Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Erica Rivera Interviews Ellen Longfellow


Erica Rivera spoke to attorney Ellen Longfellow about her long and storied career, most recently as a lawyer fighting for human rights issues at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Read the piece in the December 2020 issue of Women's Press or online here.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Erica Rivera Profiles Family Tree Clinic


Erica Rivera spoke to Lindsey Hoskins and Jacki Trelawny of Family Tree Clinic about its unique approach to sex education and community engagement. Read the piece in the August 2020 issue of Women's Press or online here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Erica Rivera Reviews 'The Hilarious World of Depression' by John Moe


Erica Rivera reviewed The Hilarious World of Depression by radio host John Moe. Read the piece on Mandatory here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Erica Rivera Interviews Jessie Diggins


Erica Rivera spoke to Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins about her cross-country skiing career, recovery from an eating disorder, and her new memoir Brave Enough. Read the piece on City Pages here.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Erica Rivera Profiles Eat For Equity


Erica Rivera spoke to Emily Torgrimson of Eat For Equity, an organization that uses community meals to raise funds for non-profits. Read the piece in the April 2020 issue of Women's Press or online here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Erica Rivera Interviews Anton Treuer (Again!)


Erica Rivera spoke to prolific author and Ojibwe professor Anton Treuer about his new book, The Language Warrior's Manifesto, and the efforts of Native communities to revitalize their tribal languages. Read the piece in the March 18, 2020 print issue of City Pages or online here.

Rivera previously interviewed Treuer about The Indian Wars for Cowboys and Indians magazine as well as about controversial art at the Minnesota State Capitol for City Pages.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Erica Rivera Interviews Sister Helen Prejean


Erica Rivera interviewed Sister Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun, anti-death penalty activist, and author of the bestselling memoir Dead Man Walking. Read the piece on City Pages here.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Erica Rivera Interviews Black Fashion Week MN Founder


Erica Rivera spoke to Natalie Morrow, founder of Black Fashion Week MN, about creating a unique and inclusive platform for designers of color. Read the piece in the February 2020 issue of Women's Press or online here.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Erica Rivera Interviews Nancy Lyons About LGBTQ+ Family Building


Erica Rivera spoke to Clockwork CEO Nancy Lyons about her son's adoption journey and the family-building challenges LGBTQ+ people face. Read the piece in the January 2020 issue of Women's Press or online here.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Erica Rivera Interviews Scott Z. Burns


Erica Rivera spoke to screenwriter-director Scott Z. Burns about his latest film, The Report, for City Pages' Artist of the Year issue. Read how Burns did a deep dive into the CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and brought this story to the silver screen in the Dec. 23, 2019 issue of City Pages or online here.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Erica Rivera Interviews Jack El-Hai


Erica Rivera spoke to author Jack El-Hai about his new book, The Lost Brothers, and podcast, Long Lost, for City Pages' Artist of the Year issue. Both of El-Hai's projects follow the case of the Klein brothers, three young boys who went missing from a Minneapolis park in 1951 and were never found. Read the piece in the Dec. 23, 2019 issue of City Pages or online here.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Erica Rivera Names Best Music of 2019


Erica Rivera contributed to City Pages' 2019 top albums and songs list. Find out what she was listening to this year here.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Erica Rivera Interviews Valerie Castile


Erica Rivera spoke to Valerie Castile, mother of police shooting victim Philando Castile, about the non-profit she founded in his honor to help pay off student lunch debt. Read the piece in the December 2019 issue of Women's Press or online here.

(Photo by Lorie Shaull.)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Erica Rivera Interviews Alyssa Baguss


Erica Rivera spoke to artist Alyssa Baguss, who brings the outdoors inside for her latest exhibition at Mia. Read how her work as director of Silverwood Park inspires her nature-themed artwork on City Pages here.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Erica Rivera Profiles Band Together


Erica Rivera spoke to participants of Band Together, a concert benefiting Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy. Find out how music contributes to climate change awareness and activism on City Pages here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Erica Rivera Profiles Sara Bischoff of Under Violet


Erica Rivera spoke to Sara Bischoff about her new musical project Under Violet, which was recognized in City Pages' 2019 Picked to Click poll. Read the piece in the Oct. 16, 2019 print issue or online here.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Erica Rivera Interviews Jack Klatt



Jack Klatt thinks you need more love in your life.

The 34-year-old local musician has crafted his new album, It Ain’t the Same, around precisely that premise. “Love seems like a thing that we need, really badly, more than ever right now,” he says.

Klatt has always gravitated toward sad love songs, but on the new album he explores all kinds of love with levity and delight. He expanded his definition of love from being about romance between a couple to “empathetic, big, capital L love,” he says.

“Prove My Love” is the most upbeat love song on the album, and its tone also marked a shift for Klatt. “I did intentionally try to get away from the heartbreak stuff. It’s just such an easy emotion to tap into. Pain, the negative things we get handed in life, are really easy to channel into art. And a bunch of great stuff comes out of it, too, but with this batch of songs, I was thinking, ‘You know, what about falling in love? What about something positive? Why not use that to make something?’ Which, funny enough, had never occurred to me. I guess I used to think of songwriting as a cathartic thing and with this record, I was really thinking about the audience more than myself.”

