No.9 Feb / March 2013
2 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
3 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
No winter in LA
A note from the Team
As always THANK YOU to all the artists and musicians who took the time to collaborate for this issue; you are our motivation and inspiration. We really enjoyed all of the music and the artwork along with your great stories. To our readers, awwwwl yeah we did it again! We hope you enjoy the great visuals, awesome sounds and interesting stories featured on this issue. You will find some relevance to Black History Month in some of the artwork as well as the powerful poetry by Ethan Viets Van-Lier. We have featured musicians from the U.S. and the U.K.! If you have any feedback, would like to collaborate in any way or if there is anything you would like to see please let us know and we will do our best to consider you. Please show your support as we continue to grow. Thank you Magda & Jess
Magda Becerra Artnois Co-Founder, loves anything creative, manages all artwork, and final editing. firstname.lastname@example.org Jesenia Meraz Artnois Co-Founder, brings music to your ears. Always looking for new music and artists to share with the world. email@example.com Carlos Rubio Journalist/ Photographer Tells it like it is. firstname.lastname@example.org Patty Nunez Design Assistant Thank her creative mind. Want to guest post on Artnois.com? Email us!
Visit us on Artnois.com 4 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Issue 9 Feb 2014 /March 2014
Funky soul music from Miami, FL
Donâ€™t drink alone
Ethan Viets Van-Lear
Read/Listen to his poetry
From Belgium to Arizona
Swatch paintings & more
Sweet sounds from London
Not just another band from California
Postcards from the soul
The Doppelgangaz A rap duo from NY
Bill Cormalis Jr.
Previously featured at The Museum of Tolerance (Los Angeles)
Contacts: PO BOX 923082 SYLMAR,CA 91342, tel. 818.584.1868, email@example.com, www.artnois.com About ARTNOIS: ARTNOIS Magazine was started by two young female students, Magda and Jessy. While they both share common interests, Magda has a passion for art and Jessy has a passion for music. Seeing as neither one had the time nor the skills they wished they had to create jaw dropping art or inspiring music, they decided to make a magazine featuring all the great artists who do. Art and music is motivation for both to do something great. They hope this magazine will help do the same for you.
5 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
from Miami, FL. Band Members: Newsense and Ao Logics on vocals Ralf Valencia on bass Keith Cooper on the saxophone
6 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Radio sucks. It has for a long time. But there are still a lot of creative acts out there, pushing the limits. I’m not sure where we fit. That’s We have an EP kinda for the people to called “Knives” decide. coming out this year. We’re exploring some new territory with this compared to big hipmoment? project, so keep an hop bands such as The Roots? I love what Kendrick ear out for it. is doing and that his
How did you all find each other to form ArtOfficial? Me and Newsense went to high school together and were in a hip hop group. We met the rest of the band through mutual friends. I had always wanted to form a live hip hop band and one day I got a call from Ralf, our bass player, and his band was breaking up, but still had shows lined up that they didn’t want to cancel. Ralf called me and asked if Newsense and I wanted
to get together with what was left of his band and do those shows. I jumped at the opportunity and never looked back. What is the story behind your band name, ArtOfficial? We started to play a lot of shows and needed a name desperately. Newsense came up with ArtOfficial and it stuck. One word just looked better then two. How does it feel to be
I love The Roots. Personally they are a big inspiration to me. I think there are so few hip hop bands out there that the natural thing to do is to compare us with them. It’s the easiest way to describe us, although we have a completely different sound. Who do you look up to the most in the music industry at the
music is not just one dimensional. Chance the Rapper is also creative as hell. This Australian band called Hiatus Kaiyote is my favorite shit out right now. Musically they are running laps around everything that’s out.
What is your motivation in creating music? Just the urge to create something that moves 7 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
people, whether physically or emotionally or on some other level. What is you mission as a band? They say that no idea’s original, but hopefully we can create something that is close to being a complete original. And in turn, maybe that sticks with people and like I mentioned before, reaches them on some sort of level. How did you decide what your music would sound like? Why jazz, hip-hop and poetry? It wasn’t a deliberate choice. Me and Newsense just happen to rap a certain way and by some stroke of luck we met this jazz band who was interested in doing hip hop. The jazz-hip hop connection has been there for a long time. We all brought our specialities to the table, and what happened was ArtOfficial. What has it been like sharing the stage with musicians like Wu-Tang Clan, N.E.R.D., Nas, and KRS-One? It’s pretty crazy to share the stage with people you admire. As a kid listening to some of the early Wu or KRS stuff, I wasn’t thinking that one day I’d get to do shows with these people. Has the experience influenced how you make any decisions as a band?
It is to my understanding that you recorded a marching band. Who was the marching band and where were they from? The marching band were friends of ours who were in marching band in high school and beyond. We invited them to be on the album and bang out this crazy song. They loved the idea and we loved the finished output. What made you decide to record a marching band? Ambition. We wanted to do epic things. Things that maybe haven’t been done on a hip hop record before. We didn’t want our creativity to be limited because of our budget. So we made shit happen. One way or another.
To have an army of musicians playing something like that, its just something you can’t replicate any other way. There’s no synth patch that sounds like that.
The experience of opening for legends? Yeah of course. We’d sit there and take notes on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to rocking a crowd. What can one expect to see and feel at one of your shows? Good musicianship. Improvisation. Maybe you’d get the urge to move a body part hopefully. What was it like to win the Florida Grammy Showcase? It was a great experience. We have good energy on stage and our sound is not very common. I think that set us apart.
You also recorded a 15-piece orchestra; what was that like? The sound of that many string players. It’s pretty moving. To have an army of musicians playing something like that, its just something you can’t replicate any other way. There’s no synth patch that sounds like that. Where do you see yourselves in 5 years? In the Illuminati with Jay-Z and P Diddy. What are your feelings about hip-hop at the moment?
Radio sucks. It has for a long time. But there are still a lot of creative acts out there, pushing the limits. I’m not sure where we fit. That’s kinda for the people to decide. Where have you toured? All over the South. A lot of the major cities. LA, SF, NY, Chicago. We did a festival in Barcelona a few years ago. Who do you imagine collaborating with in the future? We’re opened minded people. If the vibe is right, and it feels right. That’s all that matters. What has been the biggest challenge about creating music? Coordinating 6+ people can be challenging. What has been your most memorable experience individually? Traveling is something that changes you as a person. You see and experience all types of shit that you wouldn’t normally in the four walls of your city. What are your most meaningful moments as a band? I think our most special moments have been standing on stage in front of a bunch of strangers who’ve never even
8 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
heard of us, and have them going nuts a couple songs into the set. Converting strangers to fans. That’s pretty cool. Any messages for the public? Thanks to the fan for the support through out the years. To those strangers who have no idea who we are, check us out on ArtOfficialMusic.net. What can we expect from ArtOfficial most recently? We have an EP called “Knives” coming out this year. We’re exploring some new territory with this project, so keep an ear out for it. What is your go-to band? Everyone has there own personal heroes in the band. It’s hard to say. Our music tastes are pretty eclectic. Let’s just say Radiohead.
Listen 9 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
“I want people to feel uncomfortable.”
