HIPSTERS DOOM OVER PORTLAND : MUSCLE & MARROW – THE HUMAN CRY

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By DEMETRIA PHLORENTIA

Bloody hipsters. Neo-Goth poseurs. Those were the words that came to mind when I first visited MUSCLE & MARROW‘s Facebook page. With her coal-lined sockets and asymmetrical-cut Victorian style cloak, it is easy to mistake KIRA CLARK for one of them models from a New Romantic-themed fashion shoot. KEITH McGRAW does not fare any better. All Ginsberg glasses, nicely trimmed beard and sleeked back hair, he is the ultimate portrait of the garden-variety normcore dork you might find shopping at GAP. But looks can be deceiving, or so they say. If I haven’t been held at virtual gunpoint by chief editor of DOOMED & STONED to relish their latest offering, THE HUMAN CRY, I would never have discovered how capable this demonic duo is, at administering their own distinctive dose of HIPSTER DOOM to Portland’s burgeoning metal scene.

With Kira on vocals and guitar and Keith on drums, Muscle & Marrow combines live instrumentation and recorded samples, weaving together a perplexing tapestry of harrowing sounds eliciting a range of emotions from pity to disgust.

Be prepared to take a trip to the darkest recesses of the human psyche and back again as your transcontinental correspondent runs you through the highlights of this offering.


Like Melissa Auf Der Maur singing in A Perfect Circle, Help Me is the perfect opener to the record. Driven by very precise alternative metal-like polyrhythmic drumming from Keith, Kira’s jagged, discordant guitar riffs soon descends upon the pulsating mix. Kira’s vocals ranges from a deranged, middle register scowl on the verses before rising into tremulously helpless howls of “Help Me’s” on the choruses.


Shimmery guitar chords take an airy backseat as Kira delivers her languidly slurred lines; as maudlin as a diseased Lolita doll with a mouth full of broken teeth. With a ear piercingly shrill climax complete with hollow, fuzzed out guitars and soul-crushing thuds, Scissors cathartically channels the self hate and pity in every self-abuser like a Shannon Wright record.


With an invisible pulse that’s more imagined than felt, Madness is perhaps the quietest song on The Human Cry to showcase Kira’s astounding versatility as a vocalist. Sans instruments, Kira’s intimate phrases sweeps over swirling sonic landscapes, like the wind shifting through sand dunes on the Saharan plains. A psychotic gem of a ballad in its arrestingly beatiful, understated charm.


Keith keeps a slow, ritualistic plod as Kira’s terse, syncopated chants invokes the spirits of fire side ghouls. Employing eerie guitar drones atypical of dark wave pioneers Dead Can Dance, this closing number captures the faux-pagan theatricality of Apokalypsis-era Chelsea Wolfe.

Remaining “genre undefined” is perhaps the wisest move for this eclectic pair of outsiders. One can never be too sure that hipster-like aesthetic sensibilities are almost always going to rub Portland’s somewhat purist bunch of boorish sludgeheads the wrong way. But hey, hep cred ain’t easy to bag either. If you think trigger-happy indie pop scenesters are going to consume their brand of atmospheric, off kilter doom – think again.

An email interview with Kira Clark

“Hey Kira, just what the fuck are you, a Hipster or a Metalhead?” Heck, I was so close to it – thankfully, I somehow mustered enough sense to refrain from throwing that stupid question in the mix. Pfft, as if they give a damn about petty, segregationist scene politics. Not them, the mighty, magical M&M. They’ll keep playing their hipster doom, conquer the hearts of hipsters, metalheads and every living being in between, and leave you war pigs to battle it out.

Hi Kira! How would you like it if I call you guys The White Stripes of Doom? Hey, have you guys ever been mistaken for siblings?
Hello! We’ve nave never been mistaken for siblings, but we were just talking the other day about how we never got into The White Stripes. Sorry to disappoint on the first question!

What’s the typical M&M creative process like? What comes first – the vocal melodies or the riffs / rhythm section, or do they all fall into place together very much like channeling and automatic writing?

With the Human Cry the guitar and vocals always came first followed by drums followed by samples. That record was very organic and singer/songwriter in terms of the process. With the record we’re currently working on it’s totally different. It’s a much more cerebral, almost abstract process. Usually I’ll come up with a very tiny guitar part or vocal loop and then we’ll get it onto the computer as quickly as possible. We’ll work off that very rough demo via the computer and nail down samples and vocal parts followed lastly by live drums. The samples and vocal layering has become much more important so the process is quite different.

Describe your live set up. I understand that you guys run pre-recorded samples through the PA, doesn’t that mean that each song has to be perfectly timed? Isn’t that a nightmare for Keith (do you have any guide track hooked up to your headphones or something?)

It’s mysterious isn’t it? We’re just two people and with the complexity/density of the world we want to create there is no way around the backing tracks that we use. We could ask people to play and sing the parts live, but this way we retain full creative control and also, we can’t imagine having anyone else in the band, in this strange little world we’ve created.

Describe the recording process for The Human Cry…. Was everything tracked live, or tracked and mixed separately?

The Human Cry was done on tape so everything was done live with the exception of doubling some guitar afterwards. It was fun, but I think we want to be very, very meticulous this time around.

For the songs Madness and the quieter parts of I’m Old, how did you guys track your parts without a pulse, rhythmic guide? 

There was a secret click track in my ear that was very hard for me to get used to at first, but I learned how to simultaneously listen to and ignore it eventually.

So Kira, I know that you write and edit, how about Keith? What does he do for a living? Could you guys tell us a little about your academic background, what you guys studied in school or what sort of formal training you had…

Actually I wait tables. I used to write and edit mostly fiction and poetry for a small press here, but music took over. Waiting tables is the easiest and most flexible way for me to make money. Keith studied composition at Indiana University and is a sound engineer which is how he is able to make these incredible sounds for our songs.

So would you guys say that apart from M&M, you guys are working jobs that you really love?

I definitely don’t “really love” my job. Can one be passionate about Barbecue? Perhaps, but I’m not. I am grateful for my job, but it is purely a mechanism that supports this band. I am looking forward to the day I quit and we tour forever and ever. I think Keith feels similarly. We’ve decided to put any sort of conventional life on hold until we feel like we’ve exhausted this music life. We are fortunate to be able to do this. We are fortunate to be able to make music and art our primary focus and still have a roof over our heads.

So, this music/art project thing which is M&M, I believe it is completely self funded? Do you guys apply for grants or something to keep it going or would you say that your friends in the scene have helped and/or contributed in some way with their craft and expertise?

We’ve occasionally had help from friends with video shoots etc, but we’re at the point where we want to hire people who fit perfectly with our aesthetic. It’s not that we don’t have talented friends, but we want to work with people who just instantly understand and relate to the world we’ve created so we try to save money when we can. We’re lucky in that we have very cheap rent. With the next record however we’re going to include a small chapbook with drawings and poems and I’ve got wonderful friends who are willing to help with that.

So you guys met at the bookstore. I think it’s swell, from book buddies to… musical soulmates? I mean I’m curious, but when did you guys decide that you wanna make music with each other instead of staying book buddies?

Well, Keith was my boyfriend and he was playing keys in a band. Meanwhile I was writing all these sad songs alone in my room and I decided I wanted a drummer. It took some convincing, but here we are. Our musical tastes have changed and evolved together and we influence each other greatly. We’re different enough that we can push each other to places we might not have gone otherwise. I’ll say “listen to this insane woman totally losing her shit” and he’ll say “listen to this brilliant composer making scratchy sounds on strings.”

But yes. Books. Books are the love of my life. Maybe even more than music honestly. I was raised with literature being always very important and I feel the most alive when I’ve read a poem or story that jolts me into being a human again.

Any last words for your listeners?

Never abandon your otherness.

 

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SOUNDS FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD : RADIOMANIAC

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Images courtesy of Radiomaniac

By DEMETRIA PHLORENTIA

With no music label to assist in digital distribution, Russian experimental rockers RADIOMANIAC released their 2nd self-funded LP early last week rather haphazardly. Following the link on their Facebook page where I was taken to a file retrieval server on Vk.com, the process of downloading SYNDROME in its entirety was a little too cheap, fuss-free and painless than the masochist in me would have preferred.

