Root Blog

Q&A – Jonathan Sielaff

1. Analog or Digital?
I love knobs and buttons. I love structures imposed by limitations. I
love the objects, the parts and pieces that you can physically
assemble in various configurations. I love constant, organic variation
and unpredictability.
I love cheap, accessible technology that levels the playing field. I
love economical, extraordinarily compact storage for information and
media. I love my iPhone (most of the time).

2. What time did you wake up today?
Around 4:30am and then again at 6:50am.

3. Last thing you read?
Synchronicity by F. David Peat and an article in Saveur on Swedish
food culture. I’m always reading a couple of really different things
at the same time so that I can switch if I’m not in the headspace for
one or the other.

4. Whats your first memory?
My first clear memory is of eating cherry pie at my grandparent’s
restaurant in North Carolina and being taken back to the kitchen to
see the chef’s Smurf collection.

5. Tea Or Coffee?
Both. I spent eight years working in the tea world and the last four
in the coffee world. My apartment is full of brewing devices.

6. Last thing you cooked?
Broccoli rabe with garlic, sherry and pecorino romano, sweet pea
risotto, and salmon baked with lemon and olive oil in parchment paper.

7. If you’re reborn who or what would you like to be?
A tree.

8. What inspires you?
Lots of things… I would say that being in nature is massive for me.
That’s one of the reasons why I live where I do. The Oregon coast
blows my mind every time I go out there. It’s my church.

9. Last record you played?
A Orillas del Magdalena – Coastal Cumbias from Colombia’s Disco
Fuentes (Domino Sound 024)

10. Favorite piece of musical equipment?
My bass clarinet. A 1960’s Selmer Series 9 I inherited from my
grandfather. I’ve played a lot of nice clarinets, but that one feels
like an extension of my body. It’s part of me now.

11. Last movie you saw?
Bill Cunningham New York

12. Who do you love?
My wife Heather. I love a lot of people, but no one as much as her.

13. Do you have any pets?
Two cats. Brothers. Hoover and Britches.

14. Are you useful?
Depends on who you ask.

15. Biggest fear?
Being alone. I know I should be comfortable with it, but I grew up in
a massive family and have lived with people I love my whole life. It’s
hard for me to enjoy anything thoroughly unless I have someone to
share it with.

16. What do you value the most?
Relationships. See above.

17. Famous last words?
I’ll try anything once.

Jonathan Sielaff lives with his lady (who runs the amazing OLO Fragrance) in Portland, Oregon, is one half of Golden Retriever (whose latest LP ‘Light Cones’ is still available), and can often be found expounding upon bean variants and brewing methods.

  1. pete swans on February 1st, 2012


    Seeing that nature makes me homesick..

    I think I’m hallucinating the smell of a good cup of coffee after that one.

  2. weis on February 4th, 2012

    great photo. Any recommendations on nature day-trips from Portland? I’ll be there in May.

  3. John on February 4th, 2012

    How about best similar places outside of SF and Sonoma area?

  4. jonathan on February 7th, 2012


    some favorite coastal day-trips:
    Cape Lookout (where that picture was taken)
    Ecola State Park (just north of Cannon Beach)
    Cape Meares
    Oswald West

    there are so many though. and the gorge is full of amazing places. give me a call when you get into town.

  5. ryer on February 15th, 2012

    @Jonathan, nice to see you get a solo interview. Picked up the newest LP at mississippi last time I was down – loving it.

    Totally second Cape Lookout. I have had some really bewitching hikes there on windy, foggy days.
    As far as the gorge, if you only have time to do one hike in gorge, I recommend Eagle Creek. Totally epic, but it does get busy. The crowds do usually thin out after the first couple miles, then you can just go and go. Another killer hike to consider in the gorge that is much less crowded is Horse Tail Falls. If you are feeling super adventurous you can continue from Horse Tail and there is a twelve mile loop that takes you to the back side of Multnomah Falls. Lots of cool terrain that is always changing and very very quiet usually.

  6. weis on February 20th, 2012

    thanks guys, we just booked a yurt at Cape Lookout! We’ve got a three-year old in tow so our hikes will be slightly mild.