Yus 10 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Where did you grow up? Brussels , Belgium. It was cool you know, my parents were really good to me. We travelled a lot. The winters in Belgium are rough but the beach in the summertime is the greatest thing. There are a lot of things to do in Brussels so we always kept busy. I had a good time. What made you move to Arizona from Belgium? I was pretty young so it wasn’t really my decision, but I was excited about the sun. What do you miss about Belgium the most? The language mostly, the culture, football, the food, and the sea of course. What was the most memorable thing about your trip to Arizona? Besides the length, I think I was mostly proud of my cat for making it. It happened pretty quickly, and I was young so it’s hard to recall. What is the music scene like in Brussels compared to Arizona? In Brussels? It’s changed a lot from what I know, there’s Stromae now, that’s kinda made a big noise around the world. On top of that, R&S is based in Ghent, that’s James Blake’s label, and they’ve grown in preeminence over the last few years. I haven’t been since I left so I could be wrong, but I get a feeling that it’s pretty poppin’. In Phoenix? It’s kinda f***** up, I’m not gonna lie. The thing about Phoenix is that it’s a young city, so our culture is still defining itself, and the kids have a big say in what flourishes. From my perspective, there’s a side of the town that’s trying to make this clubby/commercial/ Coachella type scene, where taste and talent is based on who you know, then there’s this other side of town that’s trying to make this we don’t care type free for all utilitarian music scene, where there’s no real standard for what is good music and what isn’t, and a select few are using whatever profits to pay rent. Lastly I guess, there’s my side of town, and I’m on the internet, so my mentality is worldwide, and the music’s purpose is to overcome, to compete on a large scale, and let people know that Phoenix is actually dope and that we make better music than anyone in the world. These
three scenes are battling each other for the kids, and I’m losing right now, but I’ll get em. It seems as though there is an artistic and musically inclined movement going on in Arizona. Do you agree? Mmmmmm I don’t think it’s necessarily a rise in music appreciation. There’s a few movements fighting for attention in the art scene, but a lot of the stuff is corny, or misguided. A lot of it has commercial motives, so it’s not true, and as a person, I just want the truth you know? I understand everyone’s gotta eat, but damn, don’t compromise the art-form, that’s selfish. I will say that there’s a rise in the commercialization of music, bringing bands to town that aren’t necessarily breaking boundaries musically, but will play a half decent show to people who want to be seen in a club drinking expensive beverages, meanwhile promoters’ wallets are filling up. I think it’s kinda fucked up because how do you make the difference between good and bad music then? If bad music is promoted more than good music, just because it fits a business type better, then people will start to think it’s actually good music. There’d be no more incentive for people to make truly good music, and kids would eat it and repeat the process. What direction do you think Arizona is taking in music? Like I said, it’s pretty divided right now, I’m counting on people to look at my work and to consider their perspectives. My next album is gonna be pretty polarizing, and that’s the point. I want people to feel uncomfortable. Comfort zones are scary, they happen when we accept the status quo and the only way to get out of them is to be exposed to the uncomfortable and to grow. What music video are you currently working on? When do you estimate it to be complete? It’s for a track from the next album. It’s called 20 Million. The track is complete, but the video isn’t. It all happens in post production, so I really don’t know when it will be ready but I’ve set pretty tight deadlines so we’ll see. What other videos have you worked on? I’ve worked on a few before. For my album Palms, I did a video for Ndefitd
in my room, and collabed on another for Girls, and then I did two video collages for my remix of Newtimers’ January Love, and of The Dø’s Bohemian Dances. There was another attempt on a video for a track I did with a producer called Eyedress, but I don’t know, I guess we decided against releasing the video because the artist I shot it with and I agreed that we weren’t satisfied with it. What is your vision for the video? I let the director control most of that, I just wanted more of a performance video. Too many music videos these days have complex stories and take away from the music, and I really really don’t want that. The music is always first. What do you hope your audience get out of the video? An idea of who’s behind the music, of what inspires it, or how it makes me feel. The music is always moving forward, growing as it unravels, so that’s the idea I’d like to convey visually. How would you describe your music? I actually really don’t like describing my music to be honest, I spend so much time making it into what it is, that summing it into words would be untrue. Music is it’s language, so really you just have to listen to it or else things get lost in translation. What kind of feelings do you go through when creating a new track? It really depends, sometimes it hits you and you gotta open up a new project and get the feeling out. Sometimes you hear a song early on during the day and you get inspired. The only guaranteed feeling is the hustle to finish whatever you start and make the most of it. I’d hate to have a feeling come through, and not act on it with determined execution. How do you feel about your song “Nowadays”? As a musician, you always kinda hate your songs after a little while. I kinda hated Nowadays for a short period last year, and I’m always super anxious when I have to show it to someone. However, I think it’s an awesome awesome song, and I’m super proud of it and when I play it live it really comes out nicely. The lyrics are really great because they’re so direct. How do you know what you want? like, really? Desires change all the time, so gotta be careful. The rest is about 11 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
‘I understand everyone’s gotta eat, but damn, don’t compromise the art-form, that’s selfish’ Photos by: Weldon Grover
12 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
relationships in general, and not necessarily with a person. To me it’s my relationship with music, and the drive and desire for success, so of course I have to study it to stay close to my goals. But really when it comes down to bare bones, I just want it, you know? I’m just like, ‘give me that, bro’. What does this song represent for you? It’s the first song I put out as the head of a record label, so it’s pretty meaningful. It got played by Mary Anne Hobbs on national radio in the UK and she said all these nice things about it so it gave me the drive to finish my album, and to have an idea of what I wanted it to sound like. Are you currently in school? Yeah, I go to ASU for economics. It’s the ideal degree in my opinion. I was doing music theory for a minute, but I reached the point with that where I would’ve had to be a classical or jazz musician and that’s not me so I was like ‘fuck that’. Up and coming musicians and artists have to make a lot of decisions, and that’s essentially what economics is, it’s decision making. The study of decision making. People who study the subject will give me shit and try to correct me, but that’s what it is to me. I was always more into micro than macro so I always wanted to know what influences decisions on a small scale rather than say the banana trade in Guatemala’s influence on superstores in the US you know? Music is drenched with all these small decisions you have to make, so really it’s a perfect fit. I’m also pretty decent with numbers, so that helps. What are your longterm
goals as a musician? I wanna make really really really awesome music, the most awesome that I can make. I wanna reach that peak. When do you plan to release an album? This spring. Yeah, it’s a bit of a self discovery I guess, it talks about who I am, what makes me me, my approach to life, and a thousand other things. What is the process of creating a new track like? It starts with a feeling, a sound palette, and the production skills or aesthetics tend to drive the process. What is your go-to musician/band to gain insight/ inspiration/motivation? It varies. Yeezy is always there, but sometimes Talking Heads, or Faust, or Thom Yorke, or Panda Bear’s solo stuff, Das Racist too, and RiFF RAFF of course. Does anyone help you create music? Na, YouTube is my only friend with that. There’s so many great tutorials available, I’ve learned so much already and I’ve barely scratched the surface. What is your motivation in creating music? Music is the single greatest thing in the world, it’s the perfect language, it’s my way of expression. It’s all I know. What or who are you influences? Yeezy, Doom, Thom Yorke, Animal Collective, Peter Bjorn and John. I have a last. fm with everything listed
on there. If anyone cares to look me up, my username is yunquekabal. Are you currently collaborating with anyone at the moment? Trying, yeah. My good friend Bubba Dak wants to collab but it’s difficult because of time and location restrictions. It’ll get done in time, I’m sure. Who do you imagine collaborating with in the future? My ideal is to meet Kanye someday, and produce a record with him. I think my favorite part of him is his singing, like 808s & Heartbreaks is a masterpiece in my type of music. That’s one of the albums I look up to the most. But Yeezus is ridiculously groundbreaking in that realm too, like, the end of New Slaves, that sampling with vocals type sound, but also like, Bon Iver’s work on I’m In It. I’m speculating, but I think Kanye was originally meant to sing the Charlie Wilson hook on Bound 2, which would make sense because it kinda sounds like Runaway or that track The Food he did with Common. If not Kanye, then idk, I kick the shit with a few musicians on Twitter because the website verified my account. Evian Christ gave me a pretty awesome indirect shout out a few days ago, so who knows who I can end up creating stuff with. I think I’m ultimately a pretty autonomous person in the studio, so I wouldn’t want to compromise my process just to have big name on my track credits, you know?
Any messages for the public? It’s 2014, and K-Mart still exists. It’s a testament to your hopes and dreams, anything is possible. If anyone is interested in booking me for a show, hit me up at yunquekabal at gmail dot com. I’m working on tour dates right now. The album should be out soon. If anyone would like to keep up, follow @ yusnotyus on twitter.
“Music is it’s own language, so really you just have to listen to it or else things get lost in translation.”
