Under the banner of the Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air), Julian Koster has assembled an unprecedented mixed-medium project consisting of a beloved podcast and zany live show featuring Koster's orchestral indie pop group The Music Tapes and narrated from the perspective of an imaginative janitor of the Eiffel Tower. A member of the ersatz Elephant Six collective, creator Koster has performed with Neutral Milk Hotel and Black Swan Network in addition to releasing music under his own name. Before his orbiting troupe touches down in Brooklyn Bazaar June 4, AdHoc caught the multi-talented Koster for a glimpse into his giddy world.
AdHoc: We’re really excited for the show—it’s pretty unlike anything we’ve hosted before. Could you tell us a little about the story behind the podcast?
Julian Koster: Sure, in the podcast, a janitor of the Eiffel Tower is our hero—if you can use that word in relation to him. But you don’t need to know a thing about the podcast or ever have heard it to see the live show—it’s kind of a show in its own right, designed for someone who’s just walking in the door.
And in that show, the janitor is actually hired to clean that night’s venue, so the janitor’s been hired to clean the Brooklyn Bazaar, and he’s there alone, in the middle of the night, cleaning—or trying to clean—or cleaning badly. And he’s imagining the stage that’s there and [that] the lights are there, and he’s imagining putting on a show he’s done all his life since he was a kid. He’s imagining an audience, and that’s you. And so, when you walk in the door, you’re walking into the Brooklyn Bazaar all empty, being cleaned and worked on, and you’re in his imagination. So it’s almost sort of like walking into a circus in a janitor’s imagination in the middle of the night and none of it’s actually happening—but it is happening, all over the Brooklyn Bazaar.