Aces Interview: Steven Severin

The interview series I started last month during 30Fresh has resonated so well with readers that I've decided to extend the series indefinitely! From now on, these interviews will be a look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world. To see all of these interviews, look for the Aces tag.

Today I have the honor of sharing with you a Seattle's "Rainmaker." Meet Steven Severin!

If you've ever enjoyed a show or a night out on Capitol Hill (and probably many other places in the city), most likely Steven Severin had something to do with it. His Neumos / Barboza / Moe Bar / Pike St. Fish Fry establishments are arguably the heart of Seattle's nightlife, steady beating lively for over 20 years (Severin is also part of the team behind Li'l Woody's.) Certainly that block has come to be the center of activity on the Hill. I've always had indirect connections to Severin - I knew of him but I didn't know him. I figured we'd meet one day at one of his venues or at City Arts Fest, which he also oversaw for the past three years. Funny enough, we meet one sunny Saturday when I'm watching my friend Sara's store, SPUN Sustainable Collective and he stops into Porchlight Coffee next door for his usual coffee & chat with Porchlight owner Zack Bolotin. As fellow Seattle die-hards and consistent supporters of local small businesses, I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. I loved getting to know Steven through this short interview, and hope you enjoy too:

What's on your playlist right now?

My playlist is kind of funny actually. There's two ways that I generally listen to music. When I'm walking around  (I walk pretty much everywhere), I listen to what's on my iTunes. I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to listen to every track in alphabetical order. I'm currently in the G's. The last 5 tracks were: Erykah Badu, The Weeknd, Fucked Up, Charles Bradley, and The Black Keys. What's coming up is: William Elliot Whitmore, Kanye, My Morning Jacket, Black Flag, and The Maldives.

The other thing I do is listen to everything new on Spotify. If I listen to it at least twice, then I'll buy it. Right now that's Shuggie Otis, Alice Russell, Melvins, Daughter, and Trinidad James. I'm about to go on a Slayer marathon as I just found out that Jeff Hanneman passed away yesterday. I'm crushed. I've seen them more times than almost any band. The Melvins, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Hush Harbour are up there with having seen 25+ times too.

Describe your style.

My style is "the sneakers always match the shirts."  Other folks may not think it's matching, but my color scheme can be different than others. My wife thinks I'm colorblind. Probably am a little bit. I think pink and green is a great color combo. Don't you?

Who inspires you?

Inspiration is a funny thing to me. I know this is kind of cliche to say, but the Dalai Lama inspires me. I have a book called the Path to Tranquility which gives you a small way to think about the world or yourself every day. I read it each day and try and keep that idea in mind. I struggle to be a better person every single day. I'm a lot better than I used to be, but in this world it's tough. Lots of hate out there. I do just do my best to avoid that shit.

One person that I do look up to in this city is Tim Keck, publisher of The Stranger.

I was at a Stranger Holiday party and then writer Christopher Frizzelle said that Tim was the guy that he hopes he grows up to be. I thought he was joking and I started to defend Tim when I found out he was serious, I said I do too. If you don't know the man, he's one of the best.


What are you reading? 

As far as books, let's see: I just finished Casual Vacancy a week or so a go which was pretty good. Just started the Girl who Played with Fire, the second in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I'm totally hooked. I'm also reading the new book by the guy who wrote The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga.)  Really good book. My favorite authors right now are Gary Shtyengart and Murakami. I guess I can't really get enough of Dave Eggers either. What is the What was kind of a life changing book for me. I love to read. Wish I had more time for it.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

I'm excited about having more time. I've recently hired a new assistant, which is giving me more time to have fun. I stopped doing City Arts Fest this year after 3 years, which is kind of awesome even though a little sad. It was basically a full-time job that I did while I have all my other day and night jobs. I am really focusing on less work and more fun. Of course, there's always a couple irons in the fire with consulting etc., but trying not to take on any more 40 hour a week gigs. Ha ha.

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.