13 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
An interview with Huw Williams
the melodic Where are you right now? I’m (Huw) in the van with the band heading to our show in Seattle tonight for the penultimate show of our three week US tour. What surrounds you? The van is a bit of a mess of sleepy bodies right now, instruments, bags, food and general crap that accumulates on the road... Which is the most captivating item in the space which you are a part of at the moment? The view is epic, we’ve been driving up the Pacific coast from LA on Highway 1 for a few days and the snow peaked mountains all around are pretty spectacular, beats the M1 for sure. 14 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
How did you form The Melodic? Most of the band grew up together in South London. Me (Huw), Rudi and John went to school together in Streatham and started teaching ourselves instruments when we were about 16 in Rudi’s attic in Brixton sharing a love of 60’s folk revival artists and reggae. The band took shape when we met Lydia who i was singing with in a separate traditional folk band and James joined from Brooklyn most recently. Who came up with your band name and what does it mean? Rudi and John like to argue about this and so i guess we’ll never know who to blame/credit for that one.
It was meant as a statement of intent to play melodic music which I hope we succeed in doing. What does being a part of The Melodic mean to you and your life style? Being in the band is an all consuming thing, I don’t have time for much outside of it, especially when touring so much but i enjoy the lifestyle a lot. Traveling, meeting people and spending time doing something creative with the people i grew up with is really enjoyable. So many friendships have formed around the band too and a real musical community has developed so it’s been a fantastic thing to be part of. What sets you apart from the multiple
Band members: Huw Williams on Vocals & guitar Rudi Schmidt on the charango & melodica John Naldrett on the bass Lydia Samuels on vocals, the autoharp, & the melodica James McCandless on drums
ground-breaking bands coming out of the UK?
audience gets out of your music?
I’d like to think that we are unique in our instrumentation and influences; incorporating folk, andean and west african ideas into our sound and using instruments rarely used in combination like the charango, melodica and autoharp which has always meant we have been really hard to define which is no bad thing really.
One journalist described it as music that makes you want dance and cry at the same time which i’ve never actually seen happen and don’t really want to but I can see where they were coming from, it’s meant to make people feel good and has a lot of energy, especially live, but our lyrics can get quite melancholic and reflective so it pulls you around a bit.
Do you have any expectations/hopes for the music which you produce? Like most musicians you just want it to be heard and enjoyed as widely as possible but I have pretty modest expectations, I just want it to be stay relevant and interesting i guess. What do you wish your
What does your latest album, Effra Parade, mean to you? The album to me is a testament to all the time I have spent with the band and all the hard work that has been involved with keeping it alive. The album includes the first song we ever wrote together (along with) completely new
material so it charts the band from the start to where we are now. Many friends we have met along the way appeared on the album too so it feels like it represents our lives and the community we are part of, above being just a dozen or so songs. If there had to be one thing your music could accomplish, what would that be?
Paying my rent would be nice. Who has been your largest musical influence? My biggest influence as a guitarist and songwriter has been Bert Jansch, a Scottish folk musician popular in the 60’s. He plays a intricate fingerpicking blues style to traditional folk arrangements that seduced me as a teenager and has infuriated
We’ve always joked that we’d like Manu Chao to produce an album with us, fingers crossed it will happen one day.
15 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
me in my quest to emulate. How long have you been signed to Anti Records? We signed this time last year so not long really. How is it being on their record label? It’s been incredibly exciting for all of us, their roster of artists is phenomenal.It’s pretty ridiculous to be working with a label that works with Tom Waits and having the opportunity to come and tour in the US has been incredible and somewhat surreal. We will be touring with Malian band Tinariwen in March who are also on the label so being with ANTI has led to amazing opportunities like that. Was it a record label you had previously considered working with? It actually came as a complete bolt from the blue, the head of ANTI had been listening to music on Spotify and one way or another a song we had released on a tiny independent label in London came up. He liked it so much that he got in touch, said he wanted to sign us and we were more than happy to oblige. 16 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
beautiful and tragic and we just wanted to share it with people, the song has introduced many people to his life and that has been really encouraging. Where was “On My Way” shot? That was shot in LA whilst we were staying there inbetween tours. This track has proven to be a total hit! Why do you think that is?
What are your thoughts about being compared with groups such as Beirut and The Decemberists? They are both great bands so I don’t mind and I don’t think they are too far off the mark with the comparisons, we lazily get compared to some bands that we don’t recognise any similarity to so we’ll take these gladly. Who came up with the concept to the video for “Ode to Victor Jara”? A friend of mine is a sculptor and particularly enjoyed this song so wanted to challenge herself with the task of making a stop frame animation to it. She spent a long time researching the life and significance of Victor and hand crafted every single object that features in the video so we are really pleased with what she has done. I think it is a fitting tribute to him, incredibly detailed and accurate. Does this track have a special meaning for you? Me and Rudi have travelled in South America and all the band have an interest in the politics of the region. Victor’s story is inspirational,
Well it’s hard to analyse your own music but I think it has a feel-good factor to it, a really catchy melodica melody and just rolls along with a good energy. It has been a crowd favourite for a while and the recording goes down well too. What does this track represent to you?
What instruments can one find in your recording studio? We recorded the album at Rudi’s house and keep too many instruments to name there. Lots of stringed things of all shapes and sizes such as the Kora (an African harp) and a box of weird and wonderful percussion toys, most parts of an orchestra featured on our album so we welcome all sorts round to the studio. Where have you toured? We’ve toured the UK a fair few times and now the US. (We) would love to (tour) Europe and South America, that’s the dream. Tell us about your most memorable experience while performing. We’ve had lots of great gigs over the years but one pe-
“It’s important not to compromise your music, (for it to) stay true to what you want it to be.”
It was written up a mountain in France in a derelict shack, so for me it evokes the spirit of the outdoors and adventure.
culiar one was in LA recently where we were booked to play at a punk rock night, all the other bands playing were really heavy and the crowd looked pretty hard-
It’s pretty ridiculous to be working with a label that works with Tom Waits and having the opportunity to come and tour in the US has been incredible and somewhat surreal. core so were a little worried we weren’t gonna go down too well but they went for it hard and it turned out to be the most raucous gig we have ever done with all these biker punks kicking off. I think the mixture of relief and surprise made it really special. How does the music scene in the states compare to that of the UK? We spent a while living in LA and nearly every band we met was into punk rock which you don’t get so much back home but we weren’t really there long enough to get to grips with what
was going on properly. The crowds tend to be a lot more fanatical and open in the states so performing can be a lot more fun. Are you currently collaborating with anyone?
like Manu Chao to produce an album with us, fingers crossed it will happen one day.
We’ve never collaborated with anybody; although as I mentioned before, we did get dozens of friends to guest appear on our album to play the instruments that we don’t play.
It requires a lot of energy to keep it going, especially when you are starting out and playing for free and playing to nobody. It’s hard to stay positive and maintain belief that it’s gonna work out and is worth doing, just keeping going is half the battle really. It’s important not to compromise your music, (for it to) stay true to what you want it to be.
Who do you imagine collaborating with in the future? We’ve always joked that we’d
What has been the biggest challenge in making music?
Do you have any upcoming tour dates? We’ll be releasing the album in the UK on the 24th of February before embarking on a US tour with Tinariwen. (We are) excited to be playing the legendary South By South West Festival in Austin in March too. We’ll be returning to London to play a headline show at XOYO on May the 7thwhich should be great too.
