, and there’s just this lush, almost sensual quality to the air. Verdant.

We’ve lived in Chicago (where I grew up), San Diego, San Francisco, and Houston. If I were to rank those cities, Houston would come in a solid second. San Diego is virtually impossible to beat, but Houston’s been wonderful. And the price is right.

I’m still learning the secret spots for Tex Mex…

…but Chuy’s is pretty darn fantastic. There’s also a burrito chain called Freebirds that absolutely schools Chipotle-style burritos. Deliciousness. Mmmmm.

I offered to be your tri-sherpa for the USA National Paratriathlon Championships because I know you’re coming from the other side of the world to do this race…

…I have absolutely no idea what goes into tri sherpa-ing. But I’m pretty efficient when I’m in helper monkey mode, so I’m confident I can be a good Johnny On the Spot. And, also, I think I have a bit of tri-envy. I may be harboring a tri-wannabe self, somewhere inside my runner identity. I’ve considered doing a sprint, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to see what the tri environment is like.

My Answers to John’s 11 Questions

1.  Would you rather be constantly itchy, or constantly sticky? I’m talking, like, 24-7, round-the-clock, itchy or sticky. Choose. And why?

Sticky. Because I could manage the stick.  I could roll around in sugar like a donut and so much would stick to the sticky that I bet I’d just feel like I was wearing a sweater or compression gear.

2.  Where do you see your fitness in 10 years?

I pray that I have the same level of fitness I have now, if not more.  But with a progressive degenerative nerve disease that is unpredictable in nature, who knows. I don’t take it for granted, so right now I’m just focused on where my fitness is now.

3.  For $1 million, would you eat only liquid foods for 6 months? Everything in liquid form; you want steak? Put it in a blender. Liquid. No solids whatsoever.

No. Money could not replace the enjoyment I have from cooking and eating. I mean eating – not drinking!

4.  What is your ultimate psych-up song?

This changes all the time for me.  Recently I have been in grunge love mode, and Smells Like Teen Spirit has been high on my list.  I have also found myself gravitating to Metallica, oddly, for high energy pick ups. I think I need to try out some hard core rock or punk, as the high energy stuff is working for me now!  And Hellasound.  Gotta try the Hellasound!

5.  Can music make you cry? If so, which song?

Yes, definitely.  Any song can bring me to tears if it is performed beautifully. I think I was close to tears watching The Voice the other night.  I definitely welled up at Handel’s Messiah performed by The Sixteen in December. 

6.  If you had to choose just one superpower, what would it be? Why?

Do you remember the show Heroes?  I loved Hero’s power of stopping time.  I would love to be able to do that –  just so that I could fit more hours into my day.  I have so much I want to do but so little time to do it all!

7.  Would you rather be 8 feet tall or 4 feet tall? Don’t underestimate the difficulties of being very tall—finding clothing, driving compact cars, etc.

4 foot.  My grandmother is 4 foot 6 inches and it has never held her back.  But don’t underestimate the adaptations that this takes either – she has stepstools all over her house, plus a booster seat for her car!

8.  Camping or luxury hotel?

I would prefer camping (with a ground protector, air mattress, and then sleeping bag).  But my husband is a 5 star kind of guy.  So I pretty much do the hotel gig only these days.

9.  For $1 million, would you grow out a full-on Billy Ray Cyrus mullet and wear it proudly for 3 months?

Sure.  In fact, I think if we look through some old photos of mine I probably have worn a Billy Ray Cyrus mullet at a stage or two of my life!

10.  If you were banned from wearing shoes (of any kind) ever again, would you keep running?

If I couldn’t wear running shoes any more, I think I would probably resort to running on sand if I were to run at all.  I am shoe dependent for orthotic support, but I can run on the beach without such support as the sand cushions and moulds enough to make it do-able for me.  Although I can’t run for long without support – my tendons get inflamed and my muscles completely rebel. So yes, a qualified yes.

11.  If your TV would only play episodes of Gilligan’s Island over and over, back-to-back, and nothing else, would you still periodically turn it on and watch?

YES! I actually think for a portion of my childhood I may have done just this!

2 responses to “11 More Things, and an Interview with John (aka Hellasound)”

  1. its so wonderfulto read all these stories. I have 2 daughters both with cmt that were diagnosed at 15 the youngest at 2 my oldest is 24 she loves dance unfortunately she had to stop dancing a few years ago, but now she is a certified dance teacher….those that cant teach…she is wonderful..but as a parent it is hard to listen to your kids when they say why? i want to be like everyone else… im always picked last…Im lucky I have 2 strong and intelligent daughters who only have brief moments of doubt…but realize that nothing is impossible…I only wish we had support here in our province…my daughter has decided to take that on and get a support group started…Im so proud of them, and all of you who only have brief moments of doubt…keep on with what you love…you are all inspirational…..

  2. I am not at all surprised by the camping question but I am surprised by how close some of your answers are to what I would answer. Superpower, Gilligan’s Island, Sticky…We could almost be sisters.

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