“Can free Art ever be good Art? Don’t you think you guys are giving it away too easily?”, I posed 26 year old frontman YURI CHE, not long after my one-click download of their album was complete. “I don’t know…”, the Uglegorsk native typed rather noncommittally, “nobody ever buys music in Russia… Perhaps only as an act of support…”

As capitalistic consumerism poisons the masses with false promises of substance and quality, the ignorant is not to blame for dismissing SYNDROME as another inferior product in the age of sub-substandard Internet music; where bedroom musicians produce lo-fidelity sounds of questionable taste. After all, if the suburban hipster brat next door only manages to churn out pretentiously uninspiring shit, why should you waste your time and bandwidth on the musical output of a bunch of crass, boorish, working class youths from a backwoods island in the middle of nowhere?

Radiomaniac circa 2012

Radiomaniac live, circa 2012

Radiomaniac first appeared on my radar in late 2012, when then-bassist Yuri messaged me on Facebook to promote 1st Transmission, their debut EP. Obliging him by going through two videos of their live performances, I was spellbound. While You’re On Air sounded like an industrial clone of Bauhaus and with its clicky double bass drums and scratchy, hair-raising guitars, It had me floored with it’s inventive synthesis of electronic samples with live instrumentation. This band will go far, I thought. I was getting goosebumps from their two and a half minute odes to existentialism, but hey, is that creepy looking bass player ever going to open his mouth and sing or not? Intrigued, as much as I was intimidated by this pale (no pun intended) likeness of a Pan-Asian Ian Curtis, I nonetheless started talking art to Yuri on Facebook. This whole feature, I would say, is a compilation of all our exchanges, as far as the written word can go…

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Yuri Che, scary looking bass player, circa 2012

I. CONCEPTION : FORMATION

“I see nothing offensive in combination of the words ‘low lives’ about me or our band, cause it’s true. We really are somewhat ‘low live’ musicians.”
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A room with a view : Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in Winter

Hailing from Sakhalin, a coal-rich archipelago tucked amidst the Eastern coast of Russia, the volatile quality of Radiomaniac’s music could perhaps be traced back to the island’s troubled history and industrial aspirations.

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Yuri Che

Spearheaded by the 3rd generation spawn of a WWII Korean slave and a Russian schoolteacher, Yuri Che’s brooding air and mixed ancestry is many a times a dead ringer for Russian rock legend Viktor Tsoi. A shining example of a true blue proletarian rocker, this theatrical college graduate administers physical training to elementary grade students on his days off from the Sakhalin Puppet Theatre. His musical ambitions however, were ignited by a long time friend and collaborator, ANDREY ROZHKO.

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Andrey Rozhko

“Radiomaniac began when two young people met in the night. They were drinking coffee, smoking, talking, listening..talking again.. These two people were none other than our old bass player, Andrey Rozhko, and I. We wanted to gather a band that plays psychedelic music full of energy, a band that mixes noise and melody. We had a rule: we must experiment. I like it when I don’t know what sound, style, mood our next work will take on next. It intrigues me.”

Despite Rozhko’s recent departure from the band, the duo nonetheless managed to assemble a permanent line up of like-minded collaborators in the short span of two years. The first two being ANDREY TRYASTSIN and VLADIMIR GORBACHEV.

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Andrey Tryastsin

Lending complex Math Rock-esque polyrhythms to the tunes of Radiomaniac, this 22 year old walking metronome has a knack for dicing and doubling time on command. Many might tell Andrey that abandoning his last semester of Japanese studies at the Sakhalin State University, despite his stellar grades, to tour the Mainland with his bandmates, is sheer foolishness. Perhaps, only time can tell if Andrey will end up a naive youth chasing childish dreams.

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Vladimir Gorbachev

With his gangly frame and gaunt cheekbones, I have always thought of 23 year old Vladimir Gorbachev as a young David Bowie Doppelganger. Naming the glam rock god as one of his chief influences, it is highly likely that those spacey, discordant drones and jagged, punchy riffs you hear were once conceived in Vladimir’s head.

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Danil Khazhainov

If Vladimir is weed, 22 year old DANIL KHAZHAINOV is unmistakably speed. Touted by Yuri as “the most technically competent amongst us all”, Radiomaniac’s 2nd guitarist adds sonic contrast to the band’s sound by doubling Vladimir up with his slinky licks and sleek lead lines.

Egor Rychkov

Egor Rychkov

Replacing former bass player Andrey Rozhko, the latest addition to Radiomaniac is none other than 22 year old Egor Rychkov. No stranger to the music scene, Egor was fronting a cover band in one of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk’s many pubs before he was invited to join the quartet.

II.  INCUBATION : STYLE & METHODOLOGY

“They say we are a synthesis of different musical styles, genre eclecticism…”
Radiomaniac, from left to right : Vladimir Gorbachev,

Radiomaniac, from left to right: Vladimir Gorbachev, Danil Khazhainov, Andrey Tryastsin and Yuri Che

Blending the styles of Post Rock, Psychedelia, Post Punk, Noise, Shoe Gaze, Industrial and dare I say Doom Metal into a perplexing kaleidoscape of haunting melodies amidst harsh dissonances, frenetic beats and industrial synthetics, the band would describe their sound as:

“As if Thom Yorke, Thurston Moore, Dominic Aitchison and Stephen Morris got together and played a 65 days of Static tribute gig with a cover of Nirvana done in the spirit of Nine Inch Nails.”

Multifarious influences aside, it will perhaps come as no surprise that Radiomaniac is no stickler for system when it comes to the creative process. Yuri elaborates:

We strive to create our material in a number of different approaches.
Way #1: Somebody has an idea or rough draft. We work on the different parts and finalize the structure together.
Way #2: Somebody has a finished song that does not require additional work and then each of us just try to play with the different tone and timbre of it, by using different effects.
Way #3: We jam and improvise. Sometimes we get something worthwhile, sometimes we don’t.

Each member of the band has responsibilities beyond just playing his instrument. For example Andrey, the drummer might be in charge of recording and mixing a song, while one of our guitarists, say Danil, might select suitable electronic samples while another guitarist, perhaps Vladimir, invents a title and come up with the cover artwork. However, nothing is fixed, sometimes we choose different responsibilities as long as it feels right…”

If productivity is the result of their chaotic operational style, perhaps I could confirm my hypothesis of Order being the death of Creativity.

Following Radiomaniac through 2 instrumental EPs (1st Transmission & 2nd Transmission) and their debut instrumental LP (Antenna Theory), I was pleasantly stoked to discover the versatility of Yuri as a vocalist in their latest offering. Delivering in a variety of tones – from deadpan lower register mumblings to pitch-perfect emotive wailings on Syndrome, Yuri takes on his new role with effortless ease. He describes the transition in following words:

“It was a natural progression, I guess, and mutual decision made by all of us. We decided our experiments in instrumental music are finished. We have tried what we wanted and gained a valuable experience from them. A band has to keep developing. It is boring for us to produce the same thing over and over again. Instrumental was just one of phases of Radiomaniac’s development…Now it is time for something new.”

 

III. KEEPIN’ THE GAZE ALIVE – SYNDROME : PRODUCTION

“Yes, when necessity calls, we must resort to cunning ways to keep production costs down.”
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With a stash of half-baked musical ideas and unfinalized song structures, the plucky members of Radiomaniac got cracking in February this year.

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Armed with just a Macbook Pro, the band rented a rehearsal space, and miked separate instruments into multiple tracks on a pirated version of Logic Pro.

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A miked up guitar amp.

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To subsist, the members held day jobs while huddling in the studio for their nightly recording sessions.