Listen 17 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Bravesoul “We’re a product of what we love to listen to, and we happen to love a lot of very different spectrums of music”
18 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Where are you from originally? E: I was born in DC but grew up in the Ivory Coast. M and MR: Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA How long have you been a band? E: Marty and I have been writing songs and playing in bands for close to 8 years now. Max joined in on the fun about 2 years ago. What are your feelings at this moment in time? E: We’ve been grinding for a while, pushing our music out there and trying to find our voice. We’ve got some really cool stuff coming out, largely uncovered territory to cover, so I’d say, measured anticipation. What was it like growing up in Los Angeles? MR: Tom Petty pretty much said it best: It’s a long day, living in Reseda. There’s a freeway running through the yard. E: Stimulating. Do you think it helps being raised in LA when it comes to promoting yourselves? Pretty much everyone can agree that LA people are not the most local music friendly audiences, and getting a good crowd in LA is about as hard as it gets, even for major touring acts. It’s a large pond that caters to the big fish, so we’d have to say no, it’s not the most ideal place for promoting yourself as a young artist. There’s tons of smaller cities and even a few larger ones where you can much more easily build a local following and make consistent money playing local shows, and that sort of thing is very helpful for any artist at the beginning stages. On your website it is mentioned that you use multigenres in your musical creations. How did you go about trying to create your own style? E: My father played alot of different kinds of music when I was growing up... Growing up in the Ivory Coast until I was about 10 years, the complicated rhythms of West African dug in early into my psyche. I’ve always had a funky jazz style as a bass player specifically. When I first met Marty, he had just come back to the States from a stint in Ghana where he was studying West African drumming. He’s always had an ear for jazzy chords and odd rhythmic patterns on the guitar, so we understood each other musically early on. Marty’s always been bringing in influences from all over the musical landscape to the table when it comes to singing/songwriting, from Pearl Jam to Sade to Iron and Wine; vocally there’s always a soulful core to our music. Max came with an aggressive, Brooklyn-ish drumming style that kind of catalyzed an explosion of dynamism in our music; since then we’ve been reacting to everything that’s been coming out of our speakers recently, paying particular attention to bands like us trying to put out live sounds.
19 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
MR: We’re a product of what we love to listen to, and we happen to love a lot of very different spectrums of music, so it’s always been a challenge to fuse some of those elements. For us, it’s primarily alternative rock and soul, and most recently some bits and pieces of electronic music. Of course I wouldn’t say we’re really there yet…I think it’s a lofty ambition and not many bands can really claim to have created their own styles, but when they do, it’s generally a few albums into their careers. But as Eric said, I think part of it is the fact that we were born in the first internet generation of musicians, and so we’ve had exposure to a crazy variety of music throughout our lives - and i think that’s also why we’re seeing so many “alternative” artists nowadays that are hard to categorize effectively. Also according to your webpage, your band name came from a “song that Marty wrote in 2009 about a young woman who lost her life and became a martyr in the student uprisings in Iran”. What about her story made an impact on you? MR: The fact that I was so close to living my life and being raised in Iran vs. the US is something that I think about fairly often, and so when the student uprisings started in 2009, I couldn’t help but imagine what my life would have been like if I were one of those students marching the streets and risking my life to fight back against a tyrannical government. Neda was one of those young students, and her brutal death on the streets of Tehran and the subsequent viral videos that shot the entire scene became a powerful and emotional motivating force. I was really affected by the courage that these students showed in risking their lives, and I think it was my mother that first encouraged me to write a song about the situation happening there. The song “Brave Souls” was what resulted, and I remember literally writing the entire thing in only a few hours. I remember thinking that it was the first song I ever wrote that came from a very deep emotional place - a place I hadn’t really tapped into on an honest level before. That was a big step and a big lesson as far as being an artist is concerned. How does her story this fit in to your lives?
20 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
whatever we do should always be as meaningful, relevant, and honest as possible, because it still can touch people and have some importance in people’s lives.
Her story and the entire movement was an inspiration. And the song itself ended up being broadcast on Persian television and radio stations, and that positive response was an eye-opener in itself. The weight of the world seems so much greater in that part of the world right now, so it’s hard to compare what we do as playful little musicians to the challenges they face. But that one instance of writing something that was emotionally honest and seeing how people react will always be a constant reminder that whatever we do should always be as meaningful, relevant, and honest as possible, because it still can touch people and have some importance in people’s lives. Does the name of your band reflect your music as a whole? I think “Bravesoul”, in the simplest sense, says something about how we want to live our lives as lovers, fighters, and strong-willed people. In terms of the music itself, there’s a sense of all those qualities mixed into the batch. There’s a strong focus on love and relationships, but there’s also an aggressive and masculine side that turns those emotions towards war and towards inequality. We’re probably pretty difficult to pinpoint or put in a box style-wise for that very reason. Who has been the most influential individual in pursuing a musical career?
E: My mother. She’s supported me every step of the way. She always dances at our concerts. MR: My parents and my brother would definitely be on the top of that list. Everyone around us has always been supportive, and that support has only grown stronger over the years as they see our work and dedication to the craft. What is your favorite moment when creating a new track? When it first starts coming together. When we’re in the rehearsal space and we’re jamming on an idea and we’re like, “Hey, this sounds like something!” That’s always the most fun because it’s basically play-time. You have to be at your most child-like stage to be able to improve wild rhythms and melodies. Once it gets into the lyric writing phases and then into production, it becomes more intellectual and there’s more actual work to do. What role does music play in your lives? E: There’s different aspects to that. There is the lyrical aspect, wherein I think Marty digs into various existential topics, sometimes asking us to think about what it means to be human and how our humanity is often in conflict with our societal structures, sometimes delving into the nature of human rela-
tionships. I feel alot of different things when I’m playing our music because we go in so many different directions. “Man on a Wire” and “Animal” are two big heavy songs that we play in our usual set that are the opposite of each other emotionally, tonally, instrumentally... What song from your latest EP do you relate to the most at the moment and why? E: I relate to Man on a Wire the most I would say. I thought of that bassline while I was driving home. I relate to Marty’s lyrics a lot...that feeling of always being on a tightrope, having little or no time, fighting against the clock and against society’s (and one’s own) expectations. MR: I’m not sure relate is the right word, but Animals is the song I’m most proud of as far as songwriting and dynamics goes. I’m also a sucker for darker songs so that’s part of it. It’s a direction I enjoy going in with the band and it has a certain complexity in all aspects.. Who do you imagine collaborating with in the future? We’re definitely into producers/artists fusing live band instruments with heavy eletronic/electro influences. Imagine Dragons are the leader in the mainstream arena right now, with Alex da Kid, but there have been a lot of really awesome “fusion-rock” records out there. We’ve always dug artists like Danger Mouse, Aaron Bruno and Awol Nation…They all have unique styles but with a massive, immersive sound. They’ve got the ambition to make really “huge” sounding records, kind of in the Pink Floyd direction, huge not in the pop sense, but really more on the experimental, “heady”-side. We’d like to work with guys like that who want to make records you can walk into, that still have an organic nature to them but are just given weight and volume by electronic ambience. Kaskade’s recent collaboration with Neon Trees is a cool example of that. There’s a lot of territory to cross!
certain extent your own limited perspective on how a song should sound or come out and opening yourself up to the ideas of others. I think that’s been the hardest part for me...having to let an idea I have sit on the back burner as we explore other ideas/possibilities as a unit. The result is something that I could never have conceived of as a single creator, which I’m more interested in fundamentally than having my own ideas put out there unchanged.
playing in front of an audience, no matter what the size, species, hell we could play in front of a crowd of dogs and cats, every single performance is meaningful. When can we expect a full album to drop? “The Infinite Hourglass” is the first half of an album and will be released on February 18th. It really is part of a larger work. The idea of dividing them into 2 EPs basically comes down to attention spans not being what they once were. Expecting people to listen to an entire album’s worth of music is unrealistic as a new band, and we put a lot into every song, so we don’t want people to only listen to the first 3 tracks. We’ll be releasing the second half of it later in the year around summer-time. How do you think your listeners perceive your music?
What kind of challenges do you face as a band?
Every song is unique in terms of what purpose it serves. In this latest EP, we have songs meant for reflection, songs meant for motivation, and songs meant to just feel warm and fuzzy. I think many of our favorites artists of the past are similar in that respect - Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Genesis, etc.
E: Collaboration is about giving up to a
What has been your most memora-
ble experience individually? E: When I think about the most memorable experiences in my life, I always go back to a three-week hiking trip I went on years ago in middle school. It was with Outward Bound, an outdoor education non-profit. I went out into the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada with 6 complete strangers, four teens and two counselors/instructors. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are incredible, dense with beauty and ecological diversity. There’s really nothing like being deep into nature. Music became very important to me; we weren’t allowed to bring any electronic equipment with us, so I spent 3 weeks dreaming about music and listening to my own musical voice. I learned then how important music is to me and how it is such an essential part of who I am. What is yor most memorable experience as a band? Eric: I know this is cheating, but I truly think playing in front of an audience, not matter what the size, species, hell we could play in front of a crowd of dogs and cats, every single performance is meaningful. And performances are the most meaningful things for us as a band, naturally. Any messages for the public? 2014 is going to be one wild ride, and we can’t wait to show you everything we’ve been working on for the past two years! Do you have any upcoming tour dates you’d like to share with us? We’re playing shows around LA constantly, but we’re also playing at a VH1 Showcase for South By Southwest in Texas, Austin. That will be supporting the release of our upcoming EP, “The Infinite Hourglass”, which will be available on February 18th. We released a video recently for one of the singles off that EP, “If The Morning Ever Comes”. A single from that called “Timebomb” will be released on February 4th, the day of our EP release party at Sayer’s Club in Hollywood.
