An Interview with 99PI's Avery Trufelman

May 15, 2020

Earlier this week, 99PI launched the highly anticipated second season of the fashion podcast Articles of Interest. This season is all about luxury, glamour, and the ways we signal success through how we dress.

At a time when fashion is constrained to the bounding box of a Zoom screen, we caught up with the show's creator Avery Trufelman on the day she remote-launched season two of Articles to talk about what luxury means during social isolation. Avery dressed for the occasion in a matching mustard suit, and spoke to On Air Fest Producer Jemma Brown about the experience.

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On Air Fest:
This is a big week for you. The second season of the show you created, Articles of Interest, dropped May 12th. You’ve been working on this show behind the scenes for months. Congratulations on finally getting to share this work with the world. How does it feel to release it?

Avery Trufelman:
Ah thank you so much! Honestly I’m always a bit miserable and terrified and exhilarated at the same time. This season feels much better than last. I was like, inconsolable when season one came out. I immediately hated it and wanted to change everything about it. Now I think I finally have a bit more confidence. I’m currently waiting for Roman [Mars] to post it and I worry I’m going to bite all my nails off. I just want to get it over with!

OAF:
The theme this season is luxury. Arguably these are not very luxurious times (though perhaps they are? Open to your rebuttal), how has it been working on a show about this topic during an epidemic?

AT:
Hahaha fair point! I mean, our idea of what luxury is has totally changed. Who would have thought that we would pay a premium on toilet paper and Purell? It just kind of shows how wiley and odd our systems of value are. And in a weird way, traditional luxuries- the kind I’ll be talking about in the show- remain as strange and silly and pleasurable as they’ve ever been. Why do we pay a premium on sparkly rocks? You know? This moment actually provides the right perspective for these stories. They’re about engaging with the histories and traditions of these luxuries in a curious way. It’s a bit of escapism and a bit of self interrogation at the same time.

OAF:
You’re in lockdown in Oakland currently, have you been able to participate in any little (or big) luxuries while at home?


AT:

Oh man. I mean. The extraordinarily glamorous Rachel Syme is the queen of baths and she inspired me to start taking baths too. Which is really luxurious and makes me feel kind of guilty here in California. I swear I don’t do it a lot! I’ve also been trying to keep fresh flowers in my apartment, to remind me that it’s spring outside. But the best luxury- and this is super corny- has been being able to work on this show. And having the incredible minds at 99% Invisible to work with. That’s been the buoyant thing in my life right now.


OAF:

Sidebar here, what do you think is the most luxurious word for luxury? I.e. extravagance, indulgence, lavish?


AT:

Any variation of the word decadence!


OAF:

Can listening be luxurious?


AT:

Oh for sure! That’s such a great question. I think there’s nothing more luxurious than lying on the floor and listening to something- a podcast, a speech, a song, an album- you really love. If you’re feeling extra decadent- putting something on repeat.


OAF:

You’re a podcast producer but you’re also a community builder. After the first season of Articles of Interest, you produced a fashion show bringing together Bay Area based emerging designers to make clothes inspired by the episodes. How are you participating in community now while staying physically isolated?


AT:

Oh thank you so much! That’s so kind of you to say and it's certainly something I aspire to. I’m always in awe of the people around me, and I love having excuses to work with my friends- whether that’s Rhae Royal, my friend who scores the episodes so beautifully, or finding ways to interview people I love and respect and include them in the stories themselves. I mean, these days I suppose I’m trying to do what we’re all doing- calling people and donating where I can. But. Man. I really wish I could party right now. I’m glad I got to see so many people I love at On Air Fest, on the last weekend in the world.


OAF:

Thank you for this show and for your contribution to the audio community. We can’t wait to listen.

"There’s nothing more luxurious than lying on the floor and listening to something you really love."

Avery Trufelman