Finishing the final mix in July, chief engineer Andrey Tryastsin concludes:

“Estimated budget was somewhere about 15 000 rubles, or just about 500 in American dollars. Everything was recorded at rehearsal point, then mixed at home with my laptop in Logic Pro, and mastered at sageaudio.com. The whole process took about 5 months. “


IV. LIVIN’ IT LOW : FROM SAKHALIN TO ST. PETE

“I want to get a job of a cleaner or a loader. Andrey Tryastsin is looking forward to selling hockey gear in a sports equipment shop.”

With the release of what I consider their most promising effort, it seems like these boondock youths are finally chasing their arena dreams with plans to move to the big city. However, relocating to St. Petersburg came at no small price. Revealing the move as the cause of Andrey Rozhko’s split from the band, Yuri waxes sentimental about leaving his long time friend in Sakhalin:

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More than just a bandmate. From left to right : Andrey Tryastsin, Yuri Che and Andrey Rozhko

“It is really a pity, and none of us can say we feel good about it. He was with us since the beginning, the very basis of Radiomaniac. He was more than a bandmate, a worthy friend, a companion. However, he has made the decision with his personal reasons and we understand and respect it.”

Catching up with Yuri this morning, I was happy to hear that he is adjusting well after arriving in St. Pete in less than a week. Having settled in a modest rented apartment, Yuri is hoping to find a job in the next week or so. When asked if he is deciding to knock on the doors of the local theatre, he replies:

“No, I am not looking for a job in the theatre again. If you want to be an actor you have to devote all your life to it. It is almost not possible to be an actor and a musician the same time. How can I combine my musical life and acting?

We need to find jobs that would let us to have a lot of free time and it must not to strain our heads, because our heads will be filled with the rhythms, the melodies, the structures of the songs, musical ideas etc.

We need a fixed schedule, because we must know when we are free to plan our work on the music. I see how people who sit in offices are constantly thinking about their works. They are thinking of their jobs and when they are home they continue to think about finishing their work projects or other paper shit.

Furthermore, because there are many local good qualified workers here in St. Petersburg, so I guess we will all end up working on menial, non-prestigious jobs. And that is good for us, because non-prestigious jobs are just what we need.

I want to get a job of a cleaner or a loader. Andrey Tryastsin is looking forward to selling hockey gear in a sports equipment shop. Perhaps only Danil will find a good job, because he is the best qualified of us all. But there is my one condition: Work must not interfere with our music making.”

With these words reeking of youthful idealism from our protagonist, I close this chapter in the story of Radiomaniac.

It is impossible to know if this pack of mangy underdogs will succeed in exporting the sounds of Sakhalin to the rest of the world or succumb to the pressures of inner city life. Nonetheless, I’d say god luck and good speed for trying.

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LINKS

Radiomaniac on Facebook
Radiomaniac on VK
YouTube
SoundCloud

ARCHIVES

1st Transmission EP – FREE download on archive.org

2nd Transmission EP – FREE download on archive.org

ANTENNA THEORY LP – FREE download

Little Faith (The National cover) single – FREE download

SYNDROME LP – FREE download

 

Unidentified Flying Dreams: The David and The TOD

by DINO PROMETHEUS

Heralding from the decadent west edge of the United States known as Los Angeles lurks a being who donates all of his work to your ears for free on bandcamp, while courageously fronting one-man live shows of his brilliant material.

I’m not sure if it was the mystique of Their Only Dreams that lured me in, or the throwback psychedelic sound minus the ego. If nothing else I saw an artist hiding in plain sight, not getting nearly enough attention. Heady lyrics and psych-pop genius is how I summarize my latest discovery.

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David Lyudmirsky, or TOD, as I like to call him, is the high priest responsible for Their Only Dreams. From what I have experienced (TOD’s entire catalogue from band camp) the man is no one trick pony. You can hear the rich musical styles as they layer, or proceed one another. It is rock sub genre variety at its best. TOD goes from psych-rock to rock n’ soul to garage rock to folk rock. The rock never dissipates, but the wide array of complimentary tones are all over the place. My best description would be a mixtape of the most notable rock cross over giants. From Prince, to Bowie and Iggy, even Zapp & Roger, the influences are there, although never plagiarized.

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with him for weeks via Facebook. Follow the words of this old crow, tell it TOD………

DP: Explain yourself TOD.

TOD: I am hoping that I get to share my music with as many people as possible; live and on recorded formats while I am here in this life making art regardless of an audience or not. I hope the support from an ever growing fan base I am continually working on attracting, even if it is only 1 new fan a day. While sharing my music independently will attract people who get what I am doing and want to help me. A record label that believes in my music , presses records, promotes and distributes them and an agent that wants to make sure I am playing shows and getting paid would be a great accomplishment that I can only hope for. I love making music, I believe I am here to do so and I want to share it with everyone.



DP: Your lyrics are very creative and visceral.  Are you a madman or on really good drugs?

TOD: Im a madman who did really good drugs in the past.

DP: In your words, why do you make your albums available for free downloads?  Do you think making your music free is good karma, or is it a way to get a leg up on people who try make money from their art?

TOD: I make my music available for free download because I want people to hear it, and it works. Only good can come from sharing your gifts. I am not competing with anyone else nor am I concerned how or what they do and what works for them. I am just giving away my art and doing things my way.

DP: What is your creative process?  Or, how do you write and record your music?

TOD: I write lyrics down on a daily basis in my notepad app and collect them. I also write songs in a traditional way sitting down with an acoustic guitar and i usually practice them a few times a week to remember them. Then a couple of times a year I get 3 or 4 weeks to record non stop. I have been playing guitar, bass, drums and synths for years so I just get into a flow of laying down as many groundwork tracks in my playing style that are good enough to build on.
Recording is like painting to me , I just step back and look at my instruments and listen back to  what I have been recording and keep going until I am satisfied. The latest thing I am working on, which is the 5th album, has already taken 2 of these blocks of time and I am not even finished yet.

DP: What started your conquest into music?
TOD: I guess I blew my own mind early on jamming with people and my initial foray into home recording by myself.   I felt that if I could do that to myself and with the people I was playing music with, I could probably share it with more people and be happy doing that.

There’s no such thing as a lost soul  –  Permission Statement

DP: Who influenced you to make music?

TOD: There are just so many artists and musicians who inspired and probably  influenced me early on. And I don’t want to name just a couple people and have any emphasis put on the because I have been writing my own songs for close to 18 years. In that time I have been developing my own style and not being all too much influenced but continually inspired by things I hear in passing or in deep listening to on a daily basis.

DP: Who is making good music now?

TOD: have you heard of “the humpback whales” ?

DP: Like whale songs? Touché…. What is good music?

TOD: Whatever you like.

DP: Explain your surroundings and how the music scene is in LA.

TOD: Los Angeles is a giant multidimensional mixed media landscape I traverse daily. I was born and raised here , so after all the sunshine and unique LA vibes, it becomes a…… I feel like in my teen years I got into this Australian outback sort of dreamtime with this place. Well there are scenes just like any other town and I have never been a part of any scene. I just book my own shows with whoever I feel like playing with, unless I am asked to hop on a show.

DP: How do your surroundings affect your art?

TOD: I just run wild in my  head and use the scenery as a launching point.  Native plants and trees, geological formations, UFOs, nostalgic neighborhoods, city history, local culture, personal experiences in the city etc…are all important to me in making music.

DP: How do you make a living?

TOD: I’m a superintendent/foreman for a general construction company along with website design.

DP: Some of your favorite films?

TOD: The Graduate, 400 Blows, The Last Temptation of Christ, A Hard Days Night, Velvet Goldmine, Doom Generation & Nowhere, Excalibur, Repo Man, The Quest For Fire, Pump Up The Volume……..

DP: Favorite albums?

TOD: Favorite? Here are some things I have been appreciating recently some of them are lifelong favorites:
Rodriguez – Cold Fact, Kraftwerk – Computer Love, John Maus – a collection of rarities and previously unreleased material, Foxygen – we are the 21st century ambassadors of peace and magic, Love – forever changes, Syd Barrett – complete discography, Eddie Harris – the electrifying eddie harris, An African Psych compilation my friend made me, NEU -1, Brian Jonestown Massacre – revelation, Gremlock – e.p.