Listen 21 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Don’t listen to music alon MARVIN GAYE
8 oz. Hennessy Serve neat. Garnish with pickled carrot sticks.
4 oz. Tequila Serve neat. Stir vigorously. Garnish with pickled carrot sticks.
8 oz. Tequila Añejo Serve neat. Stir slowly. Garnish with maraschino cherry.
22 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
8 oz. Cough syrup 8 oz. Finlandia Vodka Serve on rocks.
ne, Drinkify suggests... QUANTIC
8 oz. Hennessy 8 oz. Fassionola 1 oz. Fassionola
TORO Y MOI
8 oz. Bottled water Serve neat. Garnish with maraschino cherry.
1 bottle Red wine Serve at room temperature.
1 bottle Red wine Serve at room temperature.
2 oz. Coke 2 oz. Captain Morgan Spiced Rum 2 oz. Worcestershire sauce 1 oz. Grey Goose Vodka Combine in shaker and strain into cocktail glass. Serve. Stir vigorously.
1 Corona Serve cold. Garnish with wedge of pineapple.
12 oz. Marijuana Serve neat. Garnish with twist of grapefruit.
6 oz. Sloe gin Serve neat. Garnish with cocktail onions.
10 oz. Talisker Scotch Serve neat. Garnish with maraschino cherry.
“THE MAJOR LAZER”
1 Dragon Stout Serve cold. Garnish with salt.
10 oz. Hennessy Serve on rocks. Stir slowly. Garnish withsprig of mint.
23 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Ethan Viets van-lier
24 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
I was born in a dungeon, Locked in a cage Born to be angry, chock full of rage “Ethan why are you so angry!!” -The three white adults asked(yelled) as they passed by me and the only other blac… “Angry” student as we sat in chairs outside the classrooms we were just kicked out of, or in handcuffs on the streets they kept telling us we weren’t allowed on, but that we were never going to leave I was born by my mother, bred by a father, who didn’t know his father who didn’t know his father who didn’t know his father Who’s father was a slave My lineage is pock-marked with needle holes and whip lashes A long line of men beaten down until they almost became that 3/5ths of a man bullshit they’ve told us since our existence in this country I was born to get locked up, to rot in a cage They made my prison cell bed in 3rd grade when I missed to many due dates and got bad scores due to sitting outside of classrooms I was kicked out of See the first arrest was scary, but the rest after that became almost routine; the handcuffs custom fit to my wrists
We wear our feelings in a 99 cent envelope and bon voyage it to eternity Burying our brains with chemicals tryna drown out the horror of the streets the screaming in our mouths, and the police up the block that got a vendetta on any blackboy-child The perpetrators of this fabricated peace we apparently disturbed I was born in the gutter, handcuffed on the curb I as born in a Dungeon, mediated and shackled smothered so I couldn’t speak, shucked of my shell and left top dry I was born in a city that never sleeps and I looked sleeps cousin in the eye I was born in a dungeon, In a cage, by a father who was a slave, I was born where there’s no light, near a train, on a river, filled with drugs medication and liquor I was born in a hoody, I hope I don’t die in one too I was born in a dungeon, I hope I don’t die in one too
But I was Born in a dungeon where no light can seep through where people tend to stare, but no body really sees you I was born off the redline, in a redlined community where Daley don’t come through, and Rahm cut out schooling I was Booorn by the Riiver, with my head held under water, Floating face-first in drugs, liquor and brothers tryna stay up by putting down daughters Self Medicating, Trauma Inflicted, Victims of the struggle
Listen to Dungeon on Soundcloud 25 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
ton es T
I’m just a stones throw away, I’m just a stones throw away from Moes who throw stones at fleeing folks Fleeting feelings float from a stones throw down the stairs where my neighbor smokes stones He’s a stones throw away from OD’ing and a stones throw away from homie down the block with a heart made of stone who throws stones to pregnant women and children Children who throw stones at windows for fun because they were thrown away from institutions like stones skipping on water expected to sink like a stone, Standing in front of the sink while tears roll down their faces like stones in an avalanche destined to fail in advance of their birth, Told their stone-coal dark skin was a curse stone-cold to their kin, seen too many homies in a hearse, or under gravestones These are the same children who live a stones throw away from a selective enrollment highschool they will never see the inside of My people in this city live a stones throw away from the magnificent mile, but have never traveled more than a couple of miles outside of their neighborhoods, Except when going to Prisons, Hospitals, and Funerals, they treat us like minerals, so i watch as they throw stones into the fire There used to be 7 of us, that chilled and got stoned, but there’s 5 of us, Left, like what the stones throw up One disappeared and the other’s locked up… I’m a stones throw away from the stone who’s the cornerstone of his block, standing outside the corner store slanging rock, standing still like a stone statue; A gargoyle, guarding all that hes got... As he slowly erodes away, sediments slip into the gutter I’m a stones throw away from three pregnant teenage mothers I’m a stones throw away from the house of the leader of this nation I’m a stones throw away from the police station I first visited a stones-throw away from my 13th birthday... I’m a stones throw away from a million dollar home, I’m a stones throw away from death... I’m a stones throw away from finishing this poem, I’m a stones throw away from my last breath....
Listen to stones throw on Soundcloud
26 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Father God: Mother Earth Cha-Pulls Mass-Sive Repull-Sive Pull-sating... Pur-ses filled from Pullpit Priests Pick-pocketing Protestants While catholic crooks are constructing minds, that categorize and act as catalysts for the catastrophic killing of the balance on earthh.. They, Say We Burn in hell, but Global Warming’ll have it worse here on earth I was told since birth... That God was the father in the sky, so I raised my eyes to the heavens, Thinking everything that breathed was a heathen Chest heaving hymns passed through these sinners lips Brimming with, Flashbacks to the past, when missionaries “saved nations”, with the bible and the gun bringing with Disease, alcoholism, and whips (WHIP) Our father (WHIP) Who art in heaven (WHIP) Who puts all his knowledge (WHIP) In the reverend (WHIP) God is man (WHIP) God is white (WHIP) Never fight, be thankful you’re alive (WHIP) Forget the mother (WHIP) beneath your feet (WHIP) Forget the animals, (WHIP) their only meat (WHIP) Pray you meet, the savior when you die. No condoms, be fruitful, spread disease, and multiply, (WHIP) Never feel, (WHIP) Never Fuck, (WHIP) Shun all who don’t believe in the name of Christ, but God is love? (WHIP) Pray everyday that jesus comes back alive, literally hoping for the rapture, and the whole worlds demise I’m not saying, to deny your religion, just hypothesis on what really sustains the life you’re living Everything you eat, drink, breathe comes from the mother I’m not saying you should worship her but the very least you could do is love her Wear a rubber, smoke some weed, eat organic, plant a tree, don’t eat meat at least one meal of the week, take of your shoes and walk in the grass with bare feet Enjoy all Earth has to offer, but understand she is weak Help her sustain herself, cause once she is gone, so are we...
Listen on Soundcloud 27 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Lashbrook An artist who creates swatch paintings among other things and most recently enjoys listening to Alt-j.