He was also thinking about the current state of our country. Klatt wrote many of the songs on this album in the wake of the 2016 presidential election and was influenced by the subsequent cultural shifts in society. “I don’t like to get too political, but it’s hard not to in these times,” he says.

The most blatantly political song on the album is “Caught in the Middle,” a song that came to Klatt out of the blue and wrote itself in a mere two hours. It started with the idea that the world is upside down and that we’d have to stand on our heads to make sense of it. The song examines perspectives of several people who feel like they’re on the fence politically. “I think there are a lot of people who are duped and are getting targeted with misinformation and are confused and can maybe feel something in their gut that’s going really rotten but they’re not sure what to do about it. It’s a disempowering kind of feeling,” he says.

While all of his songs come from a personal place, he insists he’s a private person. “My hope is that people can relate the tunes to their own life,” he says. To further that goal, he paid special attention to avoid gendering the lyrics, another change for him.

Stylistically, what makes this album unique in his catalog is the amount of time spent in the studio. Klatt’s previous two records were made in two days each, “in a flurry of worrying about money and time,” he says. “With this record, I made the decision going into it that I was just going to focus on the music and not let anything stop me.”

He assembled a studio band with John James Tourville on electric guitar and pedal steel, Casey McDonough on bass, and Alex Hall drums and piano. They recorded at Hall’s Reliable Recorders in Chicago, where Hall also wore the engineer hat. “He’s a genius. I’m convinced of it. Very talented man,” Klatt says.

While in the studio, the guys were “vibing through the songs, figuring out what they want to be, what we can get away with,” he says. “We did it kind of old-school. We figured stuff out as we were recording it. That was really fun, just exploring with the band and trying out new things.” They even recorded more than one version of some of the songs in the name of experimentation.

To pay for the recording of the album, Klatt picked up a job at a musician friend’s fabrication shop in northeast Minneapolis. “He ended up teaching me how to weld. I took to it really quickly. I’ve been making a bunch of strange metal structures over there over the last year,” Klatt says. The most recent job he completed was making metal frames and a dance floor for the First Avenue exhibit at the History Center.

The fabrication shop also served as the location for Klatt’s music video “Prove My Love,” in which Klatt and local visual artist Alberta Mirais dance in the dark with flashlights. “It was like a weird dream,” he says of the set. “We had a hazer going. It was lit very beautifully and so different than the fluorescent lights of the hum-drum of the day-to-day.”

Klatt has come a long way from his humble start in the music industry. A mostly self-taught guitar player, he had bands as a high school student in Woodbury, but it wasn’t until he moved to Minneapolis for college that he got deep into the local music scene. He’d go see Charlie Parr or Spider John Koerner play to learn guitar technique. He also made friends with fellow musicians like Page Burkum and Jack Torrey of the Cactus Blossoms. “We’d get together and play guitars and trade songs. It was very inspiring. I felt like I’d found my people for the first time,” he says.

He often called in sick to his job at UPS to busk in the skyways. “I really just wanted to play music. I just loved it and I was probably testing the waters to see if it was a viable money-making thing. Aside from that, it was mostly just fun,” he says.

Klatt soon dropped out of his cultural studies program and took off for San Francisco, where he crashed on couches and busked on Haight Street. Soon Minnesota called him home, though. “I realized I hadn’t looked in the moon in like two months,” he says. “San Francisco is a big concrete jungle and I’m kind of a country boy at heart.”

Minnesota is where his friends, family, and fan base are, too. When he plays around the state, people often come up to him after the show and share how meaningful his music is to them. Once, he played “It Ain’t the Same,” the title track off the new album which is about living with the absence of someone special, at Papa Charlie’s in Lutsen. Afterwards, audience members approached him and shared that the song resonated with them because a skiing buddy of theirs had died recently.

“That’s the stuff that really will keep me going, more than getting a big hit. I’m more interested in affecting people, positively,” Klatt says. “I hope these songs can be a positive part of people’s lives, something that can help people get through hard times.”

Originally published on City Pages in October of 2019.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Erica Rivera Interview MaLLy


Erica Rivera spoke to hip-hop artist MaLLy about getting sober, discovering meditation, and the effect his family has had on his new album, The Journey to a Smile. Read the Q&A on City Pages here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Erica Rivera Interviews Davina and the Vagabonds


Erica Rivera spoke to Davina Sowers, founder of Davina and the Vagabonds, about recovering from drug addiction, caring for her mental health, and how her husband contributed to her new album Sugar Drops. Read the piece in the July 31, 2019 issue of City Pages or online here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Erica Rivera Interviews Ryan Traster (Again!)


Erica Rivera spoke to singer-songwriter Ryan Traster about how a vocal chord injury inspired his new sound. Read the piece in the July 3, 2019 issue of City Pages or online here.

Rivera also interviewed Traster in 2014 for Vita.mn. You can read that Q&A here.