DP: Favorite books?

TOD: Return From The Stars, Communion, The Second Ring Of Power, Sirens of Titan, Life, Bowie, Bolan, and the Brooklyn Boy, The Stranger, Just Kids, Childrens First Encyclopedia………

DP: Do you like sports, religion, nature, or existentialism,  or all of the above?

TOD: No,yes,yes and yes

DP: Should the human race be sterilized at birth?

TOD: NO!

DP: Tell me about your song “Wings of Horus.”  What was the driving impetus behind that song?

TOD: “Wings of Horus” was written and recorded a couple weeks after seeing Orange Orb UFO’s with my wife through our bedroom window. There were many eye witnesses that reported seeing them in the same location and it continued a few more times afterwards. It was very inspiring and still is to this day.

DP: How do you think your sound has developed over your albums (on Bandcamp)?

TOD: I began traveling towards a planet of sound and over the course of albums the sound of the planet has become louder ,clearer, and more vibrant the closer I get to the planet.



DP: Where do you hope to be with music and art in the coming years?

TOD: Planet TOD

DP: Describe a typical day of your life.

TOD: I wake up at about 6:30 am get ready and rush off to work. During work which lasts until 4-5 pm I have a lot of time to
myself even though I am working, because my work involves a lot of driving and I have no passengers.  I take advantage of this time by writing a lot of potential lyrics and notes for things. I get home from work and give my attention to my 2 daughters ( 5 year and 22 month old) and my wife. We go to parks usually. After dinner we play some more, then I give the kids a bath and  read stories to the younger one while my wife reads stories to the older one. Once they are asleep I usually watch an hour or 2 of tv with my wife and then I spend a couple hours listening to music with headphones, doing some graphic design and write down an interesting line or 2. Go to bed and hopefully have a cool dream that I can remember.

DP: Describe your name: Their Only Dreams.

TOD: After having a couple of bands and dreams of becoming successful, with them fizzled away, I continued writing and recording with the only person around me at that time which was my wife, then girlfriend. All I ever dreamed of was being able to play my own style of music and sustain a living from it. I just started to feel my age and I knew the weight of my responsibilities would only become heavier. But I never wanted to lose sight of my dream. Since I am lucky enough to not be alone in this life, I made it “their” as in “these are our only dreams”  because the first songs of this project started out as a collaboration. I remember looking at the name after writing it down on a piece of paper and even though it originated from feelings of desperation, it gave me the power and freedom to keep moving forward into a world that I could keep  growing as an artist and musician without any constraints and make my dreams come true. Dreams are really important to me in drawing source material for songs from. The name definitely is not meant to belittle anything about aspirational dreams or any kind of dream. Collectively it also symbolizes everyones dream.

DP: Are you depressed, neurotic, crazy, or do you consider yourself happy?

TOD: All of The Above

DP: Any advice for other artists trying to do something with themselves?

TOD: Give it all the love you have all the time.

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So again, another discovery of seemingly psychotic and brilliant art; and my fantasies of finding a degenerate maniac behind it all have, in the end, exposed a hard working and honest gentleman. Unless you consider UFOs as inspiration to be uncanny. Flying saucers are what my dad would blame when he would expel flatulence when I was a boy in the mountains. That’s the closest I have come to ET. I would do anything to hear my dad fart again. So maybe it’s not bullshit after all. Welcome to planet TOD.

DP – DP

DEPENDENT PRESS RELEASES : DARK KORVETTES & THE SLIDE TO OBLIVION

 

“Welcome home / Home is where you’re dead.”
– Welcome Home

By DEMETRIA PHLORENTIA

So, DINO PROMETHEUS and myself have been assembling a selection of taciturn tunes from now-defunct garage rock outfit DARK KORVETTES. Thanks to a stealthy stranger going by the name of IVAN KLEVLING, here’s it – the entire catalogue of essential Dark Korvettes hits and misses in its spiritless splendour.

Ravaging the tracks which Ivan sent, I was instantly transported to the angsty ethos of the last decade. Guitarist and singer FRENCH McCAIN spits out his cryptic rants like a Know Your Enemy era James Dean Bradfield while rhythm section CHANCE REID clicks his sticks with as much venomous vehemence as Jeremiah Green on The Lonesome Crowded West. From the themes of domestic dysfunction (Welcome Home) to drug abuse (Medication) to personal resignation (87 Octane), Dark Korvettes were more of a recording outfit than live band, that has sadly, failed to ascend the ranks of MTV-sanctioned circa 2005 “Indie Rock”. Whatever. Looks like McCain’s pathetic whines in 87 Octane has become somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ivan Klevling shares with DP how this departed duo has come to suffer the fate of oblivion.

“Nothing ever happens for a reason / Nothing ever happens to me.”
– 87 Octane

DP: Hey Ivan, thanks for those tracks. So tell us, how the fuck were you acquainted with the Dark Korvettes and who the fuck were they?

Ivan: The Dark Korvettes were just two junkies who were better off without each other. I was briefly acquainted with McCain in a Cleveland madhouse. That must be around 2005. Everything was over by then. McCain was just such a nutter, too volatile. Those two brought out the worst in each other.

DP: Ahh I see. French McCain, right? What sort of an asshole name is that?

Ivan: You’re right, French McCain was a total asshole. Grouchiest fuck ever.

“Medication’s gotten me down / Only you want me around.”
– Medication

DP: How about Chance Reid?

Ivan: Never met him. Heard about him from McCain. I’d say you should try to interview Chance Reid but you might be waiting for years.

DP: Oh, is there a way I can get in touch with him?

Ivan: Sure, he’s on Soundcloud as Kevin Strang (https://soundcloud.com/kevinstrang). He lives for females so I’m sure he would get back to you immediately. You’re a chick, right? He’s one giant cock.

DP: Ahh I see, will probably hit the Strangler up sometime. So, where’s McCain right now?

Ivan: No idea, really. Heard from his third cousin, twice removed that he’s in Romania, in prison. Not sure if that was made up to distract his creditors. Last I heard he was knee deep in debt.

DP: Right, thanks for your time Ivan. Now would you tell us who the fuck you are?

Ivan: You’re most welcome. I’m no one significant, a lonely old fuck perhaps, just giving my missing old pal a hand.

 

FRENCH RADIO: THE HYSTERY & THE MYSTERY IN DUBLIN

By Dino Prometheus

FRHEADER

While waiting for a perfect day to introduce our latest discovery at DP, I realized approaching is Friday the 13th accompanied by a full moon.  This happened in 2000 and won’t happen again until 2049.  Some reading this will be dead before before this happens again.  So I feel the perfect time to introduce some of the most harrowing sounds I have found on Sound Cloud.  On this macabre and anxious day I introduce to you FRENCH RADIO, hailing from Dublin, Ireland.

It merely took two noticeable genre pairings and a very confident style of production for myself to become obsessed with this project.  Surf-Rock married with vocals that take me back to the wonderful days of industrial music.  Basically two relics of of sub-genre rock n roll that can be epitomized, but not replicated.  So instead of attempting to sound a certain way, the genius behind French Radio cleverly combines his influences with his own style in a way that leaves one wondering how the hell someone could pull it off. This is what I love about DIY musicians.

 

Unable to reveal the true identity of French Radio, I will guide you through my respect for anonymity. The being behind it all is a working professional and quite the gentleman.

 

DP: Who is French Radio?

 

FR: As French Radio I compose and record everything myself. Occasionally my partner Fiona sings/spoken word on some tracks.

 

DP: I love your distorted vocals.

 

FR: I distort my Vocals mainly out of taste. Usually good music, for me, has either Humour or Intensity/Depth. By distorting the vocal, it ramps up the intensity. I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘singer’ as such anyway. Plus I think my natural voice is a bit too ‘ordinary’.

 

DP: Your sound is pretty distinctive yet not overly produced.  Explain how you achieve your sound.