Minus One Minus Won 24”x48” Paper Collage on Panel
Self-Portrait II 24”x24” Paper Collage on Panel
28 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Julio aka DJ S.O.U.L.Jah 48”x24” Paper Collage on Panel
Red Hot Starry-Eyed Cinema Star 24” x 24” Paper Collage on Panel
Where are you right now? In my studio in Dallas. Just back from a two week trip to Florida with back to back festivals. Playing catch up, trying to get my portfolio ready for the next round of spring shows. Surrounded by books, old paintings, brushes, canvases, panels, swatches, scissors, glue, photos, pieces needing to be worked on. What does creating art mean to you? Creating something with your hands that is appreciated by others is a very humbling feeling. I remember my first small festival, standing back at one point in awe that so many people were admiring my work. Describe a feeling you get only by creating a piece of art. I see the next piece. I get excited to create the next painting. I feel inspired when I create. If your audience and art advocates could gain something from your art what would you wish it be?
I believe my paintings are beautiful and satirical at the same time. I don’t want them to read to much into the painting but just appreciate their beauty. Describe the instant you knew you wanted to pursue a career as an artist. I took a landscape painting class when I was 10 years old. I wanted to be an artist from that point forward. What interested you the most in the “Bob Ross” painting style? I enjoyed watching Bob Ross when I came home from school. His voice was soothing and I he taught me the basic techniques of oil painting. Did you have to give anything up to pursue your career as an artist? I had to take a chance by giving up a job that I didn’t enjoy but steadily paid the bills, in order to have the time to travel and create my time intensive art. Do you have a particular piece you
Nude 72” x 20” Paper Collage on Panel
are connected to most? I feel most connected to my DIY Water Lilies. It was so much fun to just play with color. The shapes began getting more pixilated and I consider it a bridge to some of my more recent works. 29 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
What inspires you to continue painting and creating gorgeous pieces of art? With each piece I learn a little bit more about my technique and develop a more specific style. What gave you the idea to use these recyclable colorsamples for your “swatch paintings”? I like to create a schematic of how an artist creates a painting. I think of the swatches as brushstrokes and “paint” like I would a typical portrait. How would you describe the process of creating these masterpieces? The process of creating these works is a bit tedious. Painting the images would take considerably less time than cutting each shape to create the image but I think that the final effect is worth the extra effort. After I have cut each swatch to create an intricate image I protect the painting with an acrylic glaze. What do you find difficult the most when creating these pieces?
DIY Mona Lisa 35” x 24” Paper Collage on Panel
Getting a proper likeness is always difficult. I find eyes and teeth the most difficult features to attain a likeness. Ears and noses too… How long does it typically take you to create one?
Are there any times when you don’t want to sell a piece of art work you have created? Every piece is hard to get rid of. I consider them my children. One of the most difficult pieces to sell was the Mona Lisa. It was the first swatch painting I created. I had just sold Marilyn and the Beatles earlier that day, so I was already feeling an empty nest. When he came up to buy the piece he 30 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
even said “Are you ready to let her go” I hesitated but lovingly wrapped her up for him to take home.
The realistic paintings take about a month to a year to create. The pixilated paintings take about a week to a month to create.
Who has been the most influential individual in your career as an artist?
How do you go about in deciding what to portray in you paintings?
My mom because of her constant hard work and dedication to her own craft, and my Dad because of his enduring support of mine.
I choose artists that I admire. People that I admire. Musicians that I admire.
DIY American Gothic 35” x 25” Paper Collage on Panel
What do you find the most difficult about being an artist? It feels like constantly treading water but working for yourself is the most validating feeling in the world. What is the art scene like in Dallas compared to Illinois?
I have lived in Dallas pretty much my whole life. As I travel the country doing art festivals I am introduced to new art scenes. I love the local art scene in Dallas. The artists are super supportive of one another. It’s a great place to be making and selling art. As an artist, in what areas of the country/world do you find most support? Local shows in Dallas and
Fort Worth have been great as well as shows in Oklahoma. Patrons seem to like to collect local art. I have had better luck in these markets even having traveled from Miami to Los Angeles and back. Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you’d like to share with us?
Festival Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts What is your go-to musician to gain insight/ inspiration/motivation? Recently I can’t stop listening to Alt-J
Tempe Festival of the Arts Deep Ellum Arts Festival Main St Fort Worth Arts 31 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
DIY Water Lillies 41” x 35” Paper Collage on Panel
32 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
The Beatles 48” x 24” Paper Collage on Panel
JFK 36” x 36” Paper Collage on Panel
The Hallucinogenic Artist 24” x 24” Paper Collage on Panel
I’m a Rainbow Soul Rebel 24” x 24” Paper Collage on Panel
www.swatchpaintings.com 33 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Bill Cormalis 34 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Jackie Robinson 16” x 20” Acrylic and collage on canvas
35 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Bill Cormalis Jr. was born on July 29th, 1974, in Arcadia, California. In his formidable years (1985-1992), being a skateboarder, he was exposed to the art and graphics on the pages of skate magazines. He began to experiment with painting, doing grip tape art, and making stencils. Growing up in a musical family, music is a major influence, and subject in many of his artworks. 2004 was the first year Bill showed his paintings publicly at the annual Monrovia “Celebrate the Arts” Festival. At this event, Bill’s talent for painting was discovered, and he was commissioned by a local school district to produce murals promoting staying active and eating right. The projects were funded by the F.D.A and U.S.D.A. In 2005, Bill was represented by SK Visuals in Sierra Madre, CA. By 2006, he began exhibiting work at group shows and exhibitions throughout Southern California. In July 2009, he was first winner of Tattooed Steels 777 Limited Design contest. November 2009, Bill’s illustration “Muffinbones” was chosen to be featured on Ovation TV. Artbistro.com featured his portfolio in December 2009. Bill’s first solo exhibition was in February 2011, at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles during their Black Heritage Celebration. His series “A” Game in the “B” Leagues which featured players from the Negro Leagues of Baseball, was the subject of Bill’s second solo exhibition at the Museum of Tolerance, from January to June 2012. Bill took first place in the professional category at the 2012 Annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference art contest, with his artwork “Smokey Joe Williams”. His artwork was displayed at the National Art Museum of Sport in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2012 he was commissioned by the son of living legend and Presidential Medal of Freedom Award recipient Bob Motley, to produce a portrait of his father during his days in the Negro Leagues as an umpire. Bill continues to produce artwork, and currently working on commissions. He works as a graphic designer, and operates a sign shop in Montclair, CA.
Satchel Paige 14” x 18” Acrylic and collage on canvas
Oscar Charleston 16” x 20” Acrylic and collage on canvas
36 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Josh Gibson 16” x 20” Acrylic and collage on canvas
Hank Aaron 16” x 20” Acrylic and collage on canvas
37 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Larry Doby 16” x 20” Acrylic and collage on canvas
Jus Wilson 16” x 20” Acrylic and collage on canvas
38 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Roy Campanella 16” x 20” Acrylic and collage on canvas
Martin Dihigo 14” x 18” Acrylic and collage on canvas
Ben Taylor 14” x 18” Acrylic and collage on canvas
billcormalisjr.weebly.com 39 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
gina higgins American Noir
Truck Stop Angel 36” x 36” Acrylic on Canvas
40 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
She Kills Me With Rosegarden 24” x 37” Acrylic on Canvas
Where did you grow up and how did painting come into your life? I grew up off Mulholland Drive in the hills above LA. My parents were in the arts and entertainment industry. My dad was a commercial photographer and my mom a recording artist, so the arts were very much a part of my childhood. I used to wander into my dad’s studio, where he had stacks of old magazines like Aperture and Andy Warhol’s Interview magazines.
The day I spotted the hot pink cover of Antonio Lopez’ illustration of Bridgitte Bardot
was the day I knew I wanted to be an artist. I loved the illustrations he did for Vogue. They look so 80’s now. Suddenly all I can think of is Nagel’s Duran Duran cover! How long have you been painting and what has your journey been like from starting to arriving at your current style of painting? I’ve been an illustrator since my early 20’s. I started out doing ads for local magazines, hair salons and boutiques. I was eventually hired by A&M Records, then CBS Studios. From there I designed for Liz Claiborne, Etienne Aigner, and freelance
for Alexander McQueen. I moved from commercial to fine art 10 years ago, and created “American-Noir” in 2011. I have a love-hate relationship with canvas, but I think the passion people notice in my style is partially because of this, so I don’t really want to reconcile the relationship! While I will continue to exhibit original canvases through my galleries, I am also excited to announce that next month I’ll be offering a new series of prints priced very affordably and specifically for my younger collectors and those overseas, so check the website soon for more information. In terms of painting what have been some of the hardest challenges you have had to deal with?
