Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 14: Adam Gnade)

Adam Gnade

ADAM GNADE (pronounced “guh nah dee”) lives on the Ruby Teeth Homestead and writes a series of novels and audio cassettes of prose that share characters and plotlines in the name of creating a fictional universe that will serve as a “history of the time in which I lived.” His latest book, Float Me Away, Floodwaters, was issued on January 5, 2021, as a collaborative release by Justin Pearson’s (the Locust, Dead Cross, Planet B) record label Three One G and Bread & Roses Press. Gnade also owns and operates Hello America Stereo Cassette, a record label releasing audio recordings of authors’ stories, poems, and books, some backed by music, others not. The label, launched in January 2021, recently celebrated its first release: a tape of poems by Jared Thomas Friend (backed by music from Margot Erlandson and Death Ribbons).

My current favorite author is: Roberto Bolaño. Dynamo and fireball. I’ve read all his books. Makes me glad to be doing what I do. So much of life is us feeling shitty about what we do and how we do it, but Bolaño is pure affirmation for me. His work tells me, “What you are doing is the right thing.” Heavy second place seven-way tie and high ranking in the Official Adam Gnade Hall of Fame of Good Works to Jesmyn Ward, Conor Oberst, Sandra Cisneros, Ocean Vuong, John Doe and Exene from the band X (single entry), Will Oldham, and the mighty Louise Erdrich.

My current favorite films are: Frances Ha and 20th Century Women. Someday I will write a book that good then promptly quit, move back home to California, live on the beach, and sleep all day like a dog.

My current favorite television show is: the view outside my window in the morning when it’s raining.

My current favorite song is: Townes Van Zandt’s live version of “Colorado Girl,” which segues beautifully into a partial cover of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.” Townes has been a steady rider for a while. He and I have been through some shit together this year. I love a lot of music, but it always comes back to that song. 

My current favorite album is: The Basement Tapes [Bob Dylan and The Band]. It’s very late at night here in the country and you can do things like listen to The Basement Tapes extremely loud in the pre-dawn hours when you live like this.

My current state of mind is: hurricane… or electrical storm.

My current chemical romance involves: having a hard time being around most people. I used to think I had anxiety, but I really just don’t like the majority of humanity. Trying very diligently to get over this. I want to be a nice, friendly, social person because rugged individualism’s a farce and we’re nothing without help and fellowship. Still, it’s a struggle. Unfortunately, living rural feeds that particular fire because I can isolate myself for large chunks of time. I used to be fine with that, but I’d rather chill the fuck out and engage with people. I’ll get there. Maybe.

My current favorite phrase is: “Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.” Say it out loud. Feels good, doesn’t it? Smooth like an English cream ale. I read it this year and liked it quite a lot, but maybe the title and his name are the best poetry of the whole thing.

My current mode of transportation is: a very dark blue, beat-to-shit 2004 Scion shaped like a baker’s truck with a shrine to Bruce Springsteen on the dash left over from last year’s tour with the good Nate Perkins. It will die soon and that is how it must be, as all old cars pass eventually, as do all things etc. etc. When it dies I will shoot its ashes to the moon.

My current favorite fast food item is: almond butter.

My current workout routine consists of: living rural. You struggle physically with the natural world when you live out in the country, and that’s better than any gym. Of course, there’s a difference between hard things that build you up and hard things that tear you down. You either get infinitely strong or old before your time. You have to be smart about it.

My current regrettable decision involves: every time I’ve ever bragged, because it often turns around on me. If there’s one thing to learn from the Odyssey—don’t boast to the Gods or you’ll get your ass handed to you. I have a big mouth and I’m kind of an asshole, but I’m trying to learn that silence is a sound too, or maybe a statement.

My current hopes and dreams are: to keep writing full gale and to spend as much time as I’m able with the very small group of people I like. That’s my meaning of life, the reason I’m still here and not in the ground. The rest feels insubstantial or at least inconsequential.

My current projects/hobbies include: …writing and managing the business side of my books takes up all of my time. I have no other job or hobbies and it’s all I want to do. I’m beyond happy to be doing this. On a good year I tour a lot, but that’s not an option at the moment, so I write and I plan and I work. I also collect coins from ancient Rome, and dinosaur teeth. Is a collection a hobby? If it is, mark it down.


Adam Gnade can be found online at

Brian Alan Ellis runs House of Vlad Press, and is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Fanzine, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, and Yes Poetry, among other places. He lives in Florida.

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