 

FR: I always look for distinction and character in music. Polished sound seems to make everyone sound the same. I mix things up. Record acoustic instruments alongside electric, try to record stuff in the room with mic rather than fed directly in. More Lo-fi.  I’m limited though, trying to keep the noise level down for neighbours. J I would like to use the  acoustic instruments more often, as these provide character/distinction. I do prefer a simple set up. The more you get into Technology, the more choices there are, so it gets too complicated. On the other hand, I do use whatever I can, and keep an open mind.

 

I like Intensity in music.  Trying for atmosphere, depth and distinction. Minor chords rather than major.

I try to keep it raw, instruments wise. Unfortunately due to space, just drum programming machines. Some tracks like ‘Frisky Strut’ have toy drums I got at a flea market for 5 euro. I Would love to record with a drummer.

As Dock U 1 Star I jam with various drumming. As French Radio, I usually make up a bass line over a drum beat. Add guitar/keys/gadgets then sing over the lyrics, being the only pre-conceived part. Rest is made up on spot. I record really quickly. Usually 1st or 2nd take does it. I can record a song in 30 to 60 mins usually.

DP: Do you play live?  How are you received in your area?

 

FR: I haven’t looked too much into audience really. I do see on Stats on soundcloud its mainly UK , Europe and North America for me.  In Dublin I have a small network of like-minded friends/musicians. I don’t actually play live as French Radio though.  I have a network of people I jam with and play gigs occasionally. I jam with a guy and we put stuff on soundcloud as – For This I Dock U One Star……..

 

DP: Your doing pretty well on Soundcloud?

 

FR: I find Soundcloud a great channel for getting music out there. I don’t have tons of ‘Plays’ or anything, but I enjoy putting stuff up.

 

DP: Explain your surf meets industrial sound.

 

FR: Yeah I love 60’s surf instrumentals, film music- John Barry, Morricone. ‘Lounge’ music as it surfaced in the 90’s (the original stuff). I Love anything quirky/ unusual. Jandek, Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Beat Happening(And all Calvin Johnsons projects- listen to Gravedigger Blues/Red Head Walking- what a voice!).

Industrial-wise – all the Krautrock stuff, Faust, then on into Throbbing Gristle/Psychic T.V.  I love 50’s rockabilly, 60’s garage punk – the philosophy and netherworld of the Cramps has been a huge influence and education.(Crypt Records catalogue)

I could list influences all day.  Pixies, Tom Waits, Joy Division. Ramones. Sun City Girls , Felt………Sonics, Martin Denny, Lee Hazlewood…….Bongwater, Blues Explosion, Beefheart, Cambodia Rocks comp, Tin Hat Trio, Agnes Bernelle,

Young Marble Giants/Weekend, Broadcast,  Scott Walker , the Slits…….

 

DP: Why music?

 

FR: I think Music is not just about the music. It’s the back story, the mystery, the aesthetic, the culture. Eg the Jandek documentary sold me thru the mystery of it. Always influenced by quirky documentaries and films also. E.g. the one about the Toynbee Tiler.  The films of Guy Maddin, David Lynch. Italian Giallos.

 

20140612-234343-85423848.jpg

 

DP: Where did playing music begin for you?

 

FR: Bass guitar was my first instrument. I was 17, listening to Joy Division, Cramps and Ramones. First thing I learned was ‘Transmission’ JD – Peter Hook was a big influence – then onto Ramones – more complicated structures but ultimately those used by Buddy Holly and early rock n roll. So that was my initial schooling.

 

DP: I’m guessing your not a gear snob.

 

FR: To me – gear doesn’t matter. Its whatever I acquire- usually cheap and second hand. I would love a Gretsch like Poison Ivy but I have a cheap Gibson copy . Would love a Rickenbacker bass like Peter Hook, but have a cheap Dean bass. (Got this purely by accident.) Don’t know much about guitars and equipment really.  I use anything from Ocarinas to dulcimers to microkorgs, banjo, thumb piano – anything that will add character/distinction. Its more about the Art and Expression. The Creativity. Instruments are just channels for this really..

DP: What else inspires you?

 

FR: Happy – Cool quirky music. Crazy films, Unusual documentaries. Cycling, Zen Meditation. The company of a good woman. A 3 note guitar solo! – (listen to Cramps – I Aint Nothin; But a Gorehound) Vinyl records ( I buy sell collect vinyl) . Travelling. Literature/Philosophy. Food! Pale Ale!

 

DP: Tools or substances for creativity?

 

FR: Generally, no. I don’t really need anything. I do have the occasional Pale Ale or Guinness.  I would say, Zazen , as a tool, aids my creativity. A clear mind – A blank canvas – no limits.

 

DP: What instruments can you play? Do you read music?

 

FR: Bass guitar, keyboards, melodica, ocarina, violin (one string at a time) banjo, electric and acoustic guitars. Dulcimer, steel drum, kazoo, anything I get my hands on.  Totally play by ear – I see music structure as patterns, almost mathematical.

 

DP: Have you played in many bands?

 

FR: Ive played in about ten bands, none really of any consequence. The Moolah Babies for a year. Guitarist, Brian went on to form Engine Alley. They were big in Ireland in 90’s. Recently I’ve played with Brian again in various live set ups. With the Universal Funk Orchestra (Ireland) . Harvest Ministers at inception but never gigged with them. Would like to get French Radio playin gigs but haven’t got around to organizing it.

 

DP: Do you enjoy working alone like myself?

 

FR: Yeah, easier as a one man entity. I just do whatever tickles my fancy. No agenda, I  just knock em out like sausages in a sausage factory (as a friend put it).

Out with the old dinosaurs – in with the new diy intensity.

 

DP: Tell me about your song Arturo.  Who is the “mexican girl who stole his heart?”

 

FR: Arturo , the song is about Arturo Bandini, fictional character in Ask the Dust by John Fante. This is my favourite novel. Really has a great sense of humour. It was a favourite of Charles Bukowski. In the book, Arturo, a struggling writer falls for Camilla, a Mexican waitress in L.A.  It’s a great little book. Unfortunately they made it into a film that didn’t quite work. With Colin Farrell playing Arturo. Bad casting!

 

DP: Are you depressed?

 

FR: Depression I would have encountered in my pre-Zen days. In fact, a good reason to do Zen I think.  I’m mostly a happy person.  I suppose the success of bland/boring/uninventive music depresses me.  The general hopelessness of some peoples lives.  Not sure how to answer that. Personally I consider myself lucky.

I’ve always had an enquiring mind. interest in philosophy led me to Zen. I read everything Nietzsche wrote before Zen.

 

DP: Explain your musical journey.

 

FR: My journey musically- big bro had the 1st albums I heard. Led Zep/Floyd – that kind of stuff.

Then one day post-punk/new wave was introduced via bro. (J.D,  Talkin Heads The Cure early stuff ) This was life-changing. The diy ethos. Joy Division in particular – was obsessed with their mystery (pre internet) and factory records. There was an epiphany moment, when a friend and I were rockin out to Digital a JD track. My bro had a poster of Fleetwood Mac on the wall. As the sheer intensity of the track took us over we grabbed the poster and ripped it to shreds. That was a real milestone. Out with the old dinosaurs – in with the new diy intensity. Always attracted to intensity.

 

DP: Who are some of your biggest influences?

 

FR: Musically i love TheThe Misfits The Calvin Johnsons. the Hasil Adkins, the Jandeks.

Favourite rockabilly tune – One Hand Loose Charlie Feathers – dynamite!

Have a love/hate thing goin with Nick Cave. Love some of his stuff but also find him a bit pretentious.

Favourite VU song – Sister Ray – I’ve listened that one to death. love JDs version also.

 

Love Art too. fave painter Tony O Malley irish painter. Semi abstract stuff.

As the cramps sang  “don’t know about art but I know what I like”, I see it circlin’ in the swamp on a saturday night.

Love outsider art like Alfred Wallis, Henry Darger. Check out the documentary on Henry Darger. Crazy Stuff.