The hardest challenge for me in any regard is that word “restriction.” I needed to develop a process whereby I could paint without any disconnects between brain, heart, and hand. When I paint, I like to feel as hyper as possible, listen to music at inhuman decibels, and work when I am most inspired, which is only at night. I achieve these by using lots of French Roast, a strategic placement of 500watt halogen lamps, the best earphones available, and a custom blended blue gesso that allows me to work from dark to light, so the figures retain that “noir” feeling of being lit from candlelight, moonlight, or neon, etc. How did your passion for film noir come about and when did you decide to merge that with painting? 41 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Breathless 32” x 36” Acrylic on Canvas
42 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
The Last Hour 32” x 36” Acrylic on Canvas
I’ve always loved film noir. I’d seen every Hitchcock movie with my family, and most of my friends were into alternative cinema and directors like John Cassavetes, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais. Because I grew up in LA and around photography, I have a keen appreciation for the lighting and camera angles employed in these films; but what I find particularly inspiring about them is the melodramatic storylines. American-Noir was created out of my love for film noir and the French New Wave, in an attempt to recreate the elements of these films on canvas. Your figurative paintings are all very sensual and passionate women but there aren’t any men. Is there a reason you leave the men out? Whats the idea behind this? That’s funny! An art reviewer from the Chicago Tribune made reference to my “strong female archetypes,” a couple years ago. I often get similar comments from people who look at my paintings. The omission of men is not an intentional affront. There are a few scattered non-females in my paintings, and I apologize for the genuflected male in “Crime of Passion,” it’s nothing personal! I think maybe because I resonate more to
Cold Like The Stars 32” x 36” Acrylic on Canvas
43 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Love Is Blindess 38” x 34” Acrylic on Canvas
male energy in general, I am subconsciously empowering the female characters in my work? In your own words, what does “shadow” mean to you? Why has it become a major input in your artistic work? My first use of a “shadow” since creating American-Noir was in the painting, “Shadow of a Doubt.” Ironically, the shadows I use are all male. Jung considered shadows to be an unconscious part of one’s personality wherein the conscious ego does not identify itself. My use of male shadows could possibly be
44 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
explained in this manner; but this is an art zine not Psychology Today. Your readers are going to get bored if I elaborate on this stuff! Which is your favorite piece? Or the one you feel the strongest connection with and why? Well, I could say “the one I’m working on now,” but that’s so overused. I actually do have a favourite. It’s “Truck Stop Angel.” The piece was inspired by Wim Wenders’ film “Paris, Texas.” See the movie and you may understand why I connect with this piece.
How do you go about selecting which subject or scene to paint? I try to absorb as many creative influences as I can the week before I start a new piece – I’ll watch “Last Year at Marienbad” for the 1000th time or old episodes of “Twin Peaks.” Sometimes I’ll catch a bit of lyric and use it as my theme. I created “The Last Hour” pretty much just listening to heartbreaking Chris Isaak songs and new music my friend Daniel J. Poulter (The Dandelion) sent me. I think Thom Yorke’s “Lotus Flower” dance played some subliminal role here
as well. I have no idea where that came from! Anyway, the theme of this painting is simple – moody bar, disenfranchised couple – the “exit” sign represents how the viewer can choose to finish the story. What medium do you use? Have you experimented with an alternate medium? Do you think the type of paint wether its oils or acrylics evoke a better overall feel to your mysterious paintings? I use only acrylics for a very specific reason – I like to work fast. Once I’ve chosen a theme, the process of
painting is right-brained. Because acrylics dry so quickly, I am forced to stay in the moment. I don’t want to over think anything. I want the subliminal rather than representational portions of the painting to contain its essence, as this allows me to connect with my viewers on an emotional level. If I can draw someone into the mystery of a scene, or elicit a reaction to my work on a sentient level, then I’ve achieved my goal – which is simply to transfer the inspiration I receive from the world onto canvas, to create art that makes people feel, i.e. to create…“art.”
The Last Seducation 32” x 38” Acrylic on Canvas
Broken Shattered Love Lost 32” x 36” Acrylic on Canvas
On Dangerous Ground 32” x 36” Acrylic on Canvas
www.ginahiggins.com 45 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
EmZ (Big Sexy) “I have always been a hopeless romantic; I fall in love with people and places, memories and faces.” Wire Frame
46 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
POSTCARD: A card sent in the mail, which typically has a picture on one side and short note on the other and is sent from a place one is visiting.
I want to be a ballerina
Journeying from the remote wilderness of Northern Australia to the concrete jungle of New York City to study visual art, I have always been interested in documenting my travels in various mediums including traditional fine art, multi media, writing and music. Recently this has culminated in a three yearlong project and the release of “Postcards”, a 12-track Big Sexy album of original songs. “Postcards” debuted to a full house at the Gershwin Hotel in New York City, July 2013. Inspired by a nomadic sensibility and the romance of travel the “Postcard” is an ongoing conceptual thread running through all my artistic endeavors. In its sonic version each song is a poem, a postcard written to “thou who is no longer present”; the unrequited love, the dearly departed, the absent other. Sometimes tender, sometimes wickedly
funny, Postcards is the tale of a big sexy soul in bloom – and it’s a sweet and vicious journey. Accompanied by the Big Sexy Orchestra, an ever-expanding roster of sexy musicians, the album “Postcards” is unconventional and punchy. You can hear the cool voices of Anita O’Day; the echoes of Judy Garland, the hurt child longing for the rainbow; the raucous shout of Rock and Roll. With its lush, surprising arrangements, Postcards is a symphony of sexiness. While recording the album I also worked on a series of collages that explore the visual identity of “Big Sexy Music”. A name that was originally given to me by a co-worker, “Big Sexy” exudes a certain sensibility that I have become increasingly fascinated with in all its nuanced interpretations. As a female musician and visual artist I wanted to explore these different manifestations of the feminine, the creative and the interplay between artistic mediums. I have always been a hopeless romantic; I fall in love with
people and places, memories and faces. Sometimes I collect visual mementos, and scraps of paper gestures, reminisces of spaces I have visited and the landscapes that I have travelled. I often use these found materials and collage them together to create not only a visual exploration of these travelled roadmaps, they are also the visualization of my emotional, poetic states of being. The two dimensional, hand made collages are also postcards. As each song reflects a specific realization of my creative being whether it is sensual, playful or melancholic, the collages reflect a different nuance, a delicate insight into the woman behind Big Sexy Music. Using materials such as the inside of envelopes in the collages, there lies the idea of the written word, the suggestion of a letter, the desire to communicate. Within a milieu of shared cultural history exits my unique story, my experience that I continue to document visually and sonically. These are the Postcards from my soul…
Road Maps and Rivers
47 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
“These are the Postcards from my soul…” Letters Home
48 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Who’s Your Daddy
49 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Eagle Has Landed
50 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Coming Up Roses
LISTEN to POSTCARDS 51 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
If you could bring a non-living rapper or hip-hop artist back to life who would it be? MOF: Probably Big L because he wore glasses. He paved the way for visually impaired rappers like us. As a musician, how do you feel about representing the town where you are from? MOF: It’s cool but I think you represent where you’re from by default. We’re more concerned with representing ourselves. We don’t expect anybody to fuck with us off the bat whether they’re from the same area as us or not. We just fuck with each other, no freaky though. Are you all from Orange County, NY? 52 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
EP: I guess technically we originate from the Bronx. Matt lived there longer than me. I was pretty much just born there, but yeah, I like to really put on for Orange County, NY. There’s enough NYC artists repping New York, but what about the dudes up in Parts Unknown? Our experience was a unique one. We grew up in a neighborhood that was suburban but was primarily made up of people who moved out of the city for a more cost effective lifestyle. We came up with friends of all ethnicities, races and religions so we were well cultured from a young age. All of our wild, fun, scary, stupid and interesting experiences developed who we are today. It was an upbringing that I wouldn’t change for anything. What was your biggest concern growing up?