 

 

Well, like I said, this creature is just as charming as he is clever.  I couldn’t get any dirt on him, or trick him into saying that his chaotic music is a reflection of his uncanny lifestyle.  But don’t get me wrong my low life brethren, he’s no choirboy.  He did, after all, rip up a Fleetwood Mac poster while listening to Joy Division.

 

So enjoy your Friday the 13th, your full moon, your heightened risk of encountering either lunatics or werewolves.  I’ve been attempting to run this feature and it is the moon which inspired me to get it together and share with you the diabolical documentation of French Radio.  Enjoy Dublin’s finest and be safe.

 

DP-DP

BOSTON’S NEW RELIGION: MARIANNE TOILET & THE RUNS WRITE THE NEW BIBLE OF FILTH

by DINO PROMETHEUS

 

“I whack off until a song comes out”

mtr

From the same Massachusetts that brought you the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, we are welcoming MARIANNE TOILET & THE RUNS for this feature.  Straight from the somewhat progressive Boston area, there is a sort of ripple effect I attribute to the executions that took place in Salem.  It is possible that there is a movement happening in the New England area; and it’s also possible that this clan of artists I am about to introduce you to are the shark fin poking out of the macabre waters of Boston’s murky harbor.

Take for example, the anthem “My Christmas Wish.”  The song starts with ballad-like guitar riff that transforms into a trashy, comedic hoe-down.  Most importantly, it’s not about a Christmas list, but a cloudy tale of incest, or self identification. I would prefer to believe the latter. Marianne may be a deviant pervert, but TODD BADOLATO, her puppeteer is pretty decent folk.  Come to find out, Todd just wanted to write a song about love in his own striking manner.

I’ve been watching Todd from a distance for a little while on social media, and he passes my internet standards for a decent human being. Trust me, I’ve done the work for you.  I’ve never seen him or his band perform, but I don’t leave the mountains for that matter.  Marianne looked as sexy as Satan in stilettos on one of the DIY musician sites, so I began following. The guy behind it all, Todd Badolato, is the kind of performer who possesses the credulity of many artistic merits. Much theater background gave birth to a band of turds and a toilet dressed like Divine, spewing runny shit water onto your sensory’s propensities.  But it’s fine, that’s what they are trying to do.   So give his psycho-comic-persona a once-over. (The band is pretty gnarly as well.)

The TB claims that Marianne Toilet & the Runs sound similar to pop doctors Wham!  I don’t doubt that to be true to his ear. But truly the music is a vehicle for a visual performance theatre mixed with taboo comedy.  Fans of The Dead Milkmen, Ween or 90’s retro should do just fine decoding their transcendence to sound.  Where does MTR fit into today’s music onslaught?  I prefer artists that don’t, so who really cares?  Point is, they are for sure standing out amongst the banality.

Let us hear from demonic duo, Todd & Marianne.

 

DP: Todd, please explain just what the hell you think you’re doing.

TB: My material is an exploration in sexual humor (which in my opinion is the only true thing that connects all demographics of people in the world. Born from sex, live for sex, we are a sex. 

 DP: How does that go over, especially in drag?

 TB: The fact that people are opposed to my music or my sense of humor is more of an insult to them than to me. It is a sign they fear their on truths, their own desires, and they are terrified to be open to their own wants and the wants of others.

 Marianne Toilet and The Runs lives to make people laugh, to have fun, and to embrace the hilarity of human folly. We are pioneers picking up what Andrew Dice Clay, The Jerky Boys, 2 Live Crew, Richard Pryor, and many more have left to carry on.

marianne

Humans probably shouldn’t be allowed here.

DP: What’s your opinion on using sex-to-sell?

TB: In my opinion there is nothing at all wrong with having the ability to look one’s self in the mirror and find an uncontrollable urge to masturbate right then and there.  Nobody

should be afraid to be who they are and to know how sexy they are for who they are.

DP: Now explain to me these “Runs.”  Do they give you a rash?

TB: The Runs are everything to me. I don’t want this to be a one man show, I want a collective spectacle. Cami Traumatic (bassist) and Spinabifa,Travis, (lead guitarist) are integral to my work. We’re training our new drummer Jamie Dragin (nickname to follow) and I can tell she is going to also redefine Marianne Toilet and The Runs.

DP: Are you single?

TB: Well, many people have tried to exorcise me but every time they try they end up discovering my godliness. No one can resist the Toilet!  I have my guitar. She’s always hot to play and desperate to get it on!

DP: Biggest influences, GO!

TB:  The Who, Brian Eno, Ministry, The Tiger Lillies, Skafish, Jane’s Addiction, The Misfits, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Emo Philips, Judy Tenuda, Andrew Dice Clay GWAR, The Wet Spots.

 DP: Marianne, are you in there?

 TB: I like to think of Marianne as a Diva Clown. Most of comedy tends to live in humiliation and mockery. Drag Queens though somehow have the power to be very funny and flattering. They demand sexual prowess and make everyone feel sexy.

DP: Wanna take a survey I made on my palm pilot?

TB: Of course!

 First cd bought? Pat Boone “In A Metal Mood”

 First cassette tape? 2 Live Crew “As Nasty As They Wanna Be”

 First vinyl? E.T. narrated by Michael Jackson

 First concert? Gloria Gaynor Live at the Apollo

 Favorite John Waters movie? Titanic

 Your pet’s name? Sweet Pussy!

 DP: Where did your musical endeavors begin?

 TB:When I was eight years old I accidentally knocked my cousin down the front brick stairs of my house. Somehow she managed to do a cartwheel on the stairs and landed on her feet!  Still she screamed and cried once she landed. Sounded amazing! Got my first boner and wrote my first song, haven’t looked back since.

my mother annoys me about Marianne Toilet and begs me not to be so offensive

DP: Who is Todd?

 TB: Todd is a……victim….working insanely hard….It’s fucked up….You’re raised to believe you’ll be nothing …… money just for a piece of paper.….paper means almost nothing, so you get stuck….. you need the money….. Todd is a wreck.

 DP: So you have an identity crisis, or who are you really?

 TB: Marianne. …….knows exactly who he/ she is. Marianne has a plan and a goal. Marianne Toilet has vision.

 DP: Boston and Salem.  How’s your dynamic there?

 TB: Marianne Toilet was definitely shaped by Boston’s sensibilities (Bostonians have a great understanding of the difference between offense and intent. Most people outside of Boston don’t understand that so easily.) Marianne Toilet was actually created in Albuquerque, NM though! I was living with a drag queen named Chastity Belt-Off. I was doing stand-up regularly and I was asked to perform in an all female show called The Ladies of AnarKomedy.  They asked me if I was willing to be in drag to do the gig and I said yes.

 DP: What the fuck is wrong with this planet?

 TB: Humans probably shouldn’t be allowed here.

 DP: To all your sex addicted fans:

 TB: All I’d say is play till you bleed, then keep playing. Who gives a shit if other people think it’s shitty.

 DP: I hear you co-write songs with your actual penis?

 TB: I whack off until a song comes out. Sometimes this can take a while.

 DP: Any last words?

 TB: Just like my dear friend Chastity Belt-Off once told me after a weird day in San Francisco “It was your first Asian prostitute, one of many. You’ll get used to it over time.”  Got my first rim job that day!!

Okay, whoever that was, we’ve gotten through it alive and I think we are all terrified, and convinced to pay attention to Salem.  Now, heres the scoop on the rest of these clowns: TRAVIS GIANATASSIO(Spinabifitravis) is the axeman.  CAMI TRAUMATIC plays bass.  JAMIE DRAGIN plays drums and just recently joined the band.  They can all be found on Facebook, if you feel the need.  I had a brief discussion with Travis and he had this to say:

 trav

“Spinabifitravis was conceived in the back of a paddy wagon in 1985, when both his mother and father were arrested for illicit activity at a Frank Zappa concert. Born during an unsuccessful abortion, his early years were spent locked in a dirt floor basement chamber. His only exposure to the outside world were two video tapes thrown down the basement garbage chute. They were a Fraggle Rock tape, and and Iron Maiden concert video. At the age of 25 during a home invasion, he had his sexual awakening at the hands of Marianne Toilet. Like an oversized ass-ripping turd, Spinabifitravis has provided the chunky, filthy, stool-shaking guitar leads to Marianne Toilet’s sex-filled musical fuckfest.”

So there you have the ramblings of the six-stringer, unaltered as per his request.  I wanted to get an angle on the musical renderings of MT & Runs.  We all know bassists think they are gods (I have the right to say that since I have been one) so who better to address the rhythm and the screws of this otherwise theatric comedy act than Cami Traumatic herself.

cami

music is my boyfriend

DP: How long have you been playing music?

 CT: I started writing songs when I was 5. I would sing onto cassette tapes.  Then I started playing my sister’s keyboard till I got one of my own around college. I started buying all kinds of instruments. I had a lot of music in my head but didn’t know how to get it out.  Then I started taking some piano lessons in school.

 DP: I thought I saw you performing in all black with some seemingly metal act.  Was this you?

 CT:  Yes, that was me in the picture you saw.  Only metal bands wanted me but I am into all kindsa music.

 DP: So you’ve played in your share of bands?

 CT: Yeah I’ve been in my fair share of bands, mostly as lead singer.  I dabbled in bass a year ago but had severe wrist issues which made me think I’d never play it again. Then in college I found bands on craigslist. I knew a lot of musicians but the general thing I heard was “girl singers are pointless.”  I got into one band as the keyboardist and just kinda bullshit my way through it til i figured it out. When I met Todd a few years ago… I decided quickly I was gonna be in his band.  So far, he knew I had played keys and sang…but I picked up my bass and convinced him that was what I was gonna do.

 DP: So is music your life? or a hobby?

 CT: Absolutely. Music is definitely my life.  I’m lost without it.  My world revolves around it.  I used to have a shirt that said “music is my boyfriend”

 DP: I would wear that now just to be ironic.  How would you describe the sound of MT &  the Runs?

 CT: Honestly I’m never thinking of a genre when I write. Writing is just whatever feels right, and if it sounds like a different genre than the previous song, oh well.  We just sounds like fun.  We sound like a bunch of people trying to laugh at our own issues while we embrace them at the same time.  We sound like a herd of muskrats being tumbled around in a drier with flutes stuck in their butts. Idk man haha.

DP: So you do the female backup vocals as well?

 CT: Yes, If u hear a girl in any song that’s me.

 DP: Have you guys released anything on media? or all digital?

 CT: Well we give out CDs at shows.

 DP:  Ok so you have a cd with the same songs that are online?

CT: Yes

 DP: More songs?

 CT: No. Same ones.  We only had one day to record and have everything mixed.

 DP:  So are you guys/gals here to stir up some shit?

 CT: Definitely! Haha. Did you say “shit” because we are the runs? Haha

 DP: Maybe your defining a new sound, or rock era coming from Boston and MA culture?

 CT: Hopefully!!

 DP: More!

 CT: We do a song where I rap about having ADHD and OCD and such and I really do (suffer from those conditions).

 DP: Where can I hear that song?

 CT: Unfortunately only live right now.  Until we have more money to record in the studio again. It’s our Theme Song, we start every show with it.  It introduces us all

 DP: So you really suffer from this disorder? ADHD, or OCD?

 CT: Yes, Both, Horribly.  I also have a tic disorder which is like tourette’s but waaaaaaaay more manageable so it’s kind of not… Same medicine though haha

 DP: Yes medicine you said the magic word whats your favorite “medicine?”

 CT: I don’t know. I wouldn’t take tylenol for a head ache half the time growing up.  I have one of the worst cases of ADHD and OCD to the point where most people don’t graduate high school with them. I graduated high school, college and started my own business for a few years.  I was reluctant to take any medicine till life got nearly unmanageable and I realized I needed some assistance.  Other than the prescribed needed medicine I’m not into anything else. I’m sort of straight edge you could say as far and drugs and alcohol, I don’t do any of it. So did u even see the stickers i sent?

 DP: Yeah monkeys,  I have this thing with monkeys.

 CT: Oh yeah?  Like… A “thing”?

 DP: It’s too complex to get into here, this is about you.  No not like that, nothing illegal.

CT: Well whatever. You have to do what makes you happy. Look at the people who wake up every morning and go on a hunt for the lochness monster. If that’s what makes you feel alive and gets you out of bed in the morning then who cares. Do that shit!

1904044_10201542068453659_978291954_n

So there you have the final exposition of my feline curiosity.  Although it didn’t kill me, there is enough ego in this band to power a small suburb; watch out wind turbines!   Marianne Toilet & the Runs is a good mixture of the performing arts.  That is the reason I chose them as the subject for my first feature for Dependent Press.  Have MT & R fully matured musically and comedically?  I would hope not.  I look forward to future offerings from this motley crew.  Let’s just hope they don’t have to endure the scrutiny of their predecessors in old-town Massachusetts.  Whether they like it or not, they seem to be living their art because of those who died in the witch trials of Salem.  So carry on you filthy neo-witches.  The pressure is on.

 DP – DP

VESAK SPECIAL | PLANT EATER: ZEN & THE ART OF JEREMIAH PETERSEN

“One of the hardest things to do is to go your own way and make your own path.  It’s especially hard when you are the only one that believes in or supports yourself, but it is absolutely worth living a life true to your soul.”
UncertaintyArt                Images courtesy of Plant Eater / Jeremiah Petersen

 

By DEMETRIA PHLORENTIA

One can gather a kind of resolute equanimity in the art, words, and Being of JEREMIAH PETERSEN. Hiding behind a tongue-in-cheek nom de guerre, PLANT EATER is the artistic spawn of this 29 year old musician-painter from Portland.

Evolution is the Plant Eater’s game, and pigeonholing the musical works of Jeremiah is no small feat. His earliest works on Soundcloud seem to be rambling, somewhat Frusciante-ish improv-style jams on twin guitars, untainted by drums and other unnecessary rhythm-keeping tools. In a little more than a year, this hotshot herbivore has branched into the territory of Experimental Space Hop; a sonic Shangri-la where he weaves the polished beats and grooves of Trip Hop with his signature slide guitar lines and voice samples from various scientific lectures. One quality is consistent throughout the Plant Eater’s evolution though. It does not matter where and when you decide to pop by and listen, because each sound comes with the promise to take you through space and time, to people and places. In this Vesak Day special feature, Enlightenment-obsessed DEMETRIA PHLORENTIA dissects the life and works of this self-identified Buddhist and gets a colossal dose of Zen-like wisdom.

Jere organ

Jeremiah Petersen at Supernatural Sound Studios in Oregon

DP: Hey! Finally friends with the mysterious Plant Eater on Facebook! So tell us, why Plant Eater? Are you really herbivorous?

Jeremiah: Hi! Ha, I’m not mysterious really.

I’m vegetarian for the simple fact that I do not need to consume life to live. As soon as I realized that I stopped eating meat. I personally see vegetarianism as the best way to begin to co-exist better with life on this planet.

DP: Yeah, we all know that meat and Doc Martens are overpriced anyway! So tell us, how and when did you start making music? Were you taught by your Pa like myself?

J: No, no one in my family plays music and I consider myself a self-taught musician. I first picked up the guitar when I was 19. I was initially inspired by a friend, Brandon Sova. He was an amazing improvisational fingerstyle guitarist after only playing the instrument for a little more than a year. Sadly, he passed in an auto accident in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2004, a few months after I began playing the guitar. The first few years of playing guitar I was driven extra hard to continue playing for my fallen friend on top of the initial drive of wanting to learn the instrument.

I worked third shift at a gas station for a few years during this period, slept while everyone else was awake, and played guitar while they slept.  It was a very lonely existence and I became very attached to my instrument and haven’t let go since. I played for 7 years before I jammed with anyone else.  I feel that seclusion with my instrument and music allowed me to develop a unique style and approach to playing and to get really comfortable with my sound before venturing out into the world.