MOF: Being stuck in the crib. I just wanted to go outside and do hoodrat shit with my friends. When did you know you wanted to be a part of the hip-hop community? EP: I think from a young age. I knew I liked rap the minute I was introduced to it. My mom says I pretty much came out the womb singing Bobby Brown, but he had a lot of rap influence in his songs. My dad had a Tone-Loc tape that I would play as well. Eventually a friend of mine put me on to Snoop and my mind was blown. It was on from that point. I started making my own beats with a crappy little keyboard I had and we all started writing raps with the rest of our friends in the neighborhood. I never thought we’d do it professionally though.
How do you personally feel about the hip-hop community at the moment? EP: It’s great. It’s back to diversity and unique styles and rappers from different regions expressing themselves in innovative ways. There was definitely a homogenized sound in the early 2000’s that I wasn’t really feeling at all. I really like where it’s at right now especially with the internet allowing people to connect with one another. We can get our music out instantly and it’s accessible. I wouldn’t want to be apart of any other era. What does hip-hop music mean to you? EP: I don’t even know anymore. To be honest, I’m so sick of the term already.
It’s caused a lot of problems for the art form. People trying to claim what is and what isn’t hip hop. At this point, I just want to make music and what we feel is good music. We’ll let them tell it. I could care less what anyone considers it aside from the fact that I hope they consider it to be well crafted. Have you toured much? MOF: We’ve had the pleasure of touring Europe multiple times but we still have a shit load of places we have to go to all over the world. I can’t speak on a lot of things because then I would be telling, you feel me. I do remember my first word on a mic in Europe was a cough in Germany because of the immense cloud of smoke. We’re not used to people being able to smoke cigs indoors so it was definitely a shock to the system.
I’m about to start smoking cigs though so it’s all good. What track do you notice audiences get hyped about the most during your performances? MOF: Mostly the hard hitting stuff but we have had people mosh to gentle tracks like La La La so I guess it depends on the crowd. How do you react to the audience’s shifts in energy? MOF: We like to keep the energy level up. Everybody should have wet armpits early in the night, including females. If it’s not raining outside and the whole venue still starts to smell like wet dog, we know we’ve done our jobs as performers. That’s the smell of success. 53 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
How long have you been the Doppelgangaz? EP: We’ve professionally been The Doppelgangaz since 2008, but really we’ve been The Doppelgangaz since birth. This was bestowed upon us to do this. It must be something in a gangaz blood. Who have you collaborated with? EP: The only true, true collaboration has been with Lil B The Based God on a track called “No Peace” off his Illusions of Grandeur mixtape. We worked with Apathy, but it was really just him adding to a track we already completed. Working with The Based God was such an honor though and we always tell people after working with him, we really don;t need to work with anyone else. We can die happy now. What does The Doppelgangaz mean? MOF: It’s a play on the word “doppelgänger” which is like a ghastly duplicate of a living person. It’s said that seeing your doppelgänger is an omen of death. We thought it was a cool word and that it applied to us because we’re the same when it comes to this here music thing. I think we look alike too but nobody else agrees with me. E heard his roommate at the time use the word and the rest is history. Who produced your latest music video for “Holla x2”? EP: How could you even ask such a silly question you silly Billy. We did. We do everything in house. Nobody wants to work with us for hygiene reasons or maybe they just think we’re weirdos. But yeah, we had to do it. With a stress on the word “had”. What was it like creating this video? MOF: It was a grand ol’ time. The process of creating a video is tons of fun to us. I thoroughly enjoyed ice skating even though we got kicked out of the rink pretty quickly. It was a case of reverse racial profiling. Big Josh and I are good money but when E makes moves with us we tend to get kicked out of places more often. Where was it filmed? MOF: Most of it was filmed in New Roc Rochelle, New York. You can find us all over New York State. Most of the time it has to do with something catching our eye. That’s why we do a lot of voyeur videos. We drive around filming big women all day. I’ve got to share that I really dig the music video for “Barbiturates”. What was the vision for that video? MOF: We had a location in mind and made the move. It’s a beautiful place that we knew would be a great for the “Barbiturates” video. Very relaxing. Do you hold a special relationship with any of the settings it was shot? MOF: We went up to the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY and had a nice weekend getaway. Sometimes you need to leave all of the craziness behind for a few days you 54 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
feel me. I brought a shorty up there recently and said “girl close the blinds you ain’t seeing daylight for a week.” How do your most current tracks differ from some of your older ones? MOF: Mostly, our songs depend on what we are going through at the time. I think there is always going to be something that ties them all together by default because of who we are, but life inspires us to make new music. How do you feel you are evolving as a rap group? EP: We’ve been making music for five years now as The Dopp Gang so as we grow, the music grows. I know most artists say that and when they do say that, they mean it in some way referring to the fact that they’ve matured. That’s actually not the case at all with us. I just mean that we’ve become more worldly and are always looking to push the envelope. We want everything to get better every time we strike with a new release. In your opinion, what sets you apart from other rap groups? EP: Have you seen and heard the material? Need I say more? There is no other group or artist for that matter like The Dopp. Understand what it is. There will never be either. So for labels out there trying to sign a black/white group with some eerie, tranquil beats, cut it out. You’ll never mimic this. This is once in a lifetime mami. When it comes to writing your music, where do you get most of your inspiration? MOF: Just life in general. Thankfully we’ve known some interesting people, seen some interesting things and been to some interesting places. We couldn’t make music if we lived like hermit crabs. What do you enjoy writing the most about? EP: Really just whatever comes to mind. We don’t have a checklist that we mark off with “girl song”, “club song” , etc. We just do what comes to mind. If we want to rap about erectile dysfunction then we’re going to rap about it. Especially since it’s near and dear to us because we deal with it everyday. But like I always tell chicks, I’m damn near defying gravity and dying just to please you. I got to make something that hangs elevate for your satisfaction so forgive me if I struggle in doing so. Sheesh. Who has been the most influential individual in pursuing a musical career? MOF: EP by a long shot. We all we got. Nobody helped us do anything. We had to build this shit from scratch by default. What do you hope your audience will get out of your music? MOF: Our music is going to stimulate your mind, body and soul. For the ladies, it’ll stimulate you in a different way. Shorties always tell us that they sit on speakers when they bump our shit like the movie “Private Parts.”
What song from your latest Lone Sharks do you relate to the most at the moment and why? EP: Every single one of them. They come from us and our experiences. Matt and I trash songs that we start and don’t like. We don’t make a hundred songs and keep the best fifteen. We simply keep the great ones so I relate to all of them. Out of your discography, is there one track that stand out for you?
meet the rest of Shark Nation and put faces to the names on social media. It’s really a humbling experience. When a kid tells you that your music is better than sex with his girlfriend, it really means a lot. On a side note, she must be awful in bed because our music really isn’t all that great. I actually suggested he find himself a new lady. She sounds horrid. MOF: Word, definitely being able to travel the world because of our music. I don’t know anybody around our way who has been to the places we’ve been. It still bugs me out that we’ve been able to make these moves because of something we love to do. All praise to the rap lords!
MOF: That’s like asking us which child we like the best. Wait, I can answer that question, my son number 29 is pretty cool. I have so many children around the world that I just refer to them by number because they’re easier to file that way. I guess I have a harder time picking a favorite track of ours than a favorite child.
MOF: Keep sharking! Our new project “Peace Kehd” drops on February 18th on our bandcamp page.
Are you currently collaborating with anyone?
Who is your go-to musician to gain insight?
MOF: Not currently. Nobody like us.
MOF: I go to EP for all of that. He’s my rock, you know?
Any messages for the public?
What has been the biggest challenge about creating hiphop music? MOF: Creating music is a natural thing for us like defecating or pick pocketing. The harder part is getting your music out to the world. E and I remember when we were the only 2 people checking for us so we shed a based year every time a person joins the shark nation. Share with us the most meaningful moment as a band. EP: Touring is the most meaningful by far. You get to really 55 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
56 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
57 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
58 ARTNOIS No 9, February 2014
Published on Feb 15, 2014