DP: Gosh, real sorry to hear about your pal. But I find it amazing that you were able to gather personal fortitude from such a tragedy. And honestly, I think Brandon would be proud if he could see you as you are today! So besides him, what inspires you?

J: I would say Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, Jimi, Mazzy Star, Beck, Stan Getz. I love music from 1960s-1970s. Especially slide guitar. Physicist Richard Feynman also had a big impact on me with his popular science books.

Cover art from "Lost in Time"

Cover art from “Lost in Time”

DP: Ah, speaking of science, I hear some ala scientific sound bites from Change the World / Becoming a Scientist / Type I. Where were they from and why did you use them?

J: Change the World features Dr. Pamela Gay, an American astronomer, educator, podcaster, and writer who works as an assistant research professor at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Becoming a Scientist features a childhood hero of mine, Dr. Richard Feynman, famous physicist and general bad ass. And yeah, the vocal samples from Type I were from one of Michio Kaku’s lectures on the Kardashev scale.

I used them to try to help bring science and scientists to more people’s awareness. I’ve always been a huge fan of science and critical thinking and I really enjoy being able to promote it in my music.

DP: Wow, you are a really brainy Plant Eater, you know! I’ve always thought of you as a college kid, and I kinda further confirmed it in my head after you posted those new brainy sounds on Soundcloud. But then you mentioned working at a gas station, so what kind of Plant Eater are you actually?

J: Haha, sorry to disappoint you but I’m no college kid. In fact, I’ve only got a high school diploma. I guess I’ve always been a fan of science and critical thinking. I’ve always been inquisitive.

DP: Hah, disappointed? Far from it! You probably didn’t see where this was going but I’m now going to run a feature of you on my zine for low-lives! Now that you are officially low by my definition, snap me pictures of your ill-equipped set up and cranky guitars!

Living room

Jeremiah enjoys layering a mixture of recorded and digital drum samples on Ableton for more realistic drum sequences. A big fan of Duane Allman’s powerful tone, Jeremiah swears by the Les Paul.

Pedalboard

Extensive collection of pedals. Let’s count!

DP: God, you’re such a gear hog! And noooo you have not only one but two Les Pauls! NOT FAIR

J: Uhm… I spent 2013 working at a factory and then bought all the equipment I had wanted. Ended up getting nerve damage through wrist injury from the job. Took almost a year to heal to semi-normal, so I’m not sure if you can say that it’s not fair. 😛

DP: Ouch, sorry dude, I had no idea. So, how’s it like now? Are you raking in the moolah through music making or are you still an ever lowly pump attendant / factory slave?

J: Music and art income have been helping me to subsist, but I’ve been working mostly restaurant or factory jobs for a little over ten years as my main source of income. This year has been my most profitable year for music and art, but I’m still far from subsisting solely on it.

Gigging

Jeremiah and his working band friends from Le Printemps. From left to right : Michael Durkan, Jon Riggie, and Jeremiah

DP: Nice hearing that 🙂 To be honest, how hard do you think it is, to fully subsist on music for a living? Like, how much do you make from a gig, on average? 

J: It is incredibly hard to make a living from music as the internet has made it free to listen to most music. Most people want to see DJs nowadays, so there’s a decline in live bands, live music.

We make $100 on average at gigs, with 5 people in the band plus gas, rehearsal time, gear. We don’t make much, we all work a second job to compensate. It’s tough but I would have no other life.

Jere SS

Jeremiah recording with Le Printemps at Supernatural Sound Studios

DP: Hmmm, sure sounds tough. I’m not totally sure if I’m as prepared as you to take so much shit…and then there’s the question of whether it’s really worth it.

J: Actually, it’s still possible to make a living as a musician, you just have to be creative. Give lessons, record demos for people, play an instrument in multiple projects, record music and promote it.

It’s not an easy life, but since we are all going to die anyways and you can’t take a damn thing with you, why not chase the dream? I know death and decay is inevitable, so I am going to fill my life with doing the things I want that make me feel good and beautiful

I love the music and art too much to give it up for anything else. Do give it some serious thought. I chose to seriously pursue music rather late myself. That was like a few months before I moved to Portland, Oregon in late 2012.

Forest Explorers

Forest explorers: Jeremiah with Ryan Burleson a.k.a The Wandering Wizard

DP: Swell. And would you say that Portland is one of the most art-conducive cities you lived in?

J: Absolutely, best art/music place I’ve lived in by far. Almost everyone I meet plays an instrument or is involved in some creative lifestyle. It’s incredible really! Prior to the move, I’ve been in California, Florida, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia and even Germany.

DP: Ooh, you are quite the traveller, eh?

J: Couldn’t help it, really. My dad was a technician for the US Air Force.

DP: Cool, I love airmen! So what’s your current vice, Mr. Goody-two-shoes?

J: Yerba Mate is my vice currently, I’m not into recreational drugs or alcohol. Just music, art and science. At this point in life I find music and art the most fulfilling to my soul.

Cover art from "Contra"

Cover art from “Contra”

DP:  Dandy, you’re squeaky clean! Okay next question, what would you say is your purpose on this planet?

J: I believe music is one of the most powerful things in known existence. It can instantly change a persons mind, spirit, attitude, being. Not many things can do that. It allows a person to experience the sensation of travelling while sitting still, it inspires new ideas, new life.  Music can connect people on this planet instantly, soul to soul. My purpose on this planet I would say, is to continuously strive to be an ally to life through music.

DP: Nice! There is so much clarity and purpose in your words, Jeremiah, I almost feel like I’m talking to a sage! And your water color paintings, by God, they are lovely! How would you classify/catalog them and is there any reason as to why they were made?

J: I’m not sure what I classify them as. I suppose impressionism or abstract impressionism, I don’t know. I’m really just pushing pigment around on paper, trying to balance the colors and create a pleasing composition as I go along.

Sometimes I like drawing trees. Sometimes space. They are all just reflections of my soul, like a mirror I’m looking into except I see things in myself I never had seen before as opposed to seeing the obvious external image. I find the process strangely therapeutic.

FalconArt

Cover art from “Falcon”

DP: Your approach sounds very stream-of-consciousness/ existential, somewhat like James Joyce and Pollock. But it’s funny that it is therapeutic and meditative at the same time when you see your subjects as reflections of your soul. Isn’t it somewhat like Hitsuzendō, the art of achieving Samadhi (or a non-dualistic state of consciousness ) through the brush?

J: Indeed, the Hitsuzendō line of thought was founded as a “practice to uncover one’s original self through the brush.”

I see every picture I paint as a more complete picture of myself, essentially one page at a time. I’m literally painting myself to myself. I find it interesting that in Hitsuzendō it is believed that true creativity is not the product of consciousness but rather the phenomenon of life itself, that true creation must arise from the state of “no-mind”.

DP: Hmm… now that’s some real interesting food for thought. You’re totally a Zen man, Jeremiah! Would you tell us when and why you started adopting a Buddhist outlook towards life? 

J: I turned to a Buddhist mindset at age 27 in 2012, so not too long ago.

Well, I had been searching for an existing philosophy for the past decade that coincided with my own personal thoughts and beliefs. Buddhism has helped me to find an even deeper inner peace, greater sense of appreciation for life and reality, and a way to combat suffering among many other things.

DP: I see, how do you apply it, really? Like through meditation? Or is it more of like practicing mindfulness and living in the Here-Now?   

J: I would say it’s more of the latter.

I apply Buddhism as a general lens in which I filter all reality through. Acknowledging the constant state of flux and impermanence of existence allows a greater comprehension of all situations. Calmness is a direct result of fully accepting reality.

DP: Ah, I see! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Jeremiah. I feel like I’ve become so much wiser from your sagely advice! Before we say goodbye, do you have any last words for aspiring musicians like myself?

You’re most welcome, Demetria. 🙂 And thank you too.

I guess one of the hardest things to do is to go your own way and make your own path. It’s especially hard when you are the only one that believes in or supports yourself, but it is absolutely worth living a life true to your soul.

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Follow your bliss with the sounds of PLANT EATER on Soundcloud and Facebook Blessed Vesak